Sales  ·  Commercial

Developer Hiwin Buys Dance Club Iguana’s Midtown Home to Replace With Residential

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It’s the end of the road for the giant iguana that’s been parked on the side of 240 West 54th Street for two decades.

A developer based in Flushing, Queens, snapped up the longtime home of Iguana New York and plans to replace the defunct restaurant and Latin dance club with a residential development, Commercial Observer has learned.

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Hiwin Group USA bought the five-story building between Broadway and Eighth Avenue from Minerva 54 Realty for $21 million, according to property records made public Tuesday.

Iguana took over the bottom three floors of the building about 20 years ago from the Lone Star Boat Club, a bygone social club that had little to do with boats, but Iguana closed sometime this year.

The boat club long ago outfitted the upper floor of its headquarters with an indoor pool plus racquetball and basketball courts, but it’s been decades since those facilities were used. When Ariel Property Advisors listed the property for sale, prospective buyers were less keen on reviving them than on taking advantage of the lot’s 47,000 square feet of unused residential development rights, according to Ariel’s Christoffer Brodhead, who brokered the deal along with Howard Raber and Nikola Cosic.

“It’s right smack in the middle of Midtown, so it would make a great hotel site,” Brodhead said. “But the uncertainty and contingencies with getting a special permit for a hotel this small meant it didn’t pencil out. Residential seemed to be the best bet.”

The exact plans for Hiwin’s residential property aren’t clear, but the developer also recently acquired another Manhattan development site at 112 Liberty Street earlier this year, as CO previously reported.

A spokesperson for Hiwin declined to comment. The owners of Iguana and a representative for Minerva did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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