Pakistan successfully sells the long-vacant historic building in Washington for $7.1 million after months of efforts. The property has been purchased by a Pakistani businessman named Hafeez Khan.
The Pakistan-embassy-owned building has been vacant ever since the embassy was shifted. Its diplomatic status was also revoked in 2018, making it liable to pay taxes to the local government.
Due to its deteriorated condition, the administration of the District Columbia of the United States downgraded the building. The local authorities changed the class status of the old, and now crumbling, building owned by the Pakistani government.
The building deteriorated even though then-prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani approved the repairs through a $7 million loan in 2010.
The famous R Street building, which used to be a chancery in the past, was put up for auction late last year, after which the government received three bids. However, the bidding process was later cancelled without any reason. The highest bidder had offered $6.8 million for the property. The re-auction evaluation of the building was set for $4.5 million.
The Foreign Office gave approval to the Pakistani embassy in Washington to sell its old building. The Pakistan government has several properties lying vacant in the US. In a bid to make use of the idle properties, the government considered selling them.
Earlier, the government finally leased out its precious asset in the United States —Roosevelt Hotel, a property of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) — to the New York City Administration for a period of three years against USD 220m.
The hotel was closed in 2020 (Covid time) and its expenditures (during its closure) were US $25m per annum. A liability of US $20m already existed on the part of the hotel. Moreover, the hotel union, considered very powerful in NYC, was also demanding US $66m. The danger of being put into the category of landmarks was also looming over the property.