City rents Roosevelt Hotel from Pakistan for $220M

Migrant center moving into at 45 East 45th Street in three-year deal

45 East 45th Street in Manhattan NYC with New York City mayor Eric Adams and Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif

45 East 45th Street in Manhattan NYC with New York City mayor Eric Adams and Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (Google Maps, Getty)

New York City’s hunt for migrant shelters has led it to the iconic Roosevelt Hotel.

Pakistan leased the hotel at 45 East 45th Street to the city government for three years, Bloomberg reported. Over the life of the lease, the nation — which owns the hotel through the state-run Pakistan International Airlines Corporation — will earn $220 million.

There are 1,025 rooms at the century-old property. The city is slated to pay as much as $210 in rent for each room of the hotel, which closed in October 2020 at the height of the pandemic.

The city is utilizing the property as a migrant shelter, a path it has gone down with numerous other shuttered hotels in the city. ABC 7 reported migrants started arriving at the hotel last month. 

The deal comes after Pakistan sought a bailout from the International Monetary Fund. Ownership of the hotel hasn’t been helping the country’s financial duress, as Pakistan has been spending $25 million each year on salaries and taxes, even since it’s been closed. The country is also facing a $66 million demand from the hotel’s union, which it may be able to clear with the city lease.

A year after the Midtown hotel closed, local lawmakers began pushing for landmark status. City councilperson Keith Powers and Manhattan borough president Mark Levine were among those in support of the landmark idea.

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At the time, the hotel’s future appeared in question due to several disputes, including the Hotel Trades Council’s accusation the owners were not complying with a city severance pay, which compels hotels to pay eligible employees $500 per week for up to 30 weeks.

Pakistan’s mineral rights deal dispute with Australian mining company Tethyan Copper has also threatened ownership; court documents state the company wants to take the building as part of a settlement for the failed deal.

Deloitte recommended a redevelopment of the property.

Holden Walter-Warner

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