MetLife ClockTower A Possible Hotel Conversion at Madison Avenue and East 24th Street.
Tommy Hilfiger, the designer known for his blue blazers and varsity sweaters, has signed a contract to buy the landmark Metropolitan Life clock tower for $170 million and plans to convert the building into a hotel, according to an executive briefed on the deal.Enlarge This ImageMichael Appleton for The New York TimesThe Metropolitan Life tower was once the world's tallest.
Mr. Hilfiger, who sold his apparel company 14 months ago to Phillips-Van Heusen for $3 billion, had been scouring the city for a suitable building for almost a year. He had looked at the former headquarters of The New York Times on West 43rd Street before moving south to the clock tower, which overlooks Madison Square Park.
In recent years, a string of developers have sought to convert the MetLife tower, at Madison Avenue and East 24th Street, which was modeled after St. Mark’s Campanile in Venice, to condominiums. Mr. Hilfiger has another idea: a hotel.
Mr. Hilfiger would not be the first clothier to turn to hotels.has his name on, and is said to be designing, a chain of luxury hotels, starting with the Armani Hotel Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.
The former MetLife clocktower at 5 Madison Avenue, the grand old gal standing guard over Madison Square Park, has been sold by troubled developer Lev Leviev for $170 million.
To Tommy Hilfiger. Who may turn the building into a hotel. That's what the Wall Street Journal thinks, and folks, we are reeling. The Madison Avenue jewel was purchased by Leviev's Africa-Israel for $200 million 2007, back when the diamond billionaire was buying up New York City landmarks sight unseen. Previous plans had called for turning the clocktower into an Ian Schrager hotel, but Leviev decided on 55 ultra-luxury condos. Designed by Versace. Priced at $3,500 a foot. For Russians and "top celebrities" only. Those were the days, eh?