Firm News

Kleinberg Kaplan Represents Children’s Museum of Manhattan in connection with $45 million Purchase of 361 Central Park West

Firm News | January 29, 2018

NEW YORK, NY; JANUARY 29, 2018 – Law firm Kleinberg Kaplan represented the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (“CMOM”) in connection with its recently closed acquisition of 361 Central Park West from 361 Central Park West LLC.

The popular museum, one of New York’s top destinations for families, plans to move its primary operations to the new location on the corner of Central Park West and 96th Street from its current leased space at 212 West 83rd Street on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. As a result, CMOM will double its usable space and create a permanent home for years to come. The museum’s future home is a landmarked structure and former church designed by the Beaux-Arts architects Carrère & Hastings and was initially opened to the public in 1903. CMOM plans to preserve key elements of the interior while redesigning the space to maximize its usefulness. The museum plans to open at the new location in 2021.

The scope of work performed by the Kleinberg Kaplan team on behalf of the museum in connection with the purchase was extensive, and included, among other things, negotiation of the purchase contract and closing of the acquisition; negotiation of loan documents with an institutional lender and subordinated debt documents with a donor; advising on tenant, tax, construction and environmental-related matters; and coordinating zoning and land use matters with special counsel. “Kleinberg Kaplan has supported the work of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan for years. Their counsel was essential to the Children’s Museum’s successful acquisition of 361 Central Park West. It was a complex transaction and we were grateful for their expert guidance,” said Andrew S. Ackerman, executive director, Children’s Museum of Manhattan.

Apart from the firm’s engagement for the acquisition, Kleinberg Kaplan has represented the museum as outside pro bono general counsel for decades, and has assisted the museum on an array of legal matters including employment issues, dispute resolution matters, license agreements, sponsorship agreements, contracts for exhibition work and design, construction and travel agreements, insurance matters, not-for-profit entity compliance work and trademark and intellectual property matters.

For the past several years, Andy Chonoles, the firm’s managing partner, was a member of CMOM’s Real Estate Committee, which provided guidance with respect to the museum’s search for a new home.

Kleinberg Kaplan’s support of CMOM also extends beyond its legal representation. Believing strongly in the museum’s mission to provide a cultural and educational center for children and families, Kleinberg Kaplan attorneys have been long-time supporters. Kleinberg Kaplan’s founding partner, Myron Kaplan, recalls bringing his own young children to enjoy exhibits and programs on many a weekend, which precipitated his service on the board of directors of the museum, something he has now done for well over 3 decades. He is now proud to bring his grandchildren to the museum. In 2017, Andy Chonoles, an avid cyclist, rode a double century (200 miles) race to support fundraising for the museum.

Kleinberg Kaplan lawyers working on the acquisition for CMOM are many, and include firm managing partner Andrew Chonoles (real estate), and partners Ross Yustein and Christopher Terry(both real estate), as well as associate Michael Scharpf (real estate). Other attorneys provided support in the areas of tax, bankruptcy, litigation and charitable law.

Kleinberg Kaplan’s Real Estate Practice is national in scope. The firm represents real estate funds, national and local developers, owners, lenders, joint ventures and tenants in capital raising, development, acquisition, financing, joint ventures and leasing of large-scale commercial, office, retail, industrial and mixed-use projects. The Real Estate group works closely with the firm’s Nonprofit & Tax Exempt Organizations Practice and advises a variety of foundations and institutions on real estate legal matters.