The fate of the former Carnegie Deli, which closed at the end of last year, is becoming a bit clearer: the New York Post reports that none other than Extell Development Company is preparing to scoop up the deli’s former six-story home at 854 Seventh Avenue, with the sale closing as early as this week.
Another interesting factor in all this: Last year, Extell’s Gary Barnett brokered a deal with the deli’s owner, Marian Harper Levine, for the building’s air rights, which the developer purchased for $9.1 million. (This may explain why Levine wouldn’t consider selling the business to a former dishwasher, who offered her $5 million and a share of profits from the deli.)
Extell, of course, is responsible for some of the biggest buildings in Midtown, including One57 and the under-construction Central Park Tower. While there’s no indication that Barnett wants to build another tower on Seventh Avenue—as the Post notes, the developer doesn’t own the buildings on either side of the deli’s narrow lot—it’s not the only property he owns in the area. Extell also has a lot just down the block, on the corner of 54th Street and Seventh Avenue. Plans call for a 29-story apartment tower there, but a source told the Post that it’s on hold for the time being.
Extell is also known for simply buying up properties for the sake of buying them—whether to block other developers from building around them, or to get assemblages in place before announcing huge projects.
But in the end, the reason for the sale could be simpler than all that: a source told the Post, “[Barnett] grabbed the Carnegie building just because it’s there. The price is peanuts for Extell, although it’s probably worth a fortune to Levine.”