By Sarah Trefethen
Stanley Chera’s Crown Acquisitions Inc. has purchased a 49.9 percent interest in the Olympic Tower Complex on Fifth Avenue, forming a joint venture with Olympic Tower Associates, and affilate of the Onassis foundation.
The value of the deal has not been disclosed, but sources familiar with the deal say it is in the vicinity of $1 billion.
The four-building complex includes Olympic Tower at 645 Fifth Avenue, the Versace Building at 647 Fifth Ave., the Cartier Building at 653 Fifth Ave., and 10 East 52nd Street.
Leases in the complex’s 150,000 s/f of retail space are due to expire over the next five years, according to Harry Seherr-Thoss, executive managing director of Colliers International.
Seherr-Thoss and Robert L. Freedman, Colliers Tri-state chairman, arranged the deal on behalf of Olympic Tower Associates.
“Crown is very, very strong on retail on Fifth Avenue,” Seherr-Thoss said.
They were chosen for the partnership in hope that they could help maximize the value of the retail portion of the property, he said. Armani Exchange, Jimmy Choo, Gant, and jeweler H. Stern are among the complex’s retail tenants.
Crown investments include the retail condominium at 666 Fifth Avenue, the retail condo of the St. Regis Hotel on 5th Avenue, 530 Fifth Avenue and towers 2, 3, and 4 at the World Trade Center.
Olympic Towers launched its search for a joint venture partner in August, Seherr-Thoss said, and the Colliers team interviewed 40 potential investors including banks, private equity funds and individual investors. They passed on ten candidates for their client to choose from, including Crown.
“It’s a very good partnership. They have the same mindset, they’re entirely on the same page and they get along very well,” Sherr-Thoss said.
The complex also hosts 400,000 s/f of office space, where tenants include the National Basketball Association.
Built in 1974 on commission from Aristotle Onassis, Olympic Tower was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and was the first New York skyscraper to feature a combination of retail shops, commercial office space and owner-occupied apartments in the same building.