2Q13

The Return of the Mega Deal

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Dominated last year by smaller middle-market transactions, New York’s investment sales market has welcomed the return of large institutional transactions in 2013, while leasing activity in the first half of the year also experienced positive year-over-year growth.

With 10 transactions in excess of $400 million under contract through the second quarter, 2013 is set to be the single most active year for large deals since the Great Recession began in early 2008, according to midyear statistics from Cushman & Wakefield. Read More

Power Broker

The Negotiator: Colliers International’s Howard Grufferman

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In the late 1990s, international law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges was eyeing a reconfiguration of its office space at the General Motors Building. With a significant portion of the lease remaining, the building’s then-landlord, Corporate Property Investors, was not compelled to negotiate a new deal.

With the landlord’s unwillingness to negotiate in mind, Howard Grufferman—then with Studley, now vice chairman at Colliers International—took his client to the market. Weil Gotshal, which at the time did not have a primary reception floor, was looking for something different, and the firm looked “everywhere,” according to Mr. Grufferman. Read More

Sales Beat

GM Building Stake Sold to International Buyers

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A 40-percent stake in the General Motors Building has been acquired by the family of Chinese real estate developer Zhang Xin, through The Sungate Trust, and M. Safra and Co. Inc., the investment firm of the Brazilian Safra family, from the Goldman Sachs Real Estate Opportunities Fund and Meraas Capital. According to reports, the stake sold for $1.4 billion, valuing the property at $3.4 billion.

“This landmark sale signals a return to the billion-dollar plus level for an individual investment transaction and is recognition of the value for elite trophy assets by the most sophisticated global investors,” said Darcy Stacom, of CBRE, who brokered the sale alongside colleague Bill Shanahan, in a prepared statement. “This sale underscores both the GM Building’s universal appeal as one of the world’s most important commercial assets and New York City’s un-diminished value, as the premier location for trophy investment properties.” Read More

Lease Beat

Banco Itaú Takes Most of the GM Building’s 50th Floor in an Unprecedented Deal

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In an unprecedented deal that reached upwards of $200 per square foot, Itaú BBA USA Securities Inc., a branch of the Brazilian Banco Itaú, will increase its operation from 25,000 square feet to 35,000 square feet on the prized 50th floor of 767 Fifth Avenue.

With outstanding views of the Central Park and Midtown, the floor plates at the 50-story tower, otherwise known as the General Motors Building, span 40,000 square feet, leaving a mere 5,000-square-foot office to share the view, brokers said. Read More

The Sit-Down

Boston Legal: Andrew Levin On 250 West 55th Street

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With eight buildings totaling close to nine million square feet across a number of submarkets, Boston Properties is one of the largest owners of real estate in Midtown. Andrew Levin, senior vice president of leasing in the real estate investment trust’s New York office, has his finger on the pulse of the market. He spoke with The Commercial Observer last week about leasing trends in Midtown and Boston Properties’ development of 250 West 55th Street, which will open in fall 2013. Read More

The Plan

Check Out Available Space at the General Motors Building

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The 50-story General Motors Building at 767 Fifth Avenue is among the most sought-after properties in New York. It’s the rare building that takes up an entire city block, situated across from the Plaza and Central Park and bounded by Fifth and Madison Avenues, in one of the top shopping districts on the planet.

Cushman & Wakefield is currently marketing a 6,514-square-foot ground-floor retail space that was made available when CBS moved its morning show’s studio to Hell’s Kitchen last summer. Prospective tenants can count on blockbuster neighbors like the Apple Store and, also in 767 Fifth Avenue, FAO Schwarz to reel customers in to a tall, airy space.

C&W Senior Director Steven Soutendijk reviewed the plan with The Commercial Observer and discussed, what exactly, the space has to offer. Read More

Lease Beat

Lee & Associates Find New Home at 600 Madison Avenue

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Lee & Associates is moving into a new 22,000 square foot office at 600 Madison Avenue to accommodate the real estate services firm’s surging growth in recent months.

The company is taking the entire third floor of 600 Madison Avenue in a four-year sublease from Tiffany & Co., the jewelry company that vacated the property last year to relocate to the high end Midtown South building 200 Fifth Avenue. Read More