Billionaire Charney sells Midtown hotel site to national giant

By Katherine Clarke | November 14, 2011 03:41PM

Billionaire Leon Charney, has sold a development site at 120 West 41st Street to Stanford Hotels, a source close to the deal told The Real Deal. 

Stanford, which operates Hilton, Marriott and Sheraton hotels all over the country, paid $19.5 million for the property in a deal that closed late Thursday, the source said. The company is said to be planning a 125-room hotel on the site, assembling air rights from a nearby theater. The acquisition is Stanford’s first foray into the New York market.

Charney, a real estate developer who was once President Jimmy Carter’s foreign policy adviser, had been planning a 22-story, $90 million boutique hotel at the site under an agreement with Minnesota-based Graves Hospitality. He and his partners in Charney-FPG purchased the property in 2007 for $20 million, but the project fell behind schedule due to the economic downturn and Charney falling seriously ill.

George Comfort & Sons represented Charney-FPG in the deal, which has not yet hit public record, while the Corcoran Group represented Stanford.

Representatives for George Comfort and Corcoran were not immediately available for comment. A person who answered the phone at Charney’s office confirmed the building had been sold but declined to comment further.

Charney was sued earlier this year by Malkin Properties for allegedly reneging on a deal to buy a $22 million mezzanine loan on Charney’s Midtown office tower at 119 West 40th Street, almost a year after the property was placed under a court-appointed receiver. It was not immediately clear if that suit had been resolved.