Carlos Slim snaps up Fifth Avenue office

The Mexican billionaire has bought 417 Fifth Avenue from Goldman Sachs and Moinian Group for $140m – a 56% discount to its 2007 price. Ashkenazy is also reportedly set to close on the New York Knickerbocker Hotel this week for a 46% discount of its 2007 peak valuation.

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has closed on a prime New York office building at 417 Fifth Avenue for $140 million, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

417 Fifth

The real estate broker said the 11-storey office was bought by Inmobiliaria Carso, an investment company controlled by businessman and investor Carlos Slim Helu. The property was originally bought for $250 million by Goldman Sachs and developer Moinian Group in a joint venture in July 2007, according to data provider Real Capital Analytics.

The 412,000-square-foot property is located close to Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan. According to Cushman & Wakefield, foreign buyers accounted for 15 percent of the $4.2 billion of property sales closed or under contract in the year to June. Private capital accounted for 35 percent of all acquisitions, REITs 34 percent and pension funds and owner-occupiers just 8 percent.


Another iconic New York asset is also reportedly set to close this week, with Ashkenazy Acquisition expected to buy the former Knickerbocker Hotel and an adjacent lot on 42nd Street for $173 million. The Real Deal reported that the hotel was originally acquired by Istithmar World, the private equity and real estate investment arm of Dubai World, in 2006 for $376 million.

Ashkenazy reportedly fought off bids from around 50 interested parties to acquire the property with Crown Acquisitions and Highgate Holdings.

Istithmar last year lost control of the W Union Square Hotel to LEM Mezzanine, a mezzanine fund affiliated with Lubert-Adler Real Estate, in a foreclosure auction. LEM Mezzanine said at the time it acquired the hotel after a series of defaults by Istithmar. The Philadelphia-based firm reportedly paid just $2 million for the central New York City hotel, with the assumption of $212 million in debt.

In March, Istithmar also reportedly handed the keys back to the Knickerbocker Hotel after it defaulted on a $300 million loan. Originally used as a hotel, the Knickerbocker has most recently been occupied as an office building. Istithmar was midway through a plan to revert its use back to a hotel and as such, has not been renewing leases.

Istithmar had also purchased an adjoining site for $76 million as part of its strategy to transform the site.