Gaia Real Estate is in contract to buy the rental conversion of a former St. Vincent’s Midtown Hospital building in Hell’s Kitchen from the Chetrit Group, The Real Deal has learned.
Gaia declined to comment or confirm the price, but a source familiar with the site said the firm is paying around $160 million for the 160,000-square-foot property at 416 West 52nd Street.
The Chetrit Group, headed by the notoriously secretive Joseph Chetrit, bought two former hospital buildings at 416 and 432 West 52nd Street in partnership with Tessler Developments for $88.7 million in 2007, with plans to convert them into rentals. The plans stalled in the aftermath of the recession, until work on the conversion finally began in 2012. In June 2014, Chetrit sold one of the buildings, 432 West 52nd Street, to a partnership between JVL Property Group, Okada Acquisitions and Zion Enterprises, which then converted it into condos. Chetrit held on to the second property, until now.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether Gaia plans to stick with the original plan of creating rental units, or switch to condos.
With the deal, Gaia is upping its already sizable bet on Manhattan’s middle-income housing market. In May 2014, the firm bought 144 rental apartments at the Corinthian in Murray Hill from Eliot Spitzer for $147 million. This February, Gaia partnered with Acro Group to buy the Murray Hill rental building 308 East 38th Street, with plans of converting the 97 units into condos.