Marc Holliday, SL Green Realty


2013 Owners MagazineMarc Holliday and Andrew Mathias, chief executive and president of New York’s largest office landlord, SL Green (SLG) Realty, respectively, have set aside more room on the company’s plate for sizeable chunks of the city’s booming multifamily market.

The two SL Green executives made a sure bet for investors with their successful $386 million bid for the Olivia, a freshly built 492,987-square-foot residential and commercial tower at 315 West 33rd Street in Chelsea. In August, Mr. Holliday and Mr. Mathias agreed to buy the 36-story tower developed by Stonehenge Partners after snatching up several other retail and residential properties in Manhattan and their first residential property in Brooklyn in the past year.

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The Olivia, which was completed in 2012 and contains 333 luxury rental apartments along with 270,000 square feet of commercial space including a movie theater, parking garage and ground-level retail outlets, is one of several big luxury rental properties to take shape in Manhattan since liquidity and demand came back in full swing.

“We see this acquisition as a great opportunity to expand our multifamily investment platform at a time when the New York City residential market is strong,” Mr. Mathias said in a company statement released to the media on Aug. 14.

Mr. Holliday and Mr. Mathias, who declined to speak to The Commercial Observer for this year’s Owners Magazine issue, are well-positioned to take advantage of New York’s red-hot multifamily market. As of June 30, SL Green owned interests in 87 Manhattan properties totaling 42.8 million square feet and 36 suburban properties in the greater tristate area totaling 6.4 million square feet, according to the company’s latest filings.

SL Green completed its first residential investment in Brooklyn in March when it partnered with Magnum Real Estate Group to purchase a newly completed townhouse development in Williamsburg for $51.5 million. Meanwhile, SL Green sold its 10-story office property at 333 West 34th Street to American Realty Capital New York Recovery REIT for $220.3 million this summer.

“Their deeper dive into multifamily is somewhat directly linked to the lack of opportunities in their core areas of expertise,” Dan Fasulo, managing director and head of research for Real Capital Analytics, said. “Generally speaking, it doesn’t make sense to buy Manhattan office properties at a 3 percent cap rate if you’re borrowing at the same rate or more from the public markets.”

Mr. Holliday, who joined SL Green as its chief investment officer in 1998, became the company’s CEO and a member of its board of directors in January 2004. Under his leadership, the publicly held REIT has experienced extreme highs and lows—with investors nearly abandoning the company during the financial crisis—and has in recent years grown from a midsize landlord into one of the city’s most active buyers of real estate.

With investor confidence back in swing, SL Green’s shares have steadily picked up since their rock bottom low of $8.69 in March 2009 climbing to a five-year high of $95.83 in mid-July and since hovering between $85 and $90.—Damian Ghigliotty