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French Billionaire Buys Manhattan Office, Retail Building from Thor Equities for $525M

NEW YORK CITY — French billionaire Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière has purchased a 100,000-square-foot office and retail building in Manhattan for $525 million. The building is located at 693 Fifth Ave. in Midtown’s Plaza District.

The 20-story property’s retail component houses the flagship store of international luxury brand Valentino. It includes four full levels of retail space with 50 feet of Fifth Avenue frontage. Notable office tenants include Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Louis Licari and Phillips Auctioneers.

Thor Equities acquired the building in 2010 from Japanese department store Takashimaya for $142 million. Thor then restructured the interior to create a multi-level retail space, which Valentino occupied in 2013.

The renovation included a modern floor-to-ceiling window façade from the ground level through the eighth floor. Thor also worked with designer David Chipperfield to create a new building lobby.

Thor Equities owns a number of other properties on Fifth Avenue including 685 Fifth Ave., the future home of the new Coach global flagship store.

“We continue to believe strongly in the retail and office market on Fifth Avenue and throughout New York City,” says Joe Sitt, Thor’s CEO. “However, after successfully implementing our business plan of improving this prime retail and office location and securing an internationally recognized tenant, we felt the time was right [to sell].”

Ladreit de Lacharrière is chair and CEO of Fimalac, a French holding company that specializes in credit ratings, private equity and commercial real estate. Fimalac also has minority stakes in Fitch Ratings and Warburg Pincus.

— Nellie Day

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