Nomura Keeps George Comfort, Brookfield Guessing
Laura Kusisto May 16, 2011, 3:14 p.m.
Nomura, the most-watched tenant on the market right now, is close to finally signing a 700,000-square-foot deal at George Comfort & Sons’ Worldwide Plaza, numerous sources told The Observer.
In almost any other scenario, we would assume that if five top brokers have all heard such news it must be true, but with so many eyes on the indecisive Japanese investment bank, the issue might not actually be settled yet.
Nomura was said to have signed a letter of intent for 800,000 square feet at Worldwide Plaza, but negotiations were frozen due to the Japanese earthquake. That deal is back on, many people say.
But wait! Others insist that Nomura is still negotiating for a renewal at Brookfield Properties’ World Financial Center, and after some digging The Commercial Observer uncovered this nugget from the REIT’s first-quarter conference call, in which CEO Ric Clark sounds like the rollercoaster is not over yet: “I would just say that I guess around here we are excited about our chances one day and less excited the next,” he said, “and so we’ve decided not to go through the highs and lows emotionally and just kind of sit back and let nature take its course. But as Dennis [Friedrich, CEO of commercial operations] has said to me, he expects a decision soon.”
Cushman & Wakefield’s John Cefaly, who we imagine has had enough reporters’ phone calls for one lifetime, did not respond to our persistent requests for comment. Likewise, landlord George Comfort & Sons could not be reached for comment.
But after months of speculation, it could all come to that most dreaded of all possible ends: a compromise. Another person close to, but not involved with, the deal, said he believes that Nomura could split the difference between Worldwide and WFC. That would satisfy former employees of Lehman International, which Nomura acquired, who would prefer to stay in midtown, but Nomura could still keep its trading floors, which are expensive to rebuild, downtown.
“A lot of guys you talk to, including the brokers who are working on the deal will tell you it’s an all-or-nothing solution,” said the source. “But there’s no telling what the guys in the home country will do when they read the political tea leaves.”