Published On: Mon, Sep 1st, 2014

Gary Barnett Says He Spent $45 Million on Manhattan Synagogue to Turn It into Condo Tower

44 West 66th Street

Gary Barnett’s Extell Development has finally revealed what it plans to do with the plot on Manhattan’s West Side currently home to the Habonim synagogue as well as the price that it paid for the parcel, $45 million, The Real Deal reported.

Back in April Extell contracted to purchase 44 West 66th Street, between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue, which came with 75, 000 square feet of development rights. Court filings revealed that the firm will partner with Megalith Capital Management to build a new a large condominium tower there.

Habonim will also have a $30 million share in the project, including its new location, leaving it a total of $75 million from the sale of its building. The synagogue expects to open its new home by 2019.

Megalith will bring to the partnership the three adjoining lots, from 36-40 West 66th Street, that it owns. The four lots will be combined after the synagogue is razed, which will provide the developers a space of a 15, 000 square feet to build on. Megalith paid $85 million for its three lots.

No details of the new building have been revealed yet, but it could have up to 180, 000 square feet of space. If Extell acquires another neighboring parcel owned by the nonprofit Jewish Guild Healthcare then it could go up to as much as 400, 000 square feet. Any plans must first be approved by both the New York State Attorney General and State Supreme Court.

In other Extell news, the firm is reportedly considering buying a building only a block away from the Habonim site to turn into a hotel. 2 West 47th Street in Manhattan’s diamond district has already seen several tenants vacate the premises recently.

While the building was sold in January for $56.4 million to a Fifth 47 Owner LLC, the Commercial Observer is reporting that the real buyer was actually Extell.

While no official word has come as to Extell’s plans, the Observer quoted Andrew Stein of Vicus Partners as saying “Everyone is very hush hush about this and it’s tough to get info. But I’m hearing it’s going to be a hotel. I can’t substantiate this, but that’s what a little bird told me.”

Built in 1912, 2 West 47th Street is roughly 150 feet high, 65 feet wide and has 13 floors.

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