CIM closes on Turnbull & Asser building near Drake site

By Katherine Clarke | November 11, 2011 02:22PM

Developer CIM Group has paid British retailer Turnbull & Asser $32.4 million for a townhouse at a strategic site near the Drake Hotel, according to public records filed with the city yesterday.

The five-story, 8,580-square-foot building, located at 42 East 57th Street, contains four commercial condo units. Turnbull & Asser, a high-end clothing store, has owned and occupied the whole building since 2008, when it purchased it from antiques dealer Paul Schaffer for $31.5 million. Turnbull & Asser has dressed figures such as Prince Charles, Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and John Kerry.

The acquisition may prove to be important for CIM and Harry Macklowe, the developers of the Drake Hotel site at 440 Park Avenue, which may be the most valuable development site in New York City.
As The Real Deal previously reported, Macklowe, who purchased the site for $418 million in 2006, has been eyeing the Turnbull & Asser building and another at 48 East 57th Street

Macklowe’s original plans called for 150 feet of frontage on 57th Street, occupied by low- and mid-rise commercial properties. Initially, however, he was only able to buy four of the seven buildings he needed for the project to go ahead as he had envisioned. But CIM purchased 46 East 57th Street in December for $42.5 million. Now that it’s acquired the Turnbull & Asser building, only 48 East 57th Street remains out of the project’s grasp. Number 48 is owned by high-end watchmaker Jacob & Co., which has a store in the premises.

CIM reportedly offered to move Turnbull to another townhouse on the edge of the Drake Hotel site and it seems like they may have taken the company up on the offer. Another deed filed with the city yesterday morning shows the transfer of 50 East 57th Street, a 14,535-square foot, seven-story townhouse, to Turnbull for $31.5 million.

Both Macklowe and Turnbull declined to comment on the acquisition. CIM did not immediately respond to requests for comment.