Last month came the shocking news that Tommy Hilfiger might buy the former MetLife clocktower at 5 Madison Avenue, in the hope of turning the place into a hotel. Previous ideas for the building's conversion have been unlucky: developer Lev Leviev made plans for 55 very pricey luxury condos designed by Versace, but the economy made such a conversion un-fundable. A scaled-back version hasn't materialized as rumored. And now Hilfiger's hotel might not either.
As for what's delaying the deal?well, nobody who's talking really knows! But the Journal reports there are enough holdups with the Hilfiger sale (for which a $170 million contract was signed a few weeks ago) that seller Africa Israel is also talking with other potential buyers. Hilfiger hasn't yet gotten a loan for the property, and lenders might not be excited about financing someone with no hotel track record. On Africa Israel's side, the developer is still negotiating the end of its design deal with Versace, which could be holding things up. C'mon, would somebody let Hilfiger get his hotel brand rolling already?
· Hilfiger's Hotel Designs May Unravel [WSJ]
· Report: Tommy Hilfiger Buys Madison Avenue Clocktower [Curbed]