Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., the investment bank liquidating in bankruptcy, asked for court permission to invest $255 million in a 21-story building at 237 Park Avenue in New York.

Broadway Partners, which owns the building, is selling part of the debt in it, Lehman said in a court filing Tuesday.

The investment bank believed Broadway Partners was going to default on part of the $1.23 billion it lent the company to buy the building in 2007 and began discussions on a possible restructuring in August 2009.

The investment "has significant upside for LBHI and represents the best means of protecting LBHI's current investment in 237 Park of approximately $437 million, which could be potentially wiped out if a party other than LBHI" buys the debt, Lehman's lawyers said in the filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

The acquisition "at an attractive per square foot basis could yield significant recoveries to the estate," Lehman's lawyers said in the court filing.

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