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40 years later, Durst completes assemblage.

The Durst Organization, a Manhattan-based real estate development company announced that it has completed an assemblage, originally begun in 1952, of the property under 200 East 42nd Street.

Forty years ago, the Durst Organization began assembling the block fronts between 41st and 42nd streets on the East side of Third Avenue.

The first obstacle was Horn & Hardart, the automat company, which owned and occupied the building on the corner of 42nd Street. In order to move the assemblage forward, the Durst Organization had to agree to buy the building and temporarily relocate Horn & Hardart until they could re-establish them in the building to be built on the site.

Despite lengthy negotiations with tenants on the block, the Durst could not acquire the fee, and had to settle on long-term leases on two of the pieces of land. The hold-out parcels included 643-645 3rd Avenue and 639 3rd Avenue.

At the time of this assemblage, the Durst organization did not engage in the construction. However, after completing the land for development, the Dursts found that they would be faced with extremely difficult negotiations for the ground rent.

The Dursts examined the market rent for ground leases and determined that they would be better off to construct a building themselves and rent the office space. This was how the Durst Organization first entered into the construction end of the real estate business. Their first building, completed on 200 East 42nd Street in 1958, was originally called the Lorillard Building, and is now called the TAMS Building. It is known by it's Third Avenue address, 655 Third Avenue.

Since the building was completed, the Dursts have been trying to complete the assemblage under it. However, the original owner of these parcels died, and the estates were divided among many heirs.

Two years ago, the Dursts commissioned Angela Bernet, of Smith Bernet Incorporated, to complete the assemblage. This required settling complex logistical problems created by the splintered estate. However, once all the children and grandchildren of the original owners were brought together, the deal was concluded.

Currently, the Durst Organization is performing a variety of improvements on 200 East 42nd Street and 205 East 42nd Street. The entire exterior of 200 East 42nd Street was cleaned so that the aluminum is now gleaming again, and the facade of 205 East 42nd Street has been cleaned. The brick facade of 205 East 42nd Street was also restored to its original condition.

Five separate storefronts in 205 East 42nd have been visually tied together by an extended awning. A Gap store recently opened in the retail space of 200 East 42nd Street, replacing the last remaining. Horn & Hardart Automat Store. Conways has opened a store in 201 East 42nd Street, and Staples is preparing to open a store in 205 East 42nd Street.
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Title Annotation:Durst Organization completes real estate development project in New York, New York
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Oct 28, 1992
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