Hilfiger Preps for Hotel in Clocktower, Plops Hamptons Cottage in Meatpacking
Matt Chaban May 6, 2011, noon
The preppy lifestyle may look like a relaxing one, but Tommy Hilfiger has been a busy, busy man. Last year, he sold his eponymous company, where he is still the lead designer, for $3 billion. Since then, he has been casting about Manhattan for somewhere to build his very own hotel, according to The Journal. He first considered the old Times building, then the Hotel Chelsea, before unexpectedly swooping in and buying up the old MetLife clock tower overlooking Madison Square Park.
Mr. Hilfiger and another investor are said to be pay-
ing $170 million for the 700-foot-tall landmark property, the biggest in the world from 1909 until the Woolworth Building opened in 1913. Africa Israel is getting out of one of its many highly leveraged properties–the Times Building is another, where 11 floors just went to Blackstone.
Africa Israel wound up selling 5 Madison Avenue for $30 million less than the developer bought it for in 2007, when it had plans to spend an additional $110 million on a condo conversion. SL Green paid $150 million in 2005, with similar condo plans backed by Ian Schrager and Aby Rosen.
If a preppy hotel were not crazy enough, how about a preppy cottage plopped down in the middle of the Meatpacking District? Mr. Hilfiger’s company has just constructed a mock-Hamptons home on the plaza across from the Gansevoort.
“We thought, rather than open a regular pop-up shop, we decided to build a beach cottage and really fill it with anything and everything you need for a great summer in the world of prep,” Mr. Hilfiger told The Times. Curbed explained it even better: “We could make a comment about how much the historic Meat Market has changed, but really, this type of stuff is just expected now, right?”