Israelis Eye and Buy Top-Notch Manhattan Icons

ISRAELI FOOTMARKS HAVE BEEN all over the city for years, of course.

Shaya Boymelgreen is an active player with holdings in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and recently sold 14 Wall Street; El-Ad Properties purchased the Plaza in 2004 for $675 million; and Ofer Yardeni’s Stonehenge Properties owns the Ritz and developed the high-end residential building the Olivia.

And that’s just to name a few. But there’s something a little different about 2007.

“Israelis used to come in as private investors and did more financing,” Mr. Yardeni told The Observer. “Today, they are able to create companies where they are buying directly.”

In other words, they’re buying more actively than ever before. This year a lot of money has been spent by only a few investors.

Mr. Leviev, born in Uzbekistan and a resident in Israel, has been the most active Israeli investor this year. In March, Mr. Leviev, who was once a partner with Mr. Boymelgreen, set a record for the most paid per apartment when he purchased the illustrious Upper West Side apartment building, the Apthorp, for $426 million.

It was only a little over a month later when he went to contract on the Times Building and the Clock Tower at 5 Madison Avenue.

“By far, we’re the largest investors of Israelis in the United States in any means or terms,” said a boastful Mr. Rosen.

“Mr. Leviev believes very much in the trophies in New York,” continued Mr. Rosen. “The prices in New York are very much undervalued. If you compare New York to London or to Moscow, you find the prices in New York are at a real discount. Buying these buildings makes a lot of sense in our eyes.”

It makes sense to others, too.

Mr. Abraham, the co-founder of the clothing store Scoop, spent $190 million on 530-4 and 536-8 Broadway, according to a source close to the deal (the building also includes a Scoop store).

Mr. Abraham would not comment on that deal for this story, but confirmed that he was Israeli. The two connected buildings at the corner of Broadway and Spring total 170,000 square feet, putting the building sale at more than $1,100 per square foot, a new record for Soho.

Mr. Revah, the buyer of the Lipstick Building and 292 Madison Avenue this year, could not be reached for comment because he was traveling, said Robert Franco, the vice president of Metropolitan Real Estate Investors, Mr. Revah’s firm. Mr. Franco confirmed that Mr. Revah was born in Morocco, but also said that Mr. Revah describes himself as Israeli.