Sales  ·  office

Manga Publisher Kodansha Buys Flatiron District Townhouse for $27M

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A new chapter begins for the Flatiron District’s historic Arthur Lamport House.

The English-language subsidiary of Japanese manga and book publisher Kodansha bought 25 East 22nd Street for $27 million from Hannah Charitable, a company associated with three nonprofits headed by Audrey Cappell,  the daughter of financier and philanthropist James Simons, according to property records.

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Hannah Charitable put the six-story townhouse on the market nine months ago for $29 million after nonprofits Felicity House, Foundation for a Just Society and the AC & JC Foundation outgrew the space and signed up for bigger digs at 23 West 20th Street, as Commercial Observer previously reported

The East 22nd Street townhouse between Broadway and Park Avenue South has a long history since its namesake Arthur Lamport — a Jewish philanthropist — died in 1940.

Nike bought the property in 1984 and owned it for the following decade. It later became the home Nautica founder David Chu, a designer who significantly redeveloped the property and sold it to Hannah Charitable in 2014 for $26.9 million, according to property records.

“The new sale price was about the same. All things considered, that’s good,” said Cushman & Wakefield (CWK)’s Craig Waggner, who arranged the deal for Hannah Charitable together with colleagues John Ciraulo, Jack Stephen, Mark Mandell and Carri Lyon. “The building has a cool history.”

Waggner said the nine months it took for the property to change hands is the new normal for New York since brokers now are “trying to find the perfect user to buy a property.”

And Kondasha — which publishes titles including “Ghost in the Shell” and “Akira” — joins a growing number of occupiers picking up buildings in the city. Last year, Korean media company MediaWill picked up 110 West 32nd Street for $37 million, and automaker Hyundai Motor Company dropped $274 million for 15 Laight Street in Tribeca.

Luxury retailers have been on a tear recently with Prada spending $822.3 million on 720 and 724 Fifth Avenue and Gucci owner Kering buying the retail condo at 715-717 Fifth Avenue for $963 million.

Douglas Elliman’s Simon Anderson, who represented Kodansha, said the publisher was drawn to the property’s history and proximity to the traditional industrial center of book publishing. The company — which has offices at 451 Park Avenue South plans to use its new home to “expand ​​its presence in New York City and beyond,” he said. 

“From the brokerage perspective, a historic property like this really speaks to a limited buyer pool,” Anderson said. “I believe it is only the end user here, and that required effort on both sides of the transaction.”

A spokesperson for Kodansha did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The sale was first reported by PincusCo.

Abigail Nehring can be reached at anehring@commercialobserver.com.