NY's Clock Tower Building to sell for $165 million

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 14, 2011 6:33 PM
NY's Clock Tower Building to sell for $165 million

(Reuters) - Africa Israel USA, which went on a buying spree during the height of the U.S. commercial real estate boom, said it had agreed to sell the Clock Tower Building in Manhattan for $165 million, after paying $200 million in 2007.

The Israeli-based holding and investment group declined to identify the buyer.

Multiple investors have tried to redesign or convert the 41-story landmark building but failed to complete the project.

New York real estate investment trust SL Green Realty Corp bought the building in 2005 from MetLife Inc. It later partnered with RFR Holdings and hotelier Ian Schrager, with the possibility of converting the building into luxury condominiums.

When that did not materialize, the building was sold to Africa Israel USA, a unit of Africa Israel Investments, in 2007.

Recently a possible deal for a sale to designer Tommy Hilfiger and real estate investment company JSR Capital fell apart, Crain's reported last month.

Completed in 1889, the Clock Tower was one of Manhattan's earliest skyscrapers. It was originally constructed and occupied by the New York Life Insurance Company, according to the 2005 book "The Landmarks of New York" by Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel.

The deal is expected to close in December.

Last spring, Africa Israel sold the top floors of the former headquarters of the New York Times to Blackstone Group LP for $160 million. The company bought the entire building in 2007 for $525 million.

(Reporting by Ilaina Jonas, editing by Matthew Lewis)