Lev Leviev, the Israeli billionaire, made many New Yorkers sit up and take notice when he bought the former New York Times Building on West 43rd Street in 2007 for $525 million, three times what the seller paid for it 30 months earlier.Now Leviev wants to turn the building into a mix of luxury shops, a bowling alley, a high-end hotel, and 26 penthouse condominiums on top. And some of the lenders who lent Leviev $711 million have had to take a bath.
It was a bold declaration that Mr. Leviev, who planned to spend an additional $170 million transforming the landmark building into a first-class office building, wanted to be a real estate player in New York. It was also a deal emblematic of an era when buyers and bankers imagined that rents and values would soar forever.
It's a prime example of real estate froth and well worthy of coverage.
But the Times, as I wrote four years ago still hasn't reported, as the Village Voice explained in an 11/20/04 article headlined The Times' Sweetheart Deal, that the Times Company had underestimated the profit on the sale of its long-term headquarters by some 50 percent, which might have eliminated the need to subsidize the new Times Tower built on 8th Avenue in partnership with Forest City Ratner.