Kaufman, AXA Land $76M in Acquisition Financing for 40 West 25th Street 


Kaufman Organization and AXA Financial have locked down $76 million in acquisition financing for their purchase of 40 West 25th Street in the Flatiron District, sources told Commercial Observer. 

MetLife provided the loan in a transaction arranged by CBRE’s James Millon, Tom Traynor and P.J. Finley, sources close to the deal said. Representatives for MetLife and CBRE declined to comment.

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The deal closed on December 18.

The 12-story, 135,000-square-foot asset, between Sixth Avenue and Broadway, was previously owned by Japanese investment firm Unizo Holdings, which The Real Deal reported was selling the property for more than $120 millionor $880 per square foot— after purchasing it for $106 million in 2015. CBRE’s Darcy Stacom, Bill Shanahan and Doug Middleton led the marketing process. 

The purchase fits in nicely with Kaufman Organization’s deep history in Midtown South as well as its ongoing acquisition strategy, Michael Kazmierski, President of Kaufman Investments, told CO.

“We’ve been the most active investor in the Midtown South office market in the past half decade,” Kazmierski said. “This acquisition shows our commitment to the area and our belief in its evolution and growth.” Kazmierski pointed to the area’s appeal to office tenants and for retail concepts, as well as its 24/7 live-work-play environment that is supported by strong public transportation.

As for next year, Kazmierski said that he has a busy pipeline ahead of him. “Kaufman will continue to focus on our core competencies and office product in Manhattan,” he said.

The sale comes as Unizo finalizes the divestment of its $1 billion Manhattan office portfolio in the midst of an ongoing takeover saga. As of late November, Unizo was weighing six buyout offers, including a $1.6 billion bid from Blackstone, after fending off a hostile takeover bid from Japanese travel agent H.I.S. Co. in July, Reuters reported.

Unizo is currently in the process of selling 685 Third Avenue to private equity firm BentallGreenOak, as also reported by TRD. Previous dispositions include 24-28 West 25th Street, sold to Savanna for $110 million in April; 370 Lexington Avenue to Broad Street Development for $190 million and 440 Ninth Avenue to Taconic Investment Partners and Nuveen Real Estate for $269 million, both in September 2018; and 321 West 44th Street to Related Companies for $153 million in October 2018. 

Officials at AXA could not be reached for comment.