|229 West 43rd Street|
Upper floors of building (December 2009)
|Former names||New York Times Annex|
The New York Times Building
French Renaissance (addition)
|Location||229 West 43rd Street|
Manhattan, New York City
|Owner||Columbia Property Trust|
|Management||Columbia Property Trust|
|Roof||267 ft (81 m)|
|Floor area||767,000 square feet (71,300 m2)|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Mortimer J. Fox (original)|
Ludlow and Peabody (1922 addition)
Albert Kahn (1932 addition)
|Developer||The New York Times Company|
|Designated||April 24, 2001|
229 West 43rd Street, formerly known as The New York Times Building, is an 18-story office building, located at 229 West 43rd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenue near Times Square in Manhattan, New York City. It was the headquarters of The New York Times newspaper from 1913 through 2007. Currently, the office portion of the building is owned by Columbia Property Trust while Kushner Companies owns the first six floors as a retail and entertainment complex.
The building was built in three stages between 1912 and 1937. It was originally designed by Mortimer J. Fox, of the firm Buchman & Fox, and called the New York Times Annex because it was designed to supplement the One Times Square Times Tower, built in 1905 at Broadway and 42nd Street (which gives Times Square its name). In 1922, the Ludlow & Peabody firm designed a 100-foot (30 m) extension on the west side as well as a five-story setback attic level in the style of the French Renaissance, including the Mansard roofs. From 1930 to 1932, architect Albert Kahn designed a further expansion to the west including a second lobby and roof-top studio. Further expansions included a 12-story New York Times North building adjoining it to the north on 44th Street.
The New York Times Company sold the building in 2004 to Tishman Speyer for $175 million. Tishman sold it to Lev Avnerovich Leviev's Africa Israel Investments in 2007 for $525 million. The company reportedly considered converting the building into luxury condominiums as well as partnering with The Walt Disney Company to open a branded Times Square hotel. As of September 2008 , Africa Israel was in the midst of a $175 million renovation including adding a new sign on the top and replacing a digital clock in place since 1962 with an analog version. Africa Israel officially called it "The Times Square Building". The company also opened the horror-themed Jekyll & Hyde Club based on the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. However, the club received extremely negative reviews and closed in 2015. In 2009, the company leased the building's basement for Discovery Times Square Exposition.
In 2011, The Blackstone Group purchased the building for $160 million and spent another $105 million on renovations that included leasing the 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th and 14th floors to Yahoo!. The company subsequently sold the office space on floors five through 16 to Columbia Property Trust for $516 million in July 2015.
In 2012, Guy Fieri's first New York City restaurant, Guy's American Kitchen and Bar, opened to scathing New York Times coverage by Pete Wells that Larry Olmsted of Forbes called "the most scathing review in the history of the New York Times", and "likely the most widely read restaurant review ever." Fieri, for his part, accused Wells, the nation's highest profile reviewer, of using Fieri's fame as a platform for advancing his own prestige.
In 2015, Jared Kushner purchased the first six floors of the building for $295 million from Africa Israel Investments and Five Mile Capital. All but $1 million of the purchase price was financed by loans from Brookfield Asset Management. Kushner envisioned leasing out the space to multiple entertainment venues to create an amusement park-like attraction that would capture visitors from nearby Times Square. In May 2016, the operators of Mini Israel in Latrun, Israel, announced plans for the 49,000 square feet (4,600 m2) Gulliver's Gate attraction. The attraction would consist of scale models of both New York and global landmarks inspired by Gulliver's Travels. A month later, Kushner signed National Geographic Encounter to a 59,000 square feet (5,500 m2) deal where the company planned to operate an educational entertainment attraction about the ocean, replacing Discovery Times Square Exposition. Finally, celebrity chef Todd English signed a lease to open a 12,000 square feet (1,100 m2) food hall in the building.
Following the lease-up of the building, in October 2016 Deutsche Bank lent $370 to refinance the space. The 10-year, interest-only loan consisted of nine pari passu senior notes totaling $285 million that were sold in the commercial mortgage-backed security market as well as two mezzanine loans totaling $85 million that were sold to Paramount Group and SL Green Realty. At the time, a real estate appraisal valued the property at $470 million since it was 100% occupied by a variety of tenants whose leases ran into the 2030s. In addition to the tenants Kushner signed, the space was also home to Bowlmor Lanes,Guitar Center's Times Square flagship, a sushi restaurant, and a taco restaurant. Kushner used the loans to pay off the Brookfield financing as well as pay a special $59 million divided to the Kushner Company. These deals attracted special counsel Robert Mueller's attention as possible ties between Trump family real estate deals and Russian money interests while he is investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.
Despite appearing on Restaurant Business's list of the top 100 independent restaurants as ranked by sales for four years in a row, Guy Fieri's restaurant announced plans to close at the end of 2017. Additionally, by the beginning of 2018 Todd English's food hall remained unopened with no signs of construction despite an originally scheduled opening date of April 2017. In February, the planned operator of the food hall sued the Kushner Companies, claiming that the space given to them was not the same size as the space described in the lease. Kushner countersued, alleging that the food hall operator was behind schedule and failing to pay rent. Ultimately, the companies mutually abandoned plans for the food hall. In April, Kushner replaced Guy Fieri's former space with a new outpost of The Ribbon, a popular Upper West Side restaurant.
By the end of 2018, both Gulliver's Gate and National Geographic, the property's two largest attractions, were suffering financial difficulties. Gulliver's Gate faced six separate lawsuits from contractors who claimed they weren't paid for their services while National Geographic was issued tax liens by both the State and City of New York for failing to pay proper taxes. Gulliver's Gate also complained that their space was smaller than promised and entered negotiations with Kushner Companies which lowered their rent by 50% while National Geographic was evicted in January 2019.
In March 2019, Kushner Companies defaulted on their $85 million of mezzanine loans after missing several payments. The missed payments came after income was lower due to vacancy and reduced rents while expenses at the property unexpectedly amounted to $9 million, more than double their expected level.