Sales  ·  Commercial

Silverstein Prepares to Buy ABC Campus for $1.2B


Silverstein Properties is poised to close on the $1.2 billion purchase of the Walt Disney Company-owned ABC campus on the Upper West Side, a Silverstein spokesman told Commercial Observer.

The development firm founded by Larry Silverstein will acquire nine of ABC’s buildings—the majority of its holdings in the neighborhood—for $1.16 billion. The assemblage includes 125 West End Avenue, 320 West 66th Street, 147 and 149 Columbus Avenue, a parking lot on West 64th Street, 77 West 66th Street, 47 West 66th Street, 7 West 66th Street and 30 West 67th Street. The landmarked former First Battery Armory at 56 West 66th Street—which currently serves as offices for ESPN—is not part of the transaction. CO broke the news when the deal went into contract in April.

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Deutsche Bank will loan Silverstein $900 million to buy the properties, and the developer will put in $300 million worth of its own equity for the purchase, the Silverstein spokesman said. The Real Deal first identified the lender last week. The collection of TV studios and office buildings holds roughly 1.7 million square feet of rentable commercial space, and the parcels span a total of 263,000 square feet. A few of the buildings fall inside the Upper West Side historic district, including 7 West 66th Street, 24 West 67th Street and 30 West 67th Street. Silverstein plans to redevelop the campus but hasn’t revealed specifics. It expects to build a mix of uses, likely including residential, according to sources familiar with the deal.

Eastdil Secured advised Disney in the transaction, and Silverstein handled the deal internally.

Disney and ABC will lease the buildings back from Silverstein for up to five years while they build a new headquarters in New York City, the sources said. Meanwhile, Disney just inked a 99-year ground lease for Trinity Church Wall Street‘s site at 4 Hudson Square in a deal valued at $650 million, according to a release from Trinity. Disney will develop the 86,000-square-foot property as its new New York City headquarters. 

The sale, the leases and the financing will all close tomorrow.

The major deal comes as Disney acquires 21st Century Fox for $71.3 billion from Rupert Murdoch. The Department of Justice gave antitrust approval to the transaction last month, on the condition that Fox spins off its regional sports networks. ABC/Disney, Eastdil and Deutsche Bank did not immediately return requests for comment.

“Silverstein Properties has a long and rich history of collaborating with the local community to improve our neighborhoods,” Silverstein CEO Marty Burger said in a statement to CO. “From helping define a new neighborhood on West 42nd Street, with River Place and Silver Towers where 2,300 families reside, to raising the bar on what affordable housing can look like at 1 West End, to rebuilding the World Trade Center after 9/11, we are committed to balancing sustainable building and preserving what we love about New York. We look forward to working collaboratively with all our stakeholders, as we have always done, as we assume responsibility for Disney’s properties in the heart of Manhattan’s Upper West Side.”