A subsidiary of the Dubai Holding investment company controlled by the emirate’s ruler announced today it is putting up for sale the ESSEX HOUSE the 44-story luxury hotel on the edge of New York’s Central Park, property which it had acquired in September 2005. The Essex House has been managed by a sister company, Dubai Holding’s Jumeirah Group hotel division, since shortly after the acquisition.
DIG is part of a larger investment company known as Dubai Group, which in turn is part of the sprawling Dubai Holding firm personally controlled by Dubai’s ruler, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Dubai Holding is one of three major holding companies in the Gulf emirate. Like the city-state’s Dubai World conglomerate, it expanded rapidly by taking on large amounts of debt which it then struggled to repay as the world economy turned sour. The emirate and its state-linked companies together hold more than $100 billion in debt.
Dubai Holding’s many divisions have quietly sold off assets in the past couple of years as the emirate works to get its financial house in order. Dubai Group, the Essex House owner, has spent more than a year trying to convince its lenders to agree to new terms on some $10 billion of debt it holds. No deal has been reached yet. In New York, Dubai Holding also owns theMandarin Oriental Hotel, one of the city’s leading and most profitable luxury hotels.
Fadel al-Ali, Dubai Group’s acting CEO, said the company constantly reviews its portfolio of holdings and will sell off assets if the market conditions are right.
Essex House opened in 1931 at the southern end of Central Park, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. Its red rooftop “Essex House” sign has made the hotel a Manhattan landmark for decades
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