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Hines in Talks With Singapore Group to Finance Manhattan Tower

Associated Press
A rendering provided by developer Hines in 2009 shows the proposed tower. Asian investors and lenders are in talks with Hines to revive the stalled condo development.

A Singapore real estate family and a group of Asian banks are in advanced discussions with developer Hines to revive a stalled luxury condo development next to Manhattan’s Museum of Modern Art, according to people familiar with the negotiations.

The Kwee family is considering a $300 million equity investment in the metal and glass tower designed by Pritzker prize winner Jean Nouvel. Singapore’s United Overseas Bank and other lenders are in discussions to make up to $800 million in construction loans, these people said.

Spokespeople for Hines, the Kwee family and United Overseas Bank declined to comment.

An agreement with the Asian group would breathe new life into a highly anticipated project that was shelved when the downturn hit. In 2007, Hines unveiled plans for the building connected to the museum.

But the tapering tower had been largely stuck in limbo until talks began several months ago with the Asian investors. Known as Tower Verre, the building located next to the museum is slated to include additional museum gallery space at the base. Most of the rest would be luxury condos.

Hines acquired the lot next to the museum for $125 million in 2007 and agreed to a mixed-use building. Later that year, the Houston-based developer unveiled a 1,250- foot tall tower that was high enough to see eye-to-eye with the roof of the Empire State Building, and included the possibility of a five-star hotel.

The economic downturn slowed the project’s progress, and it suffered another setback in 2009 when the New York City Planning Commission instructed the developers to reduce the height by 200 feet. Mr. Nouvel offered a new, shorter design that won city approval, but the project remained stalled while Hines looked for financing in a difficult market for large construction projects.

Talks with the Kwee family and Asian banks began last year, say people with knowledge of the discussions. The family is one of the wealthiest in Singapore and one of the city-state’s largest landlords. It owns Pontiac Land, a privately held developer and hotel operator. Forbes recently put the Kwee family wealth at $4.6 billion.

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    • Nice. Thanks for sharing.

      Singapore Personal Trainer –

    • Fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. L’CHAIM!

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