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Africa-Israel Investments Ltd. Planning Conversion of Old New York Times Building,
Additional $170 million Investment to Include High End Hotel

By Oriel Herman, Globes, Tel Aviv, IsraelMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Dec. 23, 2009--"The New York Times" reports that Africa-Israel Investments Ltd. (TASE:AFIL; Pink Sheets: AFIVY) chairman Lev Leviev plans to invest an additional $170 million in the old New York Times Building at Times Square in Manhattan.

Instead of the original plans to convert the 15-story building into a first-class office building, he now plans for the building to have luxury shops, exhibition space, a stylish bowling alley, and seven restaurants on the lower floors.

Plans for the upper floors are now for a high-end hotel with up to 379 rooms, and 26 penthouse condominiums on the highest floors.

Leviev bought the building in 2007 for $525 million, but the economic crisis meant that Leviev could not find tenants, and Africa-Israel meanwhile fell into severe financial difficulties over its billions of dollars in debt.

Yesterday, Africa-Israel reached a deal to restructure the debt on the building. Overall debt was cut by 60 percent, and the company holding in the building was reduced to 50 percent.

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Copyright (c) 2009, Globes, Tel Aviv, Israel

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