On Thursday, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) initiated an investigation on a case regarding Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) owned Roosevelt hotel located in New York. On Monday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC), in a petition directed NAB not to dispose off the historically significant Roosevelt Hotel and to continue its business. The petition was filed by Muhammad Tahir, an architect, and Justice Aamer Farooq conducted the petition’s hearing. IHC has asked NAB to provide the court with Roosevelt Hotel’s policies.
During the hearing, Muhammad Tahir’s counsel was asked about government’s plans about the property to which the counsel told court that the hotel is planned to be converted into apartments and offices. It has been reported that NAB will be gathering information from different departments in order to move forward with the investigation.
Roosevelt hotel announced on October 8th that it will shut down operations permanently on October 31 after having stayed open for a historic 100 years. A statement in this regard was released to the media by the hotel administration. Financial reasons were cited as the reason behind the decision.
“Due to the current economic impacts, after almost 100 years of welcoming guests to The Grand Dame of New York, The Roosevelt hotel is regretfully closing its doors permanently as of Oct 31, 2020,” the announcement said. A message on the hotel website said the hotel is arranging alternative accommodation for the guests with future reservations.
“We have been honored to serve alongside our wonderful staff and to be a part of our many guests’ and clients’ lives and celebrations, who have graced us over these past nine decades,” the hotel said. “We have enjoyed being as much a part of our guests’ stories as we have been an integral part of the history of Midtown Manhattan since 1924.”
The Roosevelt was opened in 1924 by Niagara Falls businessman Frank A. Dudley and operated by the United Hotels Company. PIA leased the hotel in 1979 through its investment body, PIA Investment Ltd with an option to purchase the building after 20 years. A Saudi royal, Prince Faisal bin Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, was one of the investors in the deal in 1979.
In 1999, PIA bought the hotel for $36.5 million. In 2005, PIA bought the shares of the Saudi prince that also included his shares in Hotel Scribe in Paris. PIA has been controlling 99% interest in the hotel while the Saudi has only 1pc share. The hotel, currently, is worth $1 billion, and US President Donald Trump had also offered to by the it.
The Roosevelt hotel is located at Madison Avenue and 45th Street in Midtown Manhattan. Ever since its opening in 1924, it has been a symbol of luxury in Manhattan. The Hotel is named after the 26th President of the United States, President Theodore Roosevelt, it was designed by the architects of the hotel especially to him. It has made an appearance in several Hollywood movies, including Maid in Manhattan and Wall Street. However, due to the pandemic-stricken world economy, the hotel had to permanently close its doors.
Muhammad Tahir’s petition can help restore the hotel’s historic significance, as selling it off would mean the hotel losing its decades old brand value. The investigation is in its initial stage as of now. It would take weeks to determine what the future of the iconic Roosevelt hotel holds.