By Al Barbarino
Chabad-Lubavitch has closed on the purchase of a 12-story, 60,000 s/f building at 509 Fifth Ave. for $42 million.
The organization has occupied the building for 16 years, operating a synagogue, community center and a number of religious programs from the second floor, according to a company statement.
“We thank G-d for this special blessing,” Rabbi Joshua Metzger, the center’s director, wrote in a statement. “This presents enormous opportunities and an awesome responsibility to ensure that the multitudes in the heart of the city are cared for and inspired.”
The seller, 509 Fifth Avenue Associates, which includes Norman Sturner of Murray Hill Properties, purchased the property from Joseph Moinian in 2010 for $30 million, city records show.
Metzger reportedly entered into contract to purchase the property back in April, amid a $30 million lawsuit filed in the New York State Supreme Court by co-tenant Chai Foundation against investors David Werner, Amram Kass, and the building ownership, the New York Post reported.
The suit sought $30 million in damages, claiming that Metzger discussed confidential information with the investors while expressing his desire to purchase the building.
Sturner later countered with a $9 million suit of his own, alleging that the rabbi no longer had a lease, had not paid rent, and was in the process of being evicted when a Braintree, M.A. firm signed a contract to buy the building last year that never came to fruition, the Post reported.
Sturner had reportedly planned to sell off the individual floors of the building as commercial condominiums, but he expressed satisfaction upon news of the latest closing.
“Congratulations and best wishes to the new owners,” he said in an email message to Real Estate Weekly.
There are six other Chabad locations throughout Manhattan’s midtown area, including the “giant sukkah,” a temporary hut erected in celebration of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, which according to the organization draws thousands of visitors every fall to its Bryant Park location.
A spokeperson for Chabad-Lubavitch said that all lawsuits were dropped and resolved.