The Real Deal New York

Kabbalah Centre buying Fine Arts Building for $60M

Greek hedge funders have owned the Midtown showrooms since 2013
By Mark Maurer | Twitter_logo_blue copy July 21, 2017 02:00PM

232 East 59th Street

The Kabbalah Centre International is in contract to acquire the Fine Arts Building in Midtown from a group of Greek hedge funders for about $60 million, or north of $1,000 per square foot, sources told The Real Deal.

The Los Angeles-based nonprofit, which offers courses on Jewish mysticism also known as Kabbalah, entered contract this week for the seven-story, 58,000-square-foot property at 232 East 59th Street, sources said. The deal is slated to close in the next three months.

The Kabbalah Centre would not occupy the building, which is almost fully leased – just yet at least. The property houses 12 showrooms, mostly for architecture and design firms – at floor plates averaging 8,600 square feet.

The Greek businessmen, who control the entity Fine Arts New York LLC, bought the cast-iron property from the Battaglia family for $34 million in 2013, property records show. It was constructed as a carriage house for Bloomingdale’s in the early 1900s, and then converted to showrooms in 1962. Tenants include the Chinese Porcelain Company, Bennison and Gerald Bland. Average asking rents are $75 per square foot.

The Kabbalah Centre also owns the six-story, 21,400-square-foot building at 153-155 East 48th Street, which it uses for a learning center.

A Colliers International team led by Richard Baxter, Stephen Shapiro and Jason Gold is representing the seller. Ori Degani of One Manhattan Real Estate is representing the buyer.

The deal would be the one of the first closed by the new Colliers team since the brokers left from JLL in December and January. The brokers declined to comment. Representatives for the Kabbalah Centre and the Greek businessmen could not be reached.