Harry Macklowe Said to Buy Park Avenue Apartment Building for $250 Million

Developer Harry Macklowe, whose company lost control of seven New York skyscrapers in the credit crisis, agreed to buy an Upper East Side rental building for about $250 million, two people with knowledge of the deal said.

Macklowe is under contract to purchase 737 Park Ave, a 103- unit apartment property near 71st Street, said the people, who asked not to be named because the transaction isn’t public. The building has been owned by the same family for 65 years.

“This is one of the nicest unconverted apartment buildings on Park Avenue,” said Howard Michaels, chairman of the Carlton Group, a New York-based real estate investment bank that advised Macklowe. “It’s a beautiful property and Harry Macklowe is one of the top residential specialists in Manhattan.”

The property, built in 1940, was family-owned by the Katz 737 Corporation, according to a Feb. 23 statement by brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. (JLL) announcing the building was up for sale.

Jones Lang brokers including Jon Caplan, Scott Latham, Richard Baxter and Yoron Cohen represented the sellers, according to the statement. Caplan declined to comment on behalf of the team. A woman who answered the phone at Macklowe’s office said the company wouldn’t comment.

The transaction was reported earlier today by Crain’s New York Business.

Macklowe, 73, was forced to relinquish control of seven Manhattan office towers in 2008 after he was unable to refinance $7 billion of short-term debt used to buy the properties. The credit crisis forced his company, Macklowe Properties Inc., to sell its crown jewel: New York’s General Motors Building at the southeast corner of Central Park.

The company sold the three apartment buildings in its portfolio last year to Chicago-based Equity Residential (EQR), the real estate investment trust founded by billionaire Sam Zell.

Macklowe Properties filed an application with the New York City Department of Buildings in March to start construction of a building at a Park Avenue site that was formerly home to the Drake Hotel. Macklowe controls the site with Los Angeles-based CIM Group.

To contact the reporter on this story: Oshrat Carmiel in New York at ocarmiel1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at kwetzel@bloomberg.net

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