The master of all things leather bags, Louis Vuitton could be seeking an expansion of the company’s American flagship store at 1 East 57th Street, as the luxury retailer recently bought the small office building adjacent to it.
Last month, the company paid $60 million to Centurion Realty for the skinny 10-story building at 743 Fifth Avenue, according to property records. The company’s storefront next door occupies a vast 20,000-plus square feet on four levels in one of the world’s top shopping districts. An expansion, should one be in the works, would signify the dominant power of the trendy French designer, which sports wallets for nearly $1,000 and handbags for well over $2,000.
The company did not respond to requests for comment, though Ralph Tawil, a principal at Centurion, confirmed that the buyer was indeed Louis Vuitton.
“They were the neighbor—so they wanted to own the property,” said Mr. Tawil, who bought the site just three years ago for $28 million. Louis Vuitton did not express its plans for the site, he said. Brokerage CB Richard Ellis last month issued a report that ranked the 10-block strip on Fifth Avenue between Rockefeller Center and Central Park as by far the most expensive retail strip in the world, with average rents of about $1,500 a square foot annually.
The Cushman & Wakefield team of Scott Latham, Richard Baxter, Jon Caplan and Ron Cohen represented the buyers on the sale. They would not comment.