Mortgage Observer

Barclays Lends $73M on 15 West 55th Street

15 West 55th Street.

Barclays provided a $73 million senior loan to New York-based Assa Properties to refinance existing debt and fund upgrades on a nine-story apartment building at 15 West 55th Street, according to a source with knowledge of the deal. The loan closed in mid-January.

Assa acquired the 56,000-square-foot Midtown Manhattan property, known as The Branson at Fifth, for $36 million, along with an adjacent rental property at 19 West 55th Street for $24 million, in November 2013. The former owner of the two buildings is listed in city records as the New York-based real estate investment firm Ark Partners. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Citigroup and Others to Lend $1.45B to SL Green, as REIT Raises Cash for New Deals

388 Greenwich Street

The financial musical chairs at Citigroup’s Tribeca offices continue. The multinational financial services firm signed a contract in December to occupy and possibly buy two buildings, 388 and 390 Greenwich Street, which it already occupies. Now, the bank is also lending a whopping $1.45 billion to the current landlord, SL Green Realty, according to a report from Bloomberg News today.

That loan–which reportedly includes bundled funds from Barclays Plc, Wells Fargo and Bank of China—will be packaged into bonds set to hit the market next month. Read More

Lease Beat

Novus Partners Signs 200 Park Avenue Sublease

Met Life Building. (Credit: Tishman Speyer)

Novus Partners has signed a sublease from British bank Barclays at the MetLife Building at 200 Park Avenue, Commercial Observer has learned.

The financial data analytics business signed a short-term deal for an 18,375-square-foot portion of the 27th floor. The company will relocate from 130 East 59th Street on a deal through May 2017.  Read More


Solow Sues Banks over Manipulation of Libor


7 West 57th Street Realty Co., a real estate company controlled by Sheldon Solow, filed a lawsuit in federal court yesterday against Citibank, Bank of America, Barclays, JPMorgan and a number of other banks for allegedly conspiring to manipulate the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor).

The complaint alleges the defendant banks’ conspiracy to manipulate Libor resulted in the seizure of Mr. Solow’s $450 million bond portfolio by Citibank. The portfolio was pledged as collateral for Libor denominated loans, the complaint says, and was comprised largely of high-grade municipal bonds. Subsequently, Solow was obligated to pay a $100 million judgment. Read More

Power Broker

Brooklyn Buzz: From Spike Lee to Etsy, C&W’s Glenn Markman Has BK Down

Glenn Markman.

Glenn Markman first began to pay attention to Brooklyn long before there was a Barclays Center to crystallize the borough’s rise.

Like so many success stories in real estate, buying in early was key.

Having done deals in Brooklyn for 20 years, Mr. Markman by now is known as an expert in office leasing in the borough, though he is also prolific in Manhattan. From his résumé, there’s no mistaking his prominence as a Brooklyn dealmaker.

In 2008, he represented Spike Lee in finding a Dumbo office for the film director’s advertising company, Spike DDB.

Earlier this year, when the Brooklyn Nets decided to relocate the team’s executive offices from New Jersey to be closer to the new Barclays arena, Mr. Markman, who is a leasing executive at Cushman & Wakefield, led a C&W team that brought the Nets into 35,000 square feet at 15 MetroTech Center in Downtown Brooklyn. Read More

Mortgage Beat

MRC: Banks’ Increasing Willingness to Do Write-Downs Fuels Biz

Joshua Zegen.

Since February Madison Realty Capital has completed over $25 million of financing and note purchases, fueled in part by many banks’ increasing ability to take write-downs on existing debt. The transactions are spread over five note purchases and financing for properties located in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan according to the firm.

“Those $25 million of deals are a combination of new loans that we’ve made, bridge loans, and also we’ve bought a number of debt positions,” MRC co-founder and managing member Joshua Zegen told The Mortgage Observer. Read More

Lease of the Week

Risk Analyst Eurasia Group Calculates the Odds at 149 Fifth Avenue

149 Fifth Avenue. (Courtesy Property Shark)

When in 2006 the real estate investor Joseph Moinian bought the office building 475 Fifth Avenue in partnership with the firm Westbrook Partners, the Eurasia Group—a tenant in the building—saw it as an opportunity. The company had years left on its lease, but word quickly spread among tenants that Mr. Moinian was going to offer handsome buyouts to empty the building so he could gut renovate the skyscraper and re-lease it at sky-high rents.

Mr. Moinian’s strategy hardly seemed audacious at the time. The economy was hot, Manhattan rents were rising by the month and prime office space was in strong demand. Read More