Kuwaiti investor Wafra in contract to buy 720 West End Avenue

Buyer paying $165M; property could become condos or senior housing

Kuwaiti investor Wafra in contract to buy 720 West End Ave
720 West End Avenue in Manhattan NY, Wafra Capital Partners CEO Robert Toan (Google Maps, TSISemi)

Wafra Capital Partners, an affiliate of Kuwait’s sovereign wealth fund, is making a move to buy a 16-story building in the Upper West Side.

Through the entity WCP Investments, the developer is in contract to buy 720 West End Avenue from Brack Capital Real Estate for about $165 million, sources told the Commercial Observer. The sale of the building is expected to close in the coming weeks.

WCP is getting a building that is both vacant and gutted. Since Brack Capital put the property up for sale in June, some potential uses for the building considered by bidders included a conversion into condos and a senior housing facility, the Observer reports.

Brack Capital was reportedly planning to turn the Upper West Side building into a series of condos and earned approval on its plans from both the Department of Buildings and Landmarks Preservation Commission to convert and expand the property.

Prior to Brack Capital’s $108 million purchase of the property, it was used as a senior housing facility by the Salvation Army. The sale of the 352-unit drew scrutiny from the state’s attorney general due to concerns over tenant protection laws. The Salvation Army, meanwhile, agreed to pay moving expenses and skip out on potential rent increases for the first 18 months at a new building.

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Wafra appears to be growing increasingly active in New York City. The subsidiary of the Kuwait sovereign wealth fund and frequent partner Nightingale Properties recently landed close to $500 million in acquisition and construction financing for a property at 111 Wall Street. The loan package came from a consortium that includes PIMCO, Oaktree Capital and Bain Capital.

The two companies plan on using the loan package to redevelop the former Citibank building in the Financial District, the Observer previously reported. Planned improvements include a renovated lobby, the installation of a curtain-wall facade, floor-to-ceiling windows and amenities such as a fitness center.

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[CO] — Holden Walter-Warner