Pakistan-owned Washington building sold for $7.1 million

The notice was pasted at the entrance of the building.  - by reporter
The notice was pasted at the entrance of the building. – by reporter
  • The dilapidated building owned by Pakistan was finally sold.
  • The diplomatic status of the building was revoked in 2018.
  • It was declared an ‘excluded property’ by the local government.

Washington: After months of efforts, Pakistan has finally sold a historic building lying vacant since 2003 in the US capital for $7.1 million, it emerged on Thursday.

This property has been bought by a Pakistani businessman named Hafeez Khan.

The government of the District of Columbia downgraded the property classification of the building owned by the Pakistan embassy, ​​which had been up for sale for the past few months, essentially raising taxes on its assessed value.

Local authorities had changed the square status of this old and now crumbling building owned by the Pakistani government.

The famous R Street building, which used to be a chancery in the past, was put up for auction late last year after the government received three bids.

However, later the entire bidding process was canceled by the Pakistani authorities without assigning any reason. The highest bidder offered $6.8 million for the property, which is located in the heart of the city. The building’s pre-auction valuation on an “as is” basis was set at $4.5 million as the benchmark.

The building has been vacant for more than a decade. Its diplomatic status was also revoked in 2018, forcing it to pay taxes to the local government.

building status lowered

The local authorities further downgraded the status of the property earlier this year, further burdening the national exchequer.

Here is the list of real estate classification according to building codes:

  • class 1 – improved residential real estate that is occupied and used exclusively for non-transient residential housing purposes;
  • class 2– commercial property;
  • Class 3 – vacant property;
  • class 4 – Destroyed property.

Official documents from the District of Columbia revealed that the Pakistani government had not received any tax relief on that property since 2018.

Subsequently, in 2018 and 2019, the building was first classified as Class 2 because it was commercial and then class 3 because it was vacant from 2020 to 2022.

In April 2023, the building’s property classification was downgraded even further, and it is now designated Class 4 for its poor condition.

A local government building department considers a building to be damaged if it is unsafe, unhygienic, or otherwise endangers the health, safety, or general welfare of the community.

The Department of Buildings determines this position based on the following factors:

  • Is the building boarded up?
  • Are doors, windows and other openings weatherproof and secure?
  • Are exterior walls free of holes, graffiti, and rotting material?
  • Are all exposed metal and wood surfaces protected from corrosion by paint, or some other weather-coating material?
  • Are all balconies, porches, signs and similar facilities safe and sound?

It’s also worth mentioning that Class 3 is taxed at $5 per $100 of assessed value, and Class 4 is taxed at $10.00 per $100 of assessed value.

Since it was not properly maintained, the building fell into disrepair, although the then Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani approved repairs in 2010 through a $7 million loan from the National Bank of Pakistan.

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