Extell to raze 10 buildings in Diamond District

Gary Barnett, one of the best assemblers in real estate, hasn't yet revealed his plans for the area

Jul.July 19, 2016 08:37 AM

In a move that’s sure to fuel speculation about Extell Development’s Diamond District plans, the city greenlit master assembler Gary Barnett’s plans to raze 10 West 47th Street — paving the way for the developer to demolish a total of 10 buildings on the block.

Extell secured permits to demolish 10 West 47th last week, DNAinfo reported, after obtaining permission earlier this year to demolish a string of six four- and five-story buildings on West 46th Street. Extell also plans to demolish 2 West 47th and 3-13 West 46th Street, along with 562 and 564 Fifth Avenue.

Extell’s assemblage — which Barnett spent years accumulating — is located between West 46th Street and West 47th Street near Fifth Avenue. While Extell TRData LogoTINY has kept plans for the Diamond District development under wraps, that hasn’t stopped speculation that Barnett — a former diamond trader — is looking to build a massive hotel or mall.

Extell bought 10 West 47th, a 72,000-square-foot office building last summer for $74.4 million. It is located next door to the National Jewelry Exchange Building at 2 West 47th Street, which Extell scooped up in 2014 for $56.5 million. Together, the two buildings held 205,500 buildable square feet.

Barnett took control of 562 and 564 Fifth last year from Joseph Sitt’s Thor Equities and SL Green Realty. In 2013, Thor went into contract with Israeli-based Bank Leumi to buy the ground lease at 562 Fifth and purchase 564 Fifth outright for $109.5 million combined. Sitt flipped the contracts to Barnett, who obtained control of No. 562 from SL Green, which owned the fee interest on the property and paid $67.5 million for buy the building in 2013. Extell shelled out $11.7 million for air rights above No. 562.

Previously, Extell developed the 34-story, 750,000 square-foot International Gem Tower at 50 West 47th Street, which received $49 million in subsidies from the city in exchange for filling 65 percent of the building with diamond industry tenants. Extell sold the upper floors, about 319,000 square feet of office space, to SL Green in 2014. [DNAinfo] — E.B. Solomont

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