The publishing giant Hearst has its new pretty tower on Eighth Avenue, and it has all those accolades, too—like New Yorker critic Paul Goldberger calling the new building the most beautiful skyscraper built in decades.
Now, with a spring in its step, Hearst is on its way to total domination south of Columbus Circle. The publishing company purchased an 8,000-square-foot building at 304 West 56th Street, directly across the street from its new tower, for $7.6 million, according to city records.
So what exactly is the company planning over there?
“Not going to talk about our plans,” said Paul Luthringer, a spokesman for Hearst.
Hmmm. Well, that doesn’t help! But who said anything about plans?
They could obviously run the gamut. Now, no one would dare to think that Hearst would expand its headquarters—no, not after all the praise the company has already received for its 700,000-square-foot, diamond-cut masterpiece.
And its newest property on 56th Street is across the street from the trophy that houses O, Cosmopolitan and Esquire—maybe a sky bridge to connect the two, but that’s so Flatiron, not Columbus Circle in the age of Time Warner.
It probably just has to do with security. Security in controlling nearby properties; security in the knowledge that the view outside those expansive windows in its new tower won’t be blocked by anything unsightly.
That would be the only reason to justify Hearst’s nearly $1,000-per-square-foot purchase of a pretty drab five-story building across the street.
California Group Grabs Club Quarters Hotel for $122 M.
A California real-estate investment group, Rockwood Capital, has purchased the Club Quarters Hotel near Rockefeller Center for $122 million.
Rockwood Capital bought the Club Quarters hotel at 25 West 51st Street from Masterworks Development. The deal was recorded in city records, and a spokeswoman from Rockwood Capital confirmed the buy. It’s the real-estate firm’s third Club Quarters buy in the city.
Rockwood Capital, which used to be an investment partner at 660 Madison before Broadway Partners gobbled it up, purchased two commercial-condo units at 25 West 51st Street, in a property that was divided into three retail-condo units, a source familiar with the building said. The two units purchased by the company included the hotel.
The hotel opened last year under the head of bullish investor Ralph Bahna, who controls Masterworks. In 2004, Mr. Bahna purchased the building from the bank Banca Nazionale del Lavoro with the intention of converting it into a hotel.
The relatively econo-friendly Club Quarters is a hotel designed for the businessman traveling on the fly or a European couple looking for a slight discount.
Rockwood now owns all the Club Quarters in the city, including one in the financial district and one on 45th Street. It also controls a 50 percent interest in a Doubletree on Lexington Avenue, a spokeswoman for the company said.
Chetrit Goes Uptown with $80 M. East Harlem Buy
He trades in downtown, midtown and now … uptown! In his latest move, the city’s most active developer, Joseph Chetrit, has purchased an East Harlem office building for $80 million, according to city records.
The building, at 1768 Third Avenue, is at the corner of 98th Street and has 247,000 square feet.
Since he sold the Toy Building at 200 Fifth Avenue for $500 million, Mr. Chetrit has been on a spending spree.
In fact, going back just two months, Mr. Chetrit has spent more than $500 million in a series of acquisitions.
Outside of this buy, he purchased the Standard Oil Building at 26 Broadway for $225 million in April. He spent $140 million in March to prepare development for a 37-story mixed-use giant on Sixth Avenue, between 30th and 31st streets; and he spent $64 million in March on a pair of N.Y.U. buildings near the World Trade Center redevelopment site.
His Harlem purchase mirrors the others: He’s clearly trying to buy in an area ahead of the curve. When he purchased 90-100 Trinity Place from N.Y.U., he did it with clear intentions to hold onto it for a future investment. The building is the home of two public schools with a lease that runs through 2022. By that point, Mr. Chetrit might have an undervalued building or development site in a totally refurbished area.
Likewise, Harlem is getting more and more popular in residential and retail.
The building is the home of the Florence Nightingale Health Center Adult Day Program.
O, Soho! Squat Building Could Nab Over $20 M.
Everyone is buying up Soho now: A building at 600 Broadway is in contract for a landmark $1,000 per square foot, and 530 Broadway just went to contract.
Here comes the latest Soho prize that’s up for sale: a 35,000-square-foot oblong office building at 167-177 Lafayette Street, at the corner of Grand Street, which is teeming with retail opportunities.
Ron Solarz, a broker at Eastern Consolidated, which is marketing the building, said that if a buyer is aggressive enough, he can have the entire building— retail and office—vacated in less than two years.
“Someone will get their arms around this, and they will vacate the entire property and renovate the entire property, and they’ll lease all the retail to those chic, hot fashion stores,” said Mr. Solarz.
Is the area that cool?
“I love it,” he said. “Love the location. It’s a very cool neighborhood: very cool little shops, a lot of condos in the area—it’s a really great neighborhood. A lot of good things are gonna be in the area.”
In addition to Mr. Solarz, phone calls can be placed to Eric Anton, Sam Schneider, Danny Glaser or financial guru Jared Toothman, all of Eastern Consolidated.
Prospective buyers, expect prices for 167-177 Lafayette to exceed $20 million.