Times Square Marriott Marquis sold in controversial $20M deal
The holders of a 75-year-lease for the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square have opted to buy the hotel from the state-run Empire State Development Corporation for a mere $19.9 million ? in a transaction that city Comptroller John Liu called ?one of the worst deals?since Manhattan was sold for $24.?
Host Hotels & Resorts, an owner of numerous Marriott-operated hotels, closed on title to the property on Tuesday, according to public records filed with the city today. EDS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Host has leased the property since 1982, when it entered a deal with both the ESDC and the city for the premises at 1535 Broadway between 45th and 46th streets. Under the agreement, Host would pay $34 million for the hotel, transferring title immediately back to the city, and then pay the city rent each year for 75 years. Host also had an option to repurchase the property for fair market value once the lease expired.
In 1998, the parties amended the agreement, shortening the lease term to 40 years ? so it would expire in 2017 ? and providing Host a chance to buy the building for a fixed $19.9 million as soon as 2013.
?If these reports are accurate, it is no surprise that anyone would want to snap up that prestigious New York City property for such a relative pittance, and just in time for Christmas,? Liu said in a statement to?TRD?today. ?But this corporate giveaway was a horrendous deal for City taxpayers that could have and should have been renegotiated.?
Earlier this year, in an audit of the deal, Liu said the building was really worth close to $200 million, but recent deals suggest it could be worth much more.
In a statement to?The Real Deal, a Host spokesperson defended the price it paid to take title back on the property, noting that its long-term investment created 1,500 jobs and brought in millions in tax dollars.
?The purchase price reflects the fact that Host has paid over $1 billion to the city and state in rent, taxes and acquisition costs since the project began, including every penny owed under its ground lease. The bottom line is that we have paid all sums due under the terms of the lease agreement,? the spokesperson said.
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