BUDAPEST-Canada’s Tippin Corp. has acquired the 500,000-sf former Exchange Palace building in the banking district here for $22.5 million with plans to invest another $80 million renovating the property for retail, office hotel and residential uses. Toronto-based Tippin is a development firm that specializes in restoring and reusing historic buildings.

Designed by famous Hungarian architect Ingatz Alpar and completed in 1906, the Art Nouveau landmark building sits on 2.3 acres facing Freedom Square Park, near the Parliament and Danube River. MTV, the national television station of Hungary, currently occupies the entire building.

Tippin chief executive Michael Tippin says his firm has offered to lease the building to MTV until July 2007, which he said should allow MTV sufficient time to find new accommodation. Shortly thereafter, Tippin Corp. will begin reconstruction of the property, which he expects will be completed within about two years.

The seller was the State Privatization and Holding Rt. Newmark Knight Frank served as an advisor to Tippin Corp. in the government transaction. Newmark Knight Frank director Brian Rovell says the entire acquisition process took about a year to complete and required the combined efforts of Tippin and several advisors such as the law firms White & Case LLP and Hogan & Hartson LLP, and accounting firm KPMG.

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