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Richemont Buys Retail Condominium in St. Regis Hotel

The company reportedly paid around $375 million for the 24,800-square-foot prime retail property.

NEW YORK — Swiss luxury group Compagnie Financière Richemont has purchased a retail condominium at the St. Regis Hotel. The stores face Fifth Avenue, but the address is 2 East 55th Street.

This story first appeared in the October 18, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Richemont reportedly paid around $375 million for the 24,800-square-foot prime retail property. Executives of Richemont could not be reached, but brokers with knowledge of the deal said it’s been signed.

The condominium is occupied by three tenants — DeBeers, Bottega Veneta and Pucci. According to sources, some or all of the existing tenants have seven years left on their leases. Richemont could try to buy out the tenants’ leases or wait for them to expire before installing its brands.

Richemont, which owns Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Chloé and Montblanc, among other luxury brands, is said to be eager to bring its nameplates to the St. Regis.

Richemont bought the condominium from a partnership led by Crown Acquisitions, Feil Organization and Goldman Properties, all based in New York. Crown in 2009 acquired the property from Starwood Hotels for $117 million.

There’s been a trend in recent years of fashion houses and luxury firms buying retail condos so they can control space outright.

The deal is among the largest for a retail condominium on Fifth Avenue. Spain’s Inditex last year paid $324 million for 39,000 square feet of retail space at 666 Fifth Avenue, where the company opened a new Zara flagship.

“This is a validation of how strong brands are right now and how strong the street is,” said Lisa Rosenthal, a broker at Lansco.