Solow pays $128M for Billionaires’ Row site he once fought with Barnett over

Developer could build tower with 213K sf in residential space on assemblage

May 25, 2016 04:50PM
By Konrad Putzier

16 West 57th Street in Midtown (inset: Sheldon Solow)

16 West 57th Street in Midtown (inset: Sheldon Solow)

Back in 2011, Sheldon Solow lost a bidding war over 16 West 57th Street to Gary Barnett’s Extell Development, blocking his plans to build a luxury tower on the site and three adjacent parcels. Five years and one lawsuit later, Solow finally has his prized property.

The famously litigious developer bought the five-story, 24,000-square-foot office and retail building from Brazilian real estate firm JHSF for $128 million, according to property records filed with the city Wednesday.

Solow’s namesake company already owned the two parcels to the building’s left and right – 10 and 20 West 57th Street – and a site to its immediate south, 19 West 56th Street. He now controls an assemblage with enough air rights to build a tower with 213,000 square feet of residential space, according to Reonomy. Solow also owns the 1.38 million-square-foot office building 9 West 57th Street across the street.

Extell bought 16 West 57th Street for $80 million in 2011, a move some saw as designed to block Solow from building a luxury condo tower that could rival Extell’s One57. In a 2013 lawsuit, Extell accused Solow of obstructing its plans to build a tower on the lot by denying its workers entry to neighboring 10 and 20 West 57th Street and 19 West 56th Street.

Extell sold the building to Brazilian development firm JHSF in September 2014 for $95 million. JHSF announced plans to build a Raphael-Vinoly designed luxury hotelon the site, but the plans apparently never got off the ground. Instead the firm got tangled up in a lawsuit from brokerage Endeavour Global Group Realty, which in June 2015 claimed it was owed $5.7 million in commission fees over the buy.

Solow could not be reached for comment.