The great battle of Columbus Circle ended Friday evening, not with a bang but with the rustle of settlement papers and money being made.Joseph Moinian, a real estate developer with a number of troubled properties, gets to keep the 26-story 1920s office building that he is renovating at the circle’s southeast edge.
Stephen M. Ross, who built the massive, two-tower Time Warner Center at the northwest edge of Columbus Circle and tried to foreclose on the Moinian tower — which he described as a monstrosity — walked away, his supporters said, with a $28 million profit, after five months of skirmishing.
But Mr. Ross did not get what he really wanted — to demolish Mr. Moinian’s building, at 1775 Broadway, to erect a sleek skyscraper there. Mr. Ross envisioned condominiums with breathtaking views of Central Park, atop New York City’s first Nordstrom department store at the base.Instead, Mr. Moinian paid off the $250 million mortgage, with the help of his new partner, SL Green Realty, and gave an additional $28.4 million to Mr. Ross and his partner, Deutsche Bank.
Although Mr. Moinian, in an interview this month, described Mr. Ross’s proposed tower as a “failure, in the making,” he appeared to be incorporating some of Mr. Ross’s ideas. Mr. Moinian says he has spent $100 million refurbishing the building, also known as 3 Columbus Circle, and encasing it in glass. Real estate executives working with him say he will now try to find a retail tenant, perhaps Nordstrom.