Can Cosmetic Surgery Save Madoff-Tainted Tower?
Laura Kusisto Jan. 24, 2011, 11:33 a.m.
The Lipstick Building’s problems are hardly cosmetic. The building pushes toward the sky in perfect oval layers, but beneath the smooth facade, the building has been smeared by bankruptcy and its association with the Madoff scandal.
Now it has new owners, who are hopeful that a $15 million touch-up will be enough to rehabilitate the troubled tower. Argentina’s largest landlord and the brothers who founded retailer Guess teamed up to buy the building last year, according to The Journal. The deal was valued at about $395 million, or about $620 a square foot.
Haim Revah paid $648.5 million for the building in 2007. By 2010, Mr. Revah’s real-estate group, Metropolitan Real Estate Investors, had defaulted on its mortgage from Royal Bank of Canada.
The new owners, Daniel Elsztain and Paul and Maurice Marciano told the bank they would be interested in putting in fresh capital, ending last month in a restructuring, and the agreement to do the reno.
Of course, the new owners realize that no amount of plaster and gloss can cover the building’s association with one particular tenant. But if you can’t shake it, embrace it. Said Mr. Elsztain, a third-generation member of his family’s real estate dynasty: “When he was big, Madoff had his choice of all the buildings in the city, and he chose this building.”