Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Estates - - FRONT PAGE - Press Trust of In­dia feed­[email protected]

NEW YORK/NEW DELHI: Em­bat­tled Sa­hara group has roped in real es­tate con­sul­tancy ma­jor JLL for find­ing a buyer for its iconic Plaza ho­tel in the US which can fetch a val­u­a­tion of over $500 mil­lion. The Wall Street Jour­nal (WSJ) re­ported that Sa­hara has hired JLL Ho­tels and Hospi­tal­ity Group, a unit of real-es­tate firm JLL, to find a buyer for the Plaza ho­tel, once owned by Don­ald Trump much be­fore he be­came the US Pres­i­dent.

The group owns one more ho­tel, the Dream Down­town, in New York and ear­lier also there have been ef­forts for sale of these prop­er­ties. There were no im­me­di­ate com­ments from JLL, as also from Sa­hara group, which has been rais­ing funds through var­i­ous as­set sales in In­dia and abroad for de­posit­ing money in an in­vestor re­fund ac­count man­aged by reg­u­la­tor Sebi un­der or­ders from the Supreme Court.

The group, how­ever, claims to have al­ready re­funded more than 95% of the to­tal amount due to in­vestors di­rectly to them.

The WSJ re­port said Plaza can be one of the most ex­pen­sive ho­tel sales on a per-room ba­sis and may get a val­u­a­tion of more than $500 mil­lion (over Rs3,200 crore) as per this pop­u­lar in­dus­try met­ric.

It quoted a Sa­hara spokesper­son as say­ing that a “sale is un­der process and it has not yet con­cluded.”

Those in­ter­ested in the prop­erty in­clude a Qatari sovereign fund, a Chi­nese mu­nic­i­pal in­vest­ment fund and Pras Michel, the Grammy-win­ning co-founder of the hip-hop group Fugees, the re­port said.

The 110-year-old Plaza is sit­u­ated off Cen­tral Park and its own­er­ship has changed hands sev­eral times, where Sa­hara group had ac­quired about 75% with the re­main­ing 25% be­ing with Prince Al­waleed bin-Talal of Saudi Ara­bia.

Its past owner Trump had mar­ried his sec­ond wife Marla Maples at this ho­tel

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