Extell sells three condos at Int’l Gem Tower for $51.2M

Gemological Institute of America ups presence to 80K sf

A rendering of the International Gem Tower located at 50 West 47th Street and Gary Barnett
A rendering of the International Gem Tower located at 50 West 47th Street and Gary Barnett

Gary Barnett’s Extell Development has closed on a deal with the Gemological Institute of America to purchase three floors in its International Gem Tower for $51.2 million, The Real Deal has learned.

The sale, which hit city records today, closed July 25. Back in 2010, the renowned gem institute had planned to set up its only research “laboratory” in a 30,000-square-foot space in the 21-story, 425,000-square-foot building at 50 West 47th Street, Extell vice-president of development Jeff Torkin told The Real Deal today.

“As they were engaging in the space planning,” Torkin said, “they decided to also bring the school over, and take two more floors.”

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GIA’s total commitment at the building is now about 80,000 square feet, spread out over three units, he said. The institute, which has 11 campuses and nine laboratories in 14 countries and serves as the standard-setter for the jewelry industry, is moving its laboratory from 580 Fifth Avenue and its educational campus from 270 Madison Avenue, Stephen Morisseau, director of communications at GIA, told The Real Deal.

As of July, more than 80 percent of a three-story space in the building dedicated to a shopping center for precious gems had been leased, as The Real Deal reported. Turkish investor Gulaylar Group bought the 16,000-square-foot space in March from Extell.

Barnett began his career as a diamond trader in the industry’s mecca of Antwerp, Belgium before heading back to his native New York and getting into real estate. The International Gem Tower was recently reviewed by The Real Deal’s architecture critic.