A building described by some as “the most important generator of popular songs in the Western world,” including The Coasters‘ 1958 hit Yakety Yak, has been sold to the tune of $250 million.
Now, its new owners – real estate investor Eric Hadar of Allied Partners and private equity firm Brickman – plan to renovate and reposition the building as a media hub that will house the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
“We have a vision to capitalize on the legendary reputation of the property by transforming it into a modern day creative center for fashion, arts, media and entertainment in New York,” Mr. Hadar said, in a statement. “We are in active negotiations with a number of parties and expect to announce several exciting new retail and office tenants soon. We anticipate a grand reopening of the space in late 2014.”
The 175,000-square-foot art-deco building, designed by Victor Bark Jr. and built in 1931, was home to dozens of iconic songwriters and artists. The Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller orchestras of the big band era played songs created in the building, and the likes of Neil Diamond and Paul Simon would later write tunes there.
Highly-hummable tunes by legendary duos, like Goffin-King’s “The Loco-Motion” and Leiber-Stoller’s “Yakety Yak,” are said to have been produced in the building. The latter included the lyrics, “Take out the papers and the trash, or you don’t get no spendin’ cash,” and, “Just finish cleanin’ up your room, let’s see that dust fly with that broom” — in addition to the famous “Yakety yak, don’t talk back” line.
An extensive renovation of the building’s 11 floors has begun, which according to a statement sent by the purchasers will “retain the 82-year-old landmark building’s heritage and aesthetic, while modernizing the infrastructure to reflect the 21st century needs of the tenants it’s attracting.”
With nearly 400 inductees, the Songwriters Hall of Fame is an arm of the National Academy of Popular Music, and since since its founding in 1969, it has inducted legends like George Gershwin, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Wonder among others.
“All of us at the Songwriters Hall Of Fame are tremendously excited by Eric Hadar’s deep understanding of the cultural legacy of this New York City landmark and look forward to being a part of the renaissance of the new Brill Building, once home to some of the greatest songwriters of all time,” said chairman of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Jimmy Webb, in a statement. “We’re extremely grateful for this opportunity to enhance the profile of the Songwriters Hall Of Fame and to successfully pursue our mutual interests with Mr. Hadar and his partners.”
Barry Sternlicht‘s Starwood Property Trust provided a $158.5 million first mortgage to help finance the transaction, while Square Mile Capital Management LLC provided $40 million of financing. Adam Spies and Doug Harmon of Eastdil Secured brokered the sale; they were not immediately available for comment.