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Toy Center up for sale: Flatiron gem a candidate for conversion.

The International Toy Center is going on the market, the building's owners announced this week. After a recent change in building management and an intensive leasing campaign that lasted for about a year, Wein & Malkin Properties wants to capitalize on its 54-year investment.

According to Anthony E. Malkin, president of W&M Supervisory Services, the International Toy Center, which consists of 200 Fifth Ave. and 1107 Broadway, would be a good fit for a residential or a hotel conversion, in addition to remaining a popular showroom and office destination for toy manufacturers.

"The property will be on the market shortly and this is the first time it will be sold in 50 years," Malkin said. "The building management was recently transitioned from Helmsley Spear to Cushman & Wakefield and they did an excellent job of improving the management, improving the marketing, fixing all sorts of issues. The building has a remarkable position next to Madison Square Park and it would be a remarkable opportunity for a conversion to residential/condominiums or a boutique hotel. This is a superior property for all uses."

CB Richard Ellis' Darcy Stacom and Bill Shanahan have already been tapped for the assignment. Malkin indicated, however, that if the International Toy Center won't achieve the kind of sales price the company is looking for, W&M Properties might take it off the market.

"We may well take the money [from the sale] and invest in a new property or we might pay the lower capital gain taxes and keep the money for other opportunities. However, if we are not satisfied, we won't sell," he said.

"The market is going to define how much the property will cost, but you can look at 225 Fifth Ave. [which sold for $300 per s/f] as an example of what recent sales have been. And although 225 Fifth Ave. is a lovely building, it's not as unique as these two properties, which have remarkable light, spectacular views and, really, a better location."

According to Woody Heller, a sales broker with Studley, there is a good chance the group that bought 225 Fifth Ave. earlier this year will buy 200 Fifth Ave.

"I think it will be interesting to see whether this property is bought for office use or for a residential conversion," he noted. "If it's a conversion, the value would be comparable to 225 Fifth Ave., which was bought and converted earlier this year."

But Stacom and Shanahan maintain that they will market the building to a large variety of users.

"This asset has evolved over time and it always moved to meet the market," Stacom said. "Today, it has many additional opportunities, so it will certainly be considered for alternative uses. In this market, there are so, so many potential buyers and such a diversity of interests--pension funds, REITs, offshore investors. We'll be covering the gamut."

200 Fifth Ave. and 1107 Broadway, which together contain a total of 1.2 million s/f, are located directly across from the Flatiron Building and Madison Square Park.

The buildings, connected by a sky bridge on the ninth floor, have served as the home to toy companies since the late 1940's.

In the past few years, however, more and more non-industry tenants have signed leases at the International Toy Center, including Cipriani U.S.A. and Fidelity Investments.
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Title Annotation:International Toy Center
Author:Misonzhnik, Elaine
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 3, 2004
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