(Bloomberg News) Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim bought a townhouse in midtown Manhattan that will be used for office space, extending his purchases of real estate in the city as property values increase.

A limited liability company set up by Slim paid $15.5 million in cash for the property, according to a person with knowledge of the transaction. The deal for the 16,000-square- foot (1,400-square-meter) building was completed on May 19, less than a week after an offer was made, said the person, who asked not to be named because the details are private.

"New York is a great city," said Arturo Elias, a spokesman for Slim who confirmed the purchase. "We always think there's great value in real estate there."

The price per square foot for Manhattan office buildings jumped 89 percent in March from a year earlier, to $477.90, according to Real Capital Analytics Inc. a New York-based property research firm. Values of retail properties increased 17 percent to $1,548 a square foot. Slim has made purchases in the city last year including an office tower and the Duke Semans mansion, both on Fifth Avenue.

The townhouse, at 10 West 56th St., is a commercial property investment and will be used for offices, Elias said. Slim won't use the space for his own companies, he said.

The seller was Felissimo Corp., a Japanese designer and seller of household goods, cosmetics and accessories, according to the company's broker, Faith Hope Consolo of Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate in New York. Felissimo, which owned the building for more than 20 years, was negotiating a lease agreement with a luxury retailer and instead received a purchase offer, said Consolo.

'Couldn't Refuse'

"They made us an offer we couldn't refuse," Consolo, the chairman of retail leasing, marketing and sales at the brokerage, said in a telephone interview.

Felissimo asked $18 million for the property, Consolo said.

The deal was reported earlier today by the New York Post.