Blackstone and Wells Fargo Buy GE Real Estate Assets for $23B

General Electric sign.

Blackstone Group and Wells Fargo have closed on their joint purchase of General Electric‘s real estate debt and equity assets in a deal valued at roughly $23 billion, the two companies announced today. The transaction comes as GE looks to shed its banking operations over the next two years and return to its industrial core business.

The deal also marks the biggest real estate transaction since the beginning of the financial crisis and one of the largest deals ever for Blackstone, which plans to acquire more than half of the assets. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Houston Office Loan Goes to Servicer Watchlist as Vacancies Mount

Park Towers in Houston.

A $96.7 million CMBS loan on a four-office portfolio in Houston was added to Midland Loan Services’ watchlist this month as tenant vacancies at the properties continue to stack up, according to a report issued today by the financial research firm Trepp.

Three tenants occupying more than a third of the portfolio, which includes the 18-story office buildings Park Towers South and Park Towers North, have relocated or will vacate the properties before November, servicer notes obtained by Trepp show. Read More

Mergers and Acquisitions

Contentious Comcast/Time Warner Deal Could Save $12.2M in Real Estate ‘Synergies’ [Updated]

The Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle

Comcast expects to save $1.5 billion from “synergies” resulting from its $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable, including estimated savings of more than $12 million yearly after TWC leaves its Columbus Circle headquarters. 

A report from CoStar Group stated that the anticipated cost-saving measure after the termination of the $91.27 per square foot lease in 2016 would save Comcast about $12.2 million a year. 

Read More


Report: Biggest Three Commercial Sales of 2013 All Top $1B

30 Rockefeller Plaza

There were three whopping commercial deals in New York City last year in the trillion-dollar price range, blowing away the other commercial transactions for the year in terms of price, according to a report by PropertyShark provided exclusively to Commercial Observer

The priciest deal was Comcast’s $1.3 billion purchase of 1.3 million square feet of office and studio space at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, part of the media and communications giant’s $16.7 billion purchase of a 49 percent stake in NBCUniversal from General Electric. Read More

Lease Beat

Prosek Partners to Trade Empire State Building for NoMad

105 Madison Avenue.

Prosek Partners has signed a 13,350-square-foot lease for the entire seventh floor at 105 Madison Avenue, The Commercial Observer has learned.

The public relations firm will relocate from the Empire State Building in a long-term deal. Previously known as CJP, Prosek counts ING, General Electric and Genworth Financial among its list of clients. Read More

Sales Beat

Comcast Seals its $1.3 B. Piece of 30 Rock


Comcast has closed on its $1.3 billion purchase of 1.3 million square feet of office and studio space at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, city records confirm.

The transaction was part of the media and communications giant’s $16.7 billion purchase of a 49 percent stake in NBCUniversal from General Electric, announced last month.

The location, the centerpiece of Rockefeller Center, is host to the property’s annual Christmas tree lighting and inspiration for the title of NBC’s television series “30 Rock.” Read More

Sales Beat

Piece of 30 Rock Part of Comcast’s NBCUniversal Deal


In one of the largest real estate deals in recent memory, Comcast will purchase from General Electric the properties used by NBCUniversal at iconic 30 Rockefeller Plaza and CNBC Headquarters as part of its acquisition of GE’s remaining 49 percent equity stake in the media company, it was announced earlier this week.

Though the building is owned by Tishman Speyer, the office and studio space at 30 Rock involved in the deal is owned by GE and is considered a commercial condo. GE will keep space in the building on the 52nd and 53rd floors.

The real estate component of the deal accounts for approximately $1.4 billion of the $16.7 billion transaction and trumps the $1.1 billion sale of the Sony Building to the Chetrit Group last month. Read More

the lead indicator

The Real Talk About Data Manipulation

chandan silo for web

Last Friday’s jobs update showed the national unemployment rate slipped to 7.8 percent in September, the lowest level since the end of 2008. That result prompted former General Electric CEO Jack Welch to posit the Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers – the penultimate release in advance of the November election – had been doctored in the president’s favor.

Erstwhile responsible Senator John McCain gave indirect support to Mr. Welch’s musings saying, as part of a CNBC discussion of WARN Act violations, that he “would not put anything past this administration.” Congressman Allen West added, “Chicago style politics is at work here.” News of the data conspiracy has spread quickly across the Twitterverse. In the age of information, fact, fiction and baseless speculation are each accorded the same courtesy.

As it turns out, attempts to manipulate the jobs data for political advantage have at least one historic precedent. Under President Nixon, the White House compiled a list of Jews working at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nixon believed this group might be adjusting data in an effort to undermine his position. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Duly Noted: Despite Q4 2011 Drop in Distress, Schechtman, Knakal and Others Rack Up Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in the Deals

Haupsburg and Schechtman.

Even as commercial real estate prices have improved and banks have swiftly moved troubled loans from their books, the phenomenon of distressed note sales has continued unabated.

According to data from Real Capital Analytics, the volume of newly distressed commercial properties dropped to $12.4 billion for the fourth quarter of 2011—a figure that, as the firm pointed out in its February 2012 Troubled Assets Radar report, is the second lowest level seen in two years. Read More