KARACHI: Pakistan’s ‘mystery billionaire’ Habibullah Khan had earlier announced his intention of converting Karachi’s historic Hotel Metropole into the first-ever six star hotel of the port city but his plans were foiled when the Sindh government recently decided to acquire the land to build a park for the elderly and children.
In an exclusive interview with Profit, Khan had expressed his desire of establishing a six-star hotel at the site of Hotel Metropole, a near-abandoned hotel complex which spreads over four acres right in the middle of the financial district of the metropolis.
But his plans were foiled when the Sindh government decided that constructing a high-rise building on the site of Hotel Metropole would cause further traffic congestions in the area and would create serious environmental issues.
Chairing a high-level meeting on Wednesday, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that Hotel Metropole is located in the centre of four of Karachi’s most busy roads and building a high-rise building there would make the traffic situation worse.
He said that construction of a park for the elderly and the children would be a more suitable option as it would help improve the polluted atmosphere and would serve as a recreational spot for families. He directed the city commissioner to approach the owners of Hotel Metropole and Sindh Club management for acquiring their land.
Hotel Metropole was originally owned by a Zoroastrian family that had been trying to sell the property for a decade. Many people were interested in purchasing it but not everyone had the kind of financial liquidity and appetite the transaction required.
Khan, however, was able to close the deal within two months and eagerly announced his intention of building a six-star hotel at the historic site.