By: Serach Nissim
The owners of the premier office tower at 9 West 57th Street are speaking out to refute a bombshell report which claimed a deal to sell the skyscraper was imminent. “There are no plans to sell the building,” Hayden Soloviev, a son of and a spokesman for Soloviev Group chairman Stefan Soloviev told Realty Check. “The news must’ve been mixed up with the residential sales,” Hayden Soloviev added. The Soloviev Group has been selling off some of its luxury rental apartment buildings, but there are no deals in the works regarding the iconic office tower.
In October, an article in the Real Deal had said that the 50-floor Solow Building, as it is known, was in the process of being sold. Stefan was “finalizing an agreement” to sell 9 West, the article had claimed. It cited a source as saying that high-profile real estate investor Michael Shvo was part of the purchasing group.
Hayden debunked the rumor, saying “No, there never was a deal. People call us all the time asking us if we want to sell various properties, both in New York and out west. Somebody’s probably trying to make a name for themself.”
As reported by the NY Post, such a deal would have been a significant breakthrough in the current market, in which investment-sale real estate has been lagging. The Midtown Manhattan tower was last appraised in 2016, valuing it at $3.4 billion. The building enjoys epic renown in the city, being called simply “Nine West.”
The office tower is famed for its colossal presence on the prime block between Fifth and Sixth avenues, boasting unparalleled Central Park views, as well as top-tier tenants. It was opened in 1972, with construction being completed by the late developer Sheldon Solow, Stefan’s father who passed away in 2020. The building, designed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore,Owings and Merrill (SOM),contains roughly 1.5 million square feet of rentable space, and rises to 689 feet.
The building features a notable sloped design, in which it gets narrower starting on the 18thfloor, and the western and eastern facades are clad in travertine limestone. Some of the building’s current well-heeled tenants include Apollo Global Management, D1 Capital Partners, Chanel, and recently, Loews Corp., which signed a lease in October to take on 65,000 square feet of space. Commercial rent at the tower goes for about $200 per square foot.
The first floor of the building contains a private art collection, and Hayden Soloviev told the Post that plans are on track to open the tower’s controversial, tax-exempt art gallery to the public in 2023. This was first reported by Reality Check in January, following two decades in which the gallery never allowed visitors. “As we’ve stated previously, my father plans to open the gallery in the second half of 2023, when the remodeling of 9 West 57th Street finishes. The gallery will be at 9 West 57th Street,” Hayden said.
The gallery displays masterpieces by Giacometti, Matisse, and Francis Bacon –all of which have only been visible through the wall of windows from the street. The gallery’s off-limits status since the early 1990s had garnered plenty of criticism from lawmakers and art enthusiasts. Critics have argued that since the family art foundation receives tax-exempt status, it should be open to the public.