At the height of the real estate boom, semi-scary billionaire Lev Leviev's Africa Israel snapped up a trio of NYC trophies at eye-popping prices: the MetLife clocktower, the Apthorp and the former New York Times Building on West 43rd Street?which Leviev bought for $525 million from Tishman Speyer, which paid $175 for the building less than three years before. Each property has had its troubles since, but Charles Bagli reports that the old 15-story Times HQ is back with a new plan and new partners. Following a renovation and re-branding in a failed attempt to lure higher-paying office space tenants, Africa Israel is now aiming to bring in retail on the lower floors, a Bowlmor Lanes bowling alley, restaurants, a 379-room hotel and 26 penthouse condos. Negotiations with the kitchen sink apparently fell through. Will this latest scheme work? Who knows! We've seen crazier Times Square reinventions.
· Former Times Building to Be a Hotel and Condos [NYT]
· Times Square Building coverage [Curbed]