Park Lane hotel New York Latest HITs: Qataris by NYC Park Lane; Accor grows soft brand; surf's upBy Jeffrey Weinstein | August 28, 2023Share The latest on M&A, development, data and more. NYC Park Lane trades. The Qatar Investment Authority has reportedly acquired for nearly $623 million (more than $1 million per key) the 46-story, 610-room Park Lane Hotel in New York from Witkoff, which bought the hotel in 2013 for $654 million and subsequently held off on plans to convert the property into high-end condos. In 2106, Chinese developer Greenland Group bought a 41% stake in the property from Kuwait Strategic Investors, but shortly thereafter the Justice Department filed a lawsuit looking to seize the hotel as part of its investigation Malaysian businessman Jho Low. It is not clear what the QIA plans to do with the property, which completed renovation work in 2022. The hotel was originally opened in 1971 by the famous New York City Developer Harry Helmsley.Mideast pipeline boom. The Middle East pipeline at the end of 2Q23 is at its highest project count since Q1 2020, according to Lodging Econometrics. The total pipeline stands at 597 projects/146,521 rooms, up 10% and 5%, respectively, year-over-year (YOY). Projects under construction stand at 330 projects/90,619 rooms. Saudi Arabia has the most projects in the pipeline with an all-time high 276 projects and 72,144 rooms. The UAE has 106 projects/27,921 rooms; Egypt has 91 projects/20,814 rooms; Qatar has 43 projects/10,267 rooms; and Oman has 33 projects/6,792 rooms. Ninety-two percent of the hotel projects in the Middle East’s current pipeline are located within these five countries.Accor grows soft brand. Accor has partnered with Amchase Phuket HP (Thailand) Ltd. to launch the first soft brand Handwritten Collection in Thailand at the Andaman Beach Hotel Phuket. The 161- room property is set to open in Q4 2023. The news follows the recent signing of the brand’s first location in Singapore. Accor has already opened Handwritten properties in Australia, France and Estonia.Surf tech drives development. Developer Aventuur is planning a programmatic rollout of mixed-use surf, leisure and wellbeing destinations across North America. Having acquired the rights to nine territories within the region, the company is introducing Wavegarden’s technology in the U.S. and Baja California Sur, Mexico. Aventuur said the rollout has the potential to create a real estate portfolio exceeding $1 billion, with each of the company’s destinations requiring US$50-100 million in development capital. It is currently developing two projects in Australia and New Zealand. Anchored by a 5.5-acre surfing lagoon, Aventuur’s mixed-use developments will also incorporate, retail, and residential components, as well as some form of hotels/lodging that will be determined on a site-by-site basis. Aventuur has raised US$12 million in funding from a range of high-net-worth individuals, family offices and private investment firms.