Lev Leviev Buys New York Times Building

Israeli diamond magnate Lev Leviev continues to diversify his business interests, most recently buying prime Manhattan real estate. His latest acquisition is the historic New York Times Building, which was announced Monday.

Africa Israel USA, a unit of Africa Israel Investments of which Leviev is chairman, bought the landmark building for $525 million from real estate firm Tishman Speyer, according to published reports. Tishman Speyer purchased the building from the New York Times Co. in 2004 for $175 million.

Africa Israel USA is planning to invest $170 million to renovate the building, at 229 West 43rd Street, for office and retail tenants, The New York Times reports.

Prior to the purchase of Times building, Africa Israel, in partnership with Mann Realty Associates paid $430 million to purchase the Apthorp, an exclusive rental apartment building that it plans to convert into condominiums, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Africa Israel also was part of a partnership that paid $235 million to redevelop a complex that includes the former headquarters of J.P. Morgan, across from the New York Stock Exchange, into luxury condominiums, the Journal reports.

The 750,000-square-foot, 15-story Times Building opened in 1913 and has served as the headquarters for the publishing company for 94 years. The Times reports that it needs an extensive top-to-bottom refurbishing before it can be rented to corporate and retail tenants.

The New York Times Co. is in the process of moving into its new headquarters, a skyscraper at 620 Eighth Avenue between 40th and 41st Streets, opposite the Port Authority Bus Terminal, the Times reports.

In addition to New York real estate, Africa Israel has become a player in Miami, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Myrtle Beach, S.C., the Times reports.