|Middle East and North Africa Business
Report, Amman, JordanMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Dec. 16, 2007 - IFA Hotels & Resorts (IFA HR) has made its first investment into North America by completing a $300 million hotel deal to be built in Central Manhattan with leading US real estate developer Related Companies. This landmark investment signifies the company's continued aggressive expansion into international markets.
Talal Jassim Al-Bahar, IFA HR Chairman and Managing Director, stated: "This deal further diversifies our global portfolio and product mix and places us in a position for further expansion in this region and surrounding areas. We are excited about this development and working with Related, given their vast experience and impressive track record in real estate development in the US."
IFA HR is finalising negotiations on the specific components of the deal, however states that a hotel will be at the core of its business strategy for the project. The hotel market in New York is the number one in the US in terms of RevPAR. Occupancy levels for Manhattan hotels achieve approximately 85%, with average rates for the city continuing to record double-digit monthly increases. These impressive rate gains have continued to soar, specifically in selected segments and locations, including hotels in the Times Square area as well as Midtown luxury properties.
Heralded as one of the most prolific and visionary developers in the country, Related is a fully integrated real estate firm with divisions specializing in development, acquisitions, finance, property management, and sales. Related has developed or acquired over $15 billion in real estate assets and has another $9 billion of development currently in the pipeline.
Related is widely known for creating some of the nation's finest residential, retail and mixed-use developments including: the $1.7 billion, 2.8 million square foot Time Warner Center which transformed Columbus Circle into New York City's newest landmark; Grand Avenue, a multi-phase 3.6 million square foot, $3 billion development spanning three city blocks in downtown Los Angeles, California; the $3 billion, 80-acre Snowmass Village Resort development in Colorado; and the 144-acre CityNorth mixed-use development in Phoenix, Arizona.
Related Companies President Jeff T. Blau said, "We look forward to partnering with IFA Hotels and Resorts to bring a new world-class hotel to New York City."
The deal follows other Middle Eastern companies venturing into the highly lucrative American hospitality market, such as IFA HR partner Istithmar Hotels, who have acquired the Manadarin Oriental hotel and the Knickerboker Hotel in New York City.
Currently present in 15 markets throughout the Middle East, Europe, Africa, the Indian Ocean region, Asia and now North America, IFA HR is at the forefront of developing mixed-use real estate projects. Whether in resort or urban locations, integrating hotel, residential, fractional and commercial asset classes within the mix, IFA HR optimises the potential of any real estate development.
Al-Bahar concluded: "This year alone we entered six new countries and as promised to our shareholders and investors, we continue to offer a wide international choice of diversified products and investment opportunities. We look forward to our continued growth during 2008."
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