United States (US) President Donald Trump had expressed interest in acquiring the Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) Roosevelt Hotel in New York, it was revealed on Wednesday during a meeting of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Privatisation.
The 19-storey hotel with 1,025 rooms plus allied facilities in New York City, with some of the suites being among the most luxurious available in Manhattan, is considered a valuable property that also carries cultural significance for Pakistan.
tandingg on the corner of 45th Street and Madison Avenue, in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, the hotel bears a quintessentially American name in honour of former United States (US) President Theodore Roosevelt, who had previously been the governor of New York State.
According to The News, the managing director of PIA Investments Limited informed the lawmakers that Trump had expressed interest in acquiring the iconic hotel in the past and was “still keen on purchasing it”.
“The government has tried 10 times to sell the hotel,” he added.
Briefing the members, Privatisation Minister Muhammad Mian Soomro said the government was not selling the property but rather planning to lease it out or work in a joint venture with the private sector.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Asif said that the parliament should be taken into confidence over the privatisation matter.
“We are not against privatisation but we must wait for a better time to get a good price,” Asif added.
“Don’t make a decision now and instead wait. Right now, neither PIA would be sold nor the hotel.”
Earlier this month, opposition parties had slammed the ruling party when it was reported that the government is considering selling the Roosevelt Hotel.
The plan was shelved due to stiff opposition and the coronavirus pandemic.
In a meeting on July 2, the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCoP) decided that the Roosevelt Hotel would be run under a joint venture with a third party.
The said hotel was acquired by PIA Investment Limited on lease during the year 1979 with an option to purchase the property. PIA had purchased the hotel against $36.5 million against a demand of $59.5 million by contesting a lawsuit against the owner in 1999. The Interstate Hotel and Resort is managing the Roosevelt Hotel since 1997.