Pakistan has sold an abandoned Pakistan embassy building in Washington for $7.1 million, the buyer and the embassy have confirmed.
The building, which had been vacant since 2003 and declared a ‘defunct property’ by the local government, had its diplomatic status revoked in 2018, after which the Pakistan embassy building became the responsibility of the embassy, reported Dawn newspaper. .
Hafeez Khan, a Pakistani-American businessman from Dallas, USA, has bought this property.
At a ceremony held at a Washington hotel, Pakistan’s ambassador Masood Khan confirmed the sale, hoping it would “put an end to media speculation” about the property.
Other buildings occupied by the embassy are not for sale, although at least one of them is still vacant, he said.
Masood Khan said the building would need extensive restoration before they could decide what to do with it.
Clarification: Responding to certain media queries, it is clarified that the old embassy building that has been disposed of is located at R-Street.
📸1:Old Embassy Building located at R-Street,Washington DC
📸 2: Current Chancery, located at 3517 International Ct Washington DC pic.twitter.com/lb9B64XSpz
— Pakistan Embassy US (@PakinUSA) July 14, 2023
“When I heard it was for sale, I thought it should be bought by a Pakistani-American because we have an emotional attachment to the property and that’s why I bought it,” said the businessman who bought the building.
It should be noted that earlier this year, the Washington city government downgraded the building’s property classification to blighted (extremely dilapidated) as well as increased taxes on its assessed value.
Located in Washington’s diplomatic enclave, the Pakistan embassy building used to be a consulate and was put up for auction late last year.
The government had received three offers, one of which was apparently accepted, but the process was later shelved without giving any reason.
The highest bidder offered $6.8 million for the property, which is located in the heart of the city.
However, the building’s pre-auction appraisal set its value at $4.5 million as a benchmark.
The building had been lying vacant for over a decade and had fallen into disrepair as it was not properly maintained.
In 2010, the then Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani approved a loan of 7 million dollars from the National Bank of Pakistan to repair it and the Pakistan embassy building.
Part of the loan was used to renovate the main building, but it was left in disrepair, while the main building, which underwent a $1 million renovation years ago, is also vacant.
Real estate experts have warned that if its fate is not decided soon, the money spent on its rehabilitation will also be lost.