TIAA-CREF Pays $60M for 1511 Third Avenue


TIAA-CREF has purchased 1511 Third Avenue on the Upper East Side from Related Companies for $60 million, sources tell The Commercial Observer.

The 60,000-square-foot property is a four-story landmarked building, one block south of East 86th Street, the main retail artery in the neighborhood.

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1511 Third Avenue
1511 Third Avenue

A financial services provider, TIAA-CREF, also known as Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund, recognized the long-term value in a neighborhood where retail rents are likely to keep rising, the source said.

Rents along the main retail stretch of East 86th Street, between Lexington and 2nd Avenues, increased 13 percent since last fall, according to the latest data from the Real Estate Board of New York.

The building is fully leased to long-term tenants Gap, whose flagship location sits on the ground floor and basement; and luxury fitness club Equinox, which occupies the three upper floors and part of the basement.  Their leases expire in 2021 and 2020, respectively.

Massey Knakal Realty Services’ Chairman Robert Knakal confirmed that he brokered the deal, but declined further comment.

The building, known by locals for its large bronze entrance doors, is a standout example of Italian Renaissance Revival architecture – which emulated the Renaissance palazzi of Northern Italy and was most popular from the 1800’s to about 1930.

It was constructed in 1905 and was originally the site of the Yorkville Bank, which had a large German immigrant shareholder base.  German-born architect Robert Maynicke designed the building, built with granite, limestone, brick and terracotta.

TIAA-CREF, a leading provider of retirement services in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields, has $495 billion in assets under management.

Last month, the firm announced that it had acquired a 49 percent equity ownership in the residential portion of New York by Gehry at Eight Spruce Street, an award-winning 76-story, 898-unit Frank Gehry-designed building valued at $1.05 billion.  Original partners Forest City Ratner Companies and the INDURE Fund retained 26 and 25 percent stakes, respectively.

TIAA-CREF and Related Companies, which recently broke ground on the $15 billion mini-city at Hudson Yards, did not return calls seeking comment.