Eloise might finally get a landlord who’s not in trouble with the law.
Hoping to lift the storied Plaza Hotel out of a years-long rut, Saudi Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal has partnered with Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. to force a buyout, The Post has learned.
The deal could pry the Plaza out of the hands of accused fraudster Subrata Roy, who had been locked up in India amid allegations that he bilked investors out of billions of dollars, leaving the Fifth Avenue landmark’s operations to languish over the past five years.
A deal might also pave the way to reopening the Plaza’s famed Oak Room and Oak Bar, which have been dark since 2011 while nominally managed by New York’s Chatwal family, whose patriarch Sant pleaded guilty to making illegal campaign contributions and witness tampering, while his son Vikram went to rehab to beat a drug trafficking rap.
In addition to being home to fictitious, precocious Eloise, the Plaza has long been one of the city’s iconic places. Cary Grant was kidnapped from the Oak Bar in “North by Northwest,” and the hotel has served as the setting for countless other movies and TV shows. Its public rooms drew literati such as Truman Capote and Gore Vidal.
City boosters are hoping the Plaza can finally open a new chapter, with a purchase by Ashkenazky, headed by Ben Ashkenazy and Michael Alpert, of a controlling portion of Al-Waleed’s pivotal stake in the hotel.
“They are now partners with Prince Al-Waleed,” a source said of Ashkenazy and Alpert. “That stake has significant rights including rights to purchase the hotel and its other components.”
Sources familiar with their thinking say Ashkenazy and Alpert want to upgrade both the hotel rooms, reopen the long-dark Oak Room and Oak Bar and turn the lights back on in the Edwardian Room — which was briefly home to Italian designer Angelo Galasso but is now vacant. The spa has also been vacant but is now being built out for the Guerlain spa.
Ashkenazy owns dozens of Manhattan properties including the NYLO and Marriott East Side hotels, as well as office buildings 625 and 635 Madison Ave. and residential buildings across the US. It also owns the building that houses Barneys New York flagship at 660 Madison Ave.
The messy Plaza drama started when a conglomerate controlled by Roy, Sahara India Pariwar, bought the hotel from Elad in November 2012. But “Plaza Hotel” means only the 282-room hotel and several store and restaurant spaces that together take up about one-third of the Fifth Avenue and Central Park South landmark.
Several attempts by embattled Sahara to sell the Plaza since 2012 fell through or were blocked by Indian courts. Now, sources told The Post, freshly forged partners Ashkenazy and Al-Waleed are expected to move to purchase the remaining shares from Roy and a confusing tangle of other stakeholders.