After a protracted search for headquarters in TriBeCa, Miramax Films co-chairmen Harvey and Bob Weinstein are in talks to purchase an eight-story building on Greenwich Street, known as the Summit Building, for $45 million.
Commercial brokers privy to the talks said Miramax has been negotiating to buy the 189,000-square-foot building for some months with Kamran Hakim, a residential real estate developer who does not even own it yet. Mr. Hakim is expected to take ownership in early October and immediately sign a deal to flip ownership to Miramax.
“The bottom line is, that will be Miramax’s headquarters,” said one commercial broker.
Mr. Hakim signed a contract for more than $20 million in August 1998 to purchase the building from Summit Import Corporation. Since then, he has been taking steps to construct about 70 luxury apartments. He brought in the Corcoran Group to market the residences. But when Miramax approached Mr. Hakim months ago, he became interested in selling for a profit of around $25 million, real estate sources said. During the week of Sept. 13, a Corcoran Group source said that due to discussions with Miramax either to buy or long-term lease the Summit building, Mr. Hakim’s residential development plan had been put into doubt.
“No deal is a deal until it’s signed, you know,” said Mr. Hakim, speaking from his car phone the evening of Sept. 14. “I can’t say anything to you, because we haven’t agreed on anything yet.” Then he added: “In two weeks, I’ll let you know.” A publicist for Miramax refused comment on the story, saying no deals had yet been made.
Miramax currently occupies a collection of three different buildings in TriBeCa: 11 Beach Street, where their publicity and executive offices are located, the third floor of 375 Greenwich Street, a former coffee factory where the TriBeCa Film Center occupies seven floors, and 99 Hudson Street. Downtown real estate sources said the Messrs. Weinstein have been on the prowl for as many as four years for the right headquarters, and that, ultimately, the executives decided on the Summit Building, which occupies almost a whole city block between Hubert and Laight streets at 415-427 Greenwich Street.
“Their exclusive broker identified that this was the best opportunity for them,” said a commercial broker close to the Miramax talks, who added that the film company had been frustrated in a prior attempt to purchase the property. Paul Mas, the broker at Colliers ABR Inc. said to be representing Miramax , did not return calls for comment.
The building has been owned since 1977 by the Summit Import Corporation, a Chinese food warehouse that paid $650,000 for the site. According to Gary Capetta, the commercial broker representing Summit, the import company entered into a contract of more than $20 million to sell its building to Mr. Hakim and his investment partners. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Hakim began devising plans for an enormous residential development project that would result in the creation of luxury apartments.
In December 1998, the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the development plans, which entailed carving out a courtyard within the building and adding penthouse spaces to the roof. Then, this spring, representatives for Mr. Hakim approached Community Board 1 with the idea, which voted this summer to support it.
Several commercial brokers said Kamran Hakim has been entertaining offers, but none except Miramax’s exceeded $40 million. “When the seller turns down $40 million, there’s a reason why,” said one real estate broker with knowledge of the Miramax talks. “People couldn’t believe it when they heard that Miramax was paying $200 a square foot.” If the deal goes through with a price tag of $45 million, the Weinsteins would be spending more like $238 per square foot.
“Right now, anything is possible,” said Mr. Hakim, on Sept. 14 en route to a fund-raiser for Hillary Clinton at the home of someone he described as “a friend.” That evening, Mrs. Clinton was scheduled to attend two fund-raisers: a party at the Upper East Side home of John Catsimatides, a businessman and Democratic Party donor, for Mrs. Clinton’s all-but-announced Senate campaign, then a yacht cruise with real estate developer Larry Silverstein.