The Children’s Museum of Manhattan will eventually move to a new home after buying a former church at 361 Central Park West for $45 million, property records filed with the city Tuesday show.
Brooklyn investor Joseph Brunner, who had planned condominiums for the First Church of Christ Scientist site but was ultimately rejected by the Board of Standards in 2016, was the seller.
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s is currently located 13 blocks south on West 83rd Street. 361 Central Park West lies between West 96th and 97th Streets.
In a statement to The Real Deal, the museum’s executive director, Andrew Ackerman, said the museum was at capacity at its 83rd Street location and had been actively looking for a new one.
“We look forward to discussing our vision with the community in more detail in the coming weeks, as we begin the formal planning and design process to reactivate the building into a world-class children’s museum for families to visit, explore, and feel part of our great city,” he said, suggesting that the new facility the museum is planning will preserve elements of the existing church.
In 2014, Brunner bought 361 Central Park West for $42 million from Ira and Irene Shapiro. The deal was not smooth, however, as $10 million of that was allegedly contingent upon successfully clearing the condo project with the city, according to a suit filed by Brunner against the Shapiros in 2016. The Shapiros had tried to get that $10 million that Brunner left off the closing table and Brunner sued when they sent him a notice of default on that money. His suit was dismissed with prejudice in September.
In 2015, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan was rumored to be in talks to move to a new location on the Lower East Side.