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NEW YORK CITY-Another Manhattan landmark is going to foreign investors. An investment group led by Tao-Maofim LLC, a US joint venture of Tao Tsout Ltd. and Financial Levers, has bought the Lipstick Building, at 885 Third Ave., for $648.5 million from Tishman Speyer Properties according to various published reports.

Although sources involved have not yet confirmed the deal, Tao executives reportedly said in a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange that it had formed a joint venture with Menofim to buy the 34-story, 586,589-sf building. The two Israeli investment companies would own 70% of the building, and investors including the Marciano Investment Group and Metropolitan Real Estate Investments would own the rest, the statement is said to have revealed.

The Lipstick Building, on East 53rd St., was designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee in 1986. Tenants include Latham & Watkins, Bernard L. Madoff, Morgan Stanley, Poten & Partners, Robinson & Cole, Smith Management Co. and Unisys. Retail tenants include Vong restaurant and Newsstand. Tishman Speyer is the managing agent of the property.

Tishman Speyer would not respond by deadline to calls confirming the sale. The company bought the property in January 2004 for roughly $400 per foot or $247.5 million, as reported by GlobeSt.com.

The two Israeli companies said they would pay $44.8 million in cash for their share of the building and finance the rest with short- and long-term bank loans.

Tishman Speyer sold the New York Times building at 229 W. 43rd St. to another foreign investor. The buyer, Africa Israel Investments Ltd., an international investment firm led by Lev Leviev purchased the property for $525 million as GlobeSt.com recently reported.

The Tao-Menofim joint venture, including Metropolitan and Marciano, also agreed with another entity to buy 292 Madison Ave. for $164.5 million by July 23, the statement reportedly revealed. GlobeSt.com reported the sale of the 26-story, 193,000-sf building on East 41st Street, in April, but a spokesperson for seller SL Green, contacted this morning, would not reveal a closing date or the identity of the buyer.

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