In the coming days, the flag of Israel
will be removed from the rooftop flagpole on the Plaza Hotel in New York and will be replaced by the spoke wheel and saffron, white and green of the flag of India.
The flag change represents the conclusion of the deal to sell the Plaza New York, previously held by Yitzhak Tshuva's El-Ad real estate group, to the Sahara Group, owned by Indian businessman Subrata Roy for NIS 2.3 billion ($600 million).
The deal poured a free cash flow, after debt repayment, of NIS 850 million ($223 million) into Tshuva's bank account.
Tshuva acquired the Plaza hotel in New York in 2004 for $675 million from Kingdom Holding group, owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia
El-Ad Group, Tshuva's real estate arm, invested $400 million in the renovation of the hotel, wherein part of the hotel was converted into luxury apartments.
The acquisition and renovation cost Tshuva a staggering $1 billion.
Two years after the acquisition, Tshuva began reaping the fruits of his investment when he sold 40% of the hotel to Prince Alwaleed bin Talal
Last week, Tshuva's representatives, led by El-Ad CEO Udi Erez, were in New York to finalize the last details of the deal.
On Tuesday the deal was sealed, and Tshuva received $1.6 billion for his share in the project which comprises a 60% stake in the hotel and the full rights over the adjacent shopping center.
Half of the proceedings were used to settle Tshuva's debts, and the remainder was transferred to El-Ad's coffers.
Tshuva's New York venture is far more successful than his scorching failure in the Las Vega Plaza, wherein he took a $320 million loss after Delek Real Estate's bondholders enforced a painful settlement that resulted in a $1.3 debt write off.
All in all, Tshuva gained a total of some NIS 3.7 billion ($970 million) from the NY Plaza, which represent an annual return of 10%.
This report was originally published in Hebrew