Jared Kushner, CEO of Kushner Companies, signed a contract to acquire the iconic 250,000 square-foot retail condominium at 229 W. 43rd St. in Times Square from Africa AFI Group ‘s (TASE:AFIL) subsidiary Africa-Israel USA and private equity firm Five Mile Capital for $296 million, according to the New York Post.
AFI Group, controlled by Uzbeki-Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev, known as the “King of Diamonds,” is an international holding and investments group active in Israel and abroad in the fields of real estate, construction & infrastructure, industries and tourism & leisure.
Kushner Cos. is a diversified private real estate organization headquartered in New York City, involved in the ownership, management, development and redevelopment of numerous properties. It has completed more than $13 billion in real estate transactions since 2007. The company oversees a portfolio of 20,000 multi-family apartments, as well as 12 million square feet of office, industrial and retail space throughout New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio and Illinois.
For nearly one hundred years, 229 W. 43rd Street was home to the New York Times. A French chateau in the center of midtown, this address was where the news of the world came to print and was a waypoint for dignitaries and presidents alike.
The property, known as The New York Times Building, was The Times headquarters from 1913 through 2007. The building was built in three stages between 1912 and 1937. It was originally called the New York Times Annex because it was designed to supplement the One Times Square Times Tower, built in 1905 at Broadway and 42nd Street. In 1922, the Ludlow & Peabody firm designed a 100-foot extension on the west side as well as a five-story setback attic level in the style of the French Renaissance, including the Mansard roofs. From 1930 to 1932, architect Albert Kahn designed a further expansion to the west including a second lobby and roof-top studio. Further expansions included a 12-story New York Times North building adjoining it to the north on 44th Street.
The New York Times sold the building in 2004 to Tishman Speyer Properties for $175 million. Tishman sold it in turn to Lev Leviev’s Africa Israel Investments in 2007 for $525 million. In August 2011, Blackstone bought the top 12 floors of the building for $160 million from Africa Israel USA and Five Mile Capital.
The multi-level retail condominium share bought by Kushner Cos. consists of several high-ceilinged floors, and currently houses Discovery Times Square, Bowlmor, Haru Times Square, Guitar Center and Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar. According to NYP, Kushner Cos. plans to combine the roughly 30,000 square feet that is currently vacant with a similar-sized space that was occupied by the now shuttered Jekyll & Hyde to entice a 60,000 square-foot user.