Front Desk

The Plaza as peacemaker?

In an odd way, The Plaza Hotel in New York City has done more for Israeli-Arab relations than has 25 years of high-level diplomacy. Follow this story, which proves that commerce can trump politics:

• In August 2004, Israeli investment firm ELAD Properties bought The Plaza for $675 million from co-owners Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels. After a long fight with New York's hotel unions (thatâ€â„¢s another story), ELAD launched a $350-million renovation of the property and conversion of some hotel rooms into condo hotel units.

̢ۢ Today, ELAD announced that it selected Toronto-based Fairmont Hotels to manage The Plaza when it reopens in 2007. A part owner (about five percent) of Fairmont is none other than Prince Alwaleed.

It just shows that sometimes green is thicker than red.

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