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Tommy Hilfiger’s luxury hotel plan fails in NYC clock tower

September 16, 2011

By Barbara De Lollis, USA TODAY

Fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger’s plan to buy the Clock Tower office tower in Manhattan and turn it into a luxury hotel and condominium tower has failed, Crain’s New York Business reports.
Hilfiger and real estate investment firm JSR Capital had wanted to redevelop the 41-floor building at 5 Madison Avenue, which overlooks Madison Square Park.

They were in a contract to buy the tower for $170 million from Africa Isreal USA, but the story cites sources as saying that “the deal fell apart because the would-be buyers had trouble raising the needed funds.”

JSR Capital, however, tells Crain’s New York that were other reasons for walking away from the deal.
“Virtually everyone in the real estate business has looked at Clock Tower as a hotel, residential, and/or office,” Ari Schwebel, vice president of operations at JSR Capital, told Crain’s. “Some of those were even all-cash buyers. There are reasons not one of them has closed on the building, and it isn’t about financing.”

Spokespeople for Mr. Hilfiger didn’t return Crain’s calls seeking comment and a spokeswoman for Africa Israel declined to comment, the article says.

The building last traded hands in 2007 when SL Green Realty – Manhattan’s largest landlord – sold it to Africa Isreal for $200 million, Crain’s says. See the article for more about the tower’s history.

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