Singer & Bassuk Organization arranged the financing on Benenson’s behalf.
The storefronts, located between Park and Lexington Avenues, are currently vacant. But Japanese retailer Muji has agreed to lease 13,000 square feet of the 35,000-square-foot space, including 5,700 at street level and the remainder below grade.
M&T Bank provided the loan, which was negotiated by a team led by Matt Petrula. Petrula was unavailable for comment, but told CO three years ago that his retail clients were increasingly excited about New York City.
Muji opened its first Brooklyn store—its seventh in the five boroughs—in September.
Another street-level retail space in the East 59th Street property, formerly occupied by Pottery Barn, remains vacant.
“It’s a very high-traffic location,” Scott Singer, the president of Singer & Bassuk, told CO. “We had the benefit of marketing it for a best-in-class owner-operator with substantial experience across their portfolio, who are long-term holders of this asset, and [who have] a stellar reputation. Those are really strong attributes.”
Asking rent on the ground-floor portion was $375 per square foot, and $125 per square foot for the lower level, according to The New York Post.
Singer said he was pleased to work with Benenson after many years of acquaintance.
“I’ve known them for quite some time,” he said. “My pitch to them was, ‘Isn’t 20 years enough of a vetting process?’ Happily, they agreed that it was.”
His firm thrives on personal relationships, Singer emphasized. “The groups that have been working with us for decades, and the newest groups as well, like the fact that a seasoned principal is the one who is negotiating every aspect of the deal,” he said.
The East 59th Street retail space is the former site of the famed department store Fiorucci, a chic destination for disco and new-wave fashions that opened in 1976. After thriving for a decade, the location shuttered in 1986, but the brand was relaunched this year in partnership with Barneys.
Representatives from Benenson were not immediately available for comment.