Steve Witkoff is tapping Eastdil Secured to Market The Park Lane Hotel as part of an agreement to oust scandal-plagued partner Jho Low, The Real Deal has learned.
Sources familiar with the marketing expect that the hotel could fetch north of $1 billion, well above the $660 million Witkoff and Low paid for it in 2013.
A judge approved a sale of the hotel in February as part of a cooperation agreement between Witkoff and the government. Witkoff initially proposed selling only Low’s stake in the project, but it was ultimately decided that the whole asset should hit the block.
Witkoff had planned to turn the 446,000-square-foot, 605-key property at 36 Central Park South into luxury condominiums, with Harry Macklowe and Howard Lorber holding minority pieces in the deal. However, he shelved those plans early in 2016, in a nod to the softening in the high-end sales market.
Low, a Malaysian investor who provided most of the equity for the purchase of the hotel, has objected to the sale. He is at the center of a massive international money laundering scandal and stands accused of siphoning hundreds of millions of dollars from a Malaysian investment fund known as 1MDB and using it to buy U.S. real estate, including his stake in The Park Lane.
He’s since sold part of his stake to Mubadala Development Corp., an Abu Dhabi-based sovereign wealth fund.
Witkoff and the DOJ previously said the project is in a precarious financial position, since cash flow doesn’t cover its $480 million in debt.
In 2015, China’s Sunshine Insurance Group paid over $2 million a room, or a total of $230 million, for the Baccarat Hotel on West 53rd Street.