Roosevelt Hotel owner taps JLL to sell migrant-filled property

A spectacular, multi-use mega-tower on the scale of One Vanderbilt will replace the run-down Roosevelt Hotel — once the migrants move out, that is.

The hotel’s owner, the government of Pakistan, officially signed brokerage JLL as its exclusive agent to market the precious Midtown property to developers and investors.

The choice of JLL after a highly competitive selection process was long speculated but only nailed down late last week.

JLL’s New York region CEO/president Peter Riguardi confirmed the deal to Reality Check on Friday Islamabad, the Pakistani capita:

“Pakistan hired us to evaluate the property’s potential as a mixed-use project combining retail, offices, a new hotel, condo apartments and event space all in a single building,” Riguardi said.

“We expect all the major developers and global capital sources to be interested. It will attract the greatest architects. The Roosevelt location is in the hottest part of New York City, close by Grand Central Terminal,” he said.

The city leased the Roosevelt from Pakistan last June for $220 million for three years to serve as a migrants shelter. Robert Miller
Migrants awaiting to enter the Roosevelt Hotel. Robert Miller

The hotel stands between Madison and Vanderbilt avenues and between East 45th and East 46th streets.

Riguardi said that because Roosevelt is bounded by four different streets, “It could have four separate entrances” for the various uses.

“We see the opportunity to build a massive project such as [SL Green’s] One Vanderbilt,” Riguardi added.

JLL’s New York region CEO/president Peter Riguardi compared the opportunity at Roosevelt to One Vanderbilt. Helayne Seidman

His marketing team also includes New York senior managing director Andrew Scandalios and managing director Sheheryar Hafeez.

However, there’s no rush to put out a formal request for proposals.

Riguardi noted that Vanderbilt-corridor rezoning, which propelled construction of supertall One Vanderbilt, could yield a much larger new skyscraper than the Roosevelt’s previous 800,000 square-foot limit in exchange for significant transit and public amenities.

“But first we have to perform all the due diligence” on what can be done, Riguardi said.

Just arriving from New Jersey, a group of single individual migrants arrived to the entrance to the Roosevelt Hotel. Robert Miller

The city leased the Roosevelt from Pakistan last June for $220 million for three years to serve as a migrant shelter.

The time frame as well as changing market conditions made it impossible to say how much a sale might be worth by the time proposals are due, Riguardi said.

“We can’t answer that question because the elevator is rising and we don’t know how high it will go. The market’s poised for a turnaround,” he predicted.

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