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L&L Buys Half of NYC's Toy Center Bldg. for $500M

Chetrit Group Parts With 800,000-SF Property at 190-200 Fifth Ave.
April 3, 2007
L&L Holding Co. LLC, the Manhattan real estate firm helmed by Robert T. Lapidus and David W. Levinson, agreed to buy one-half of Manhattan's International Toy Center for approximately $500 million.

The 800,000-square-foot building, known as Toy Center South, is located at 190-200 Fifth Ave. between 23rd and 24th Street and is being sold by a venture led by The Chetrit Group that is also believed to include Arbor Realty Trust Inc. (NYSE: ABR), a Uniondale, NY-based REIT. The sale was first reported by The New York Post.

The venture acquired the 15-story property two years ago, along with a sister building at 1107 Broadway, for $355 million. The buildings -- home to several toy makers -- are interconnected by a skywalk. That deal also included two tiny buildings at 23 W 23rd St. and 7 W 24th St., according to CoStar Group information.

The Chetrit venture had planned to convert the buildings into residential condominiums. But with the once hot residential condo sales market in the doldrums, L&L plans to reposition the property as high-end office space. It is 83.4% leased now and includes a mix of office and showroom space and retains several design elements from its original 1910 construction.

It's not clear what the Chetrit venture plans to do with Toy Center North, the property at 1107 Broadway, though this deal surely ups its value. It could sell the smaller building or hold onto it and redevelop it as planned, according to one local player with knowledge of the situation.

The deal was brokered by Douglas Harmon of Eastdil Secured, who also recently represented Chetrit and Arbor in the $664 million sale of 450 W 33rd St. to Broadway Real Estate Partners. Calls to Harmon were not immediately returned.
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