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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet has approved $ 7.1 million or higher negotiated sale price of Chancery Building in Washington DC amid apprehensions as to whether non-acceptance of previous bid/ offer in favour of new one would attract litigation, well informed sources told Business Recorder.

The Foreign Affairs Division apprised the Federal Cabinet in its meeting held on November 30, 2022 of the approved sale of the old Chancery building located at 2201-R-Street, Washington D.C. to the then highest bidder Shahal Khan (M/s Burkhan World Investments) for $ 6.8 million.

As per the Cabinet’s instructions, the Mission initiated the process of sale of R-Street property to the highest bidder, Shahal Khan, and in this regard, notified the State Department about the buyer and sought their approval to sell the property.

Cabinet approves sale of old chancery building in Washington

The State Department responded that as the property did not enjoy diplomatic status, no prior approval was required to sell it. The State Department further informed the Mission that once the date of settlement was communicated to it, the Department will certify tax-exempt status of the property, retroactive to the date of the Embassy’s last tax payment. This would result in the waiver of the outstanding tax amount ($ 2.05 million) against the property.

The property was included in last year’s tax sales listing of the Washington D.C. Administration due to non-payment of outstanding taxes (over $ 2.05 million). However, tax lien of the property was not sold at that time due to absence of any interested party.

In case the property was not disposed of in a timely manner, it would be offered in tax sale in July 2023 and the Government of Pakistan would have to pay all outstanding taxes if the tax lien of the property was sold.

After Cabinet’s decision to sell R-Street property was announced in media, another Pakistani Abdul Hafeez Khan communicated his interest in purchasing the property at $ 7.1 million which is USD 300,000/- higher than Shahal Khan’s offer of$ 6.8 million. He was advised by the Mission to submit bid documents to the realtor, M/s Long and Foster, by January 16, 2023.

Hafeez Khan then submitted a Letter of Intent (LoI) to purchase the property at $ 7.1 million. In the realtor’s assessment, Hafeez Khan’s initial bid was not credible as he had asked for 210 days’ study period for due diligence and did not provide a verifiable source of funding.

However, Hafeez Khan later submitted a revised bid with two-week study period and a verified source of funding. Hafeez Khan’s consultant had also conducted an on-site visit of the property. In the realtor’s assessment, Hafeez Khan’s bid was now credible and worthy of consideration. The realtor emphasized that as per US law, bidding process was not closed until the Embassy signs a sale agreement with a bidder.

The draft sale agreements of both parties were shared with the Law Division for vetting. The Law Division’s observations had been complied with.

The Law Division, in particular, recommended that both parties may be asked to proffer their “best and final offer” to ensure best market value. Accordingly, both parties were approached by the realtor to improve their offering price. However, both parties told the realtor that their last offer was their best and final offer.

The foregoing information was placed before the Prime Minister in a summary dated March 30, 2023 to seek his guidance on whether to accept Hafeez Khan’s bid or otherwise. In response, Prime Minister Office directed that since earlier approval for sale of the building was given by the Federal Cabinet, the current proposal may also be placed before the Cabinet for its decision.

The Cabinet was further informed that since Hafeez Khan’s offer price of $ 7.1 million is higher viz-a-viz Shahal’s offer of $ 6.8 million, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommended that Hafeez Khan’s bid may be accepted.

During discussion, apprehensions were expressed as to whether non-acceptance of previous bid/ offer in favour of new one would attract litigation. The members observed that the process of selling the property had already been inordinately delayed and any legal complications would delay it further. It was clarified that it was not a bid per se but was instead an offer.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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TimeToMovveOn May 17, 2023 08:00am
Basically they are selling it now because Pakistan has not paid taxes and the county officials would take it away in July. So a fire sale for $6 for a building worth much much more.
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Tulukan Mairandi May 17, 2023 08:28am
My goodness. That land alone is worth at least 12M USD
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Jawaid May 17, 2023 11:33am
Sales and Commissions...the hallmark of the crooks and corrupt!
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Jani Walker May 17, 2023 12:33pm
And the buyer is, off course, an erstwhile holier than thou self exiled.
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