by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim
South Korea’s Lotte Group announced on Sunday that it had inked a deal to acquire the swanky New York Palace Hotel for $805 million from real estate management firm Northwood Investors, Reuters reports.
Lotte added that it plans to complete the deal and takeover by the end of August. Hotel Lotte Co. Ltd, a unit of Lotte Group, will lead the formation of a new company that will operate the Palace Hotel at 455 Madison Ave.
Northwood bought the 55-story Palace Hotel, which was built in 1982, from the Sultan of Brunei in 2011 for $400 million and spent another $140 million on a renovation. The hotel has had a number of celebrity guests, including Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, according to the New York Daily News. Fans of the show Gossip Girl will also recognize the hotel as the home of Serena van der Woodsen.
The purchase isn’t the first for Lotte Group, as the company has been buying hotels all over the world. Other Asian investment groups have done the same within the last decade, especially in Manhattan. To name a few, the Carlyle Hotel overlooking Central Park has been owned by the Hong Kong-based New World Group, which is run by the Cheng family, since 2011. The Waldorf Astoria Hotel was recently sold to the Beijing-based Anbang Insurance Group for $1.95 billion.