New York: Cash-strapped Pakistan has rented out its iconic Roosevelt Hotel to the New York City government for three years, helping the country earn $220 million from the deal.
The New York administration will pay a rent of as much as $210 for each of the 1,025 rooms of the century-old hotel owned by state-run Pakistan International Airlines Corp, Aviation Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said.
The hotel had to be shut due to financial losses after the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. The New York city government will now use it for “immigrant housing business,” Pakistan’s finance ministry said.
The development comes when Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is trying for a bailout from the International Monetary Fund to avoid a default amid the nation’s depleting foreign exchange reserves.
Pakistan was spending $25 million a year in taxes and salaries even after the hotel was shut. It expects that the deal will help it clear all its liabilities, including reconciliation of $66 million demanded by the hotel’s union.
Pakistan has been trying to turn around its loss making national flag-carrier for decades that is afloat only because of regular government bailouts. In July 2020, it had planned to hire a financial adviser to start the process to redevelop the hotel.