The Real Deal New York

Harry Macklowe is one parcel closer to building his $1B Midtown office tower

Developer has closed on the purchase of 5 East 51st Street for $44M
By Eddie Small | March 11, 2019 03:52PM

From left: 5 East 51st Street, Harry Macklowe, and a rendering of Tower Fifth (Credit: Google Maps, Getty Images, and New York Times)

Harry Macklowe’s dream of building one more soaring skyscraper in Midtown picked up a bit of steam this week.

The octogenarian developer on Monday closed on the purchase of a six-story rental building at 5 East 51st Street from Noam Management for $44 million, according to property records. His company Macklowe Properties funded the deal with a roughly $124 million mortgage from Fortress Investment Group.

Macklowe, who was married last week following a bitter divorce that split his fortune down the middle, has been stitching together an assemblage for the site for years. He already owns 12 East 52nd Street, for which he paid $32 million, and 4 East 52nd Street.

The assemblage is central to Macklowe’s vision for a tall and skinny mid-block office building between East 51st and East 52nd Streets known as “Tower Fifth.” It would stand about 1,500 feet tall, span 1 million square feet and likely cost upwards of $1 billion. He will need to transfer hundreds of thousands of square feet of development rights from St. Patrick’s Cathedral to build the project, which is likely to cost tens of millions of dollars. To transfer air rights, Macklowe will have to go through the city’s ULURP public review process.

If built, the tower would rise even higher than Macklowe’s luxury condo project at 432 Park Avenue, which stands about 1,400 feet tall. It would face direct competition from new-development office buildings including SL Green Realty’s One Vanderbilt, Related Companies’ Hudson Yards complex, the World Trade Center and Tishman Speyer’s the Spiral.

Representatives for Macklowe and Noam did not immediately respond to requests for comment.