That was fast. Less than three weeks after it came on the market, the soon-to-be old headquarters of The New York Times will be sold for $525 million – triple what the New York Times Company sold it for three years ago.
Africa Israel, a company owned by the Uzbeki-born Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev, is in contract to purchase 229 West 43rd Street from Tishman Speyer, according to reports from GlobeSt.com and The Wall Street Journal.
Mr. Leviev’s offer is clearly a blowout. Tishman Speyer, which owns Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village and Rockefeller Center, put the building on the market to a bidding process that generally takes months. Tishman Speyer was asking $500 million.
Mr. Leviev now has an impressive commercial trophy to add to his company’s portfolio. Last month, he purchased a 50 percent stake of the famed Upper West Side residential building, the Apthorp, for $426 million, or $2.4 million per apartment, the most ever paid for a residential building.
As for the Times: It sold the building to Tishman Speyer for $175 million in 2004, at the front-end of an investment-sales market that was on the verge of a meteoric rise.
More amazing still is, if Tishman Speyer completed a series of renovations they were planning to begin, the building probably would have sold for even more.
Arthur Sulzberger Jr. is scheduled to deliver his State of the Times presentations to staff tomorrow, on the heels of the company’s April 24 annual shareholders’ meeting in which holders of 42 percent of Class A stock in the company withheld their votes for the directorship of the company. The move was seen as an expression of displeasure by the voters at the management of the company’s finances.