It's Take Two for Lev Leviev

Israeli diamond/real estate mogul Lev Leviev purchased the former headquarters of the New York Times at the worst possible time: In 2007, he paid $550 million for the West 43rd Street landmark, or about three times what the seller had paid two years earlier. The Uzbekistan-born billionaire (and part-time mohel) had been planning to turn it into a "first-class" office building. But then the recession came along and Leviev's empire started to unravel. And so now he has new investors and a new plan for the massive space.

Leviev reports that he now plans to turn it into luxury shopping mall, which will feature shops, an exhibition space, "stylish bowling alley," nightclub, seven restaurants, and high-end hotel with 379 rooms, along with "26 penthouse condominiums on top." Well, that sounds a lot more recession friendly, doesn't it?

If nothing else—and if it ends up getting built, of course—at least Leviev can rest assured that visiting Russians are going to love his grand vision of a really chintzy Time Warner Center:

The company hopes to open a 50-lane bowling alley in October that will feature an 18-foot bowling pin at the entrance and seven distinct sections, each with a different New York-related theme, including Chinatown and Central Park. Each section will have its own décor, restaurant and costumed waiters and waitresses.

Former Times Building to Be a Hotel and Condos [NYT]
Africa Israel to Cut Debt on NYT Building [WSJ]