New York City’s Top 10 Investment Sales of 2022
By Nicholas Rizzi December 12, 2022 1:00 pmreprints
At the end of 2021, we all knew the city’s drought of billion-dollar building sales was finally coming to an end. CommonWealth Partners came in at crunch time to notch one for 2021 with the $1.033 billion purchase of 441 Ninth Avenue in December.
We knew that would continue in 2022 thanks to Google announcing in September 2021 that it would buy its St. John’s Terminal office in Manhattan for $2.1 billion (since it technically closed this year.)
But we didn’t expect it would pour 10-figure deals with not one, not two but three crossing the threshold this year.
While the second-largest deal of the year stemmed from a long-running legal battle between SL Green Realty and HNA Group at 245 Park Avenue, the good news for the industry is it led to another blockbuster sales price when SL Green bought the Midtown property for $1.8 billion in September.
Our third billion-dollar sale came from none other than Blackstone (which should come as no surprise if you’ve been paying attention to our Power 100 lists the past two years). The Manhattan-based investment giant dropped $1.4 billion in March for a 49 percent stake in Brookfield Properties and Qatar Investment Authority’s 1 Manhattan West.
Overall, this year’s investment sales market was a marked improvement over 2021, even if things eventually froze up. The first half of 2022 saw $21.6 billion worth of sales volume, a 99.1 percent year-over-year increase, according to a Cushman & Wakefield report.
And, while the $9.8 billion in sales volume in the second quarter continued the recent momentum of reaching post-pandemic levels, the future is a bit worrying for the industry.
Higher interest rates, inflation and a looming recession made it difficult to raise funds to pick up buildings, and sales activity slowed down in the third quarter.
A report from Ariel Property Advisors found that $7.86 billion worth of sales were done in the third quarter, a 30 percent drop from the previous quarter, which was largely buoyed by SL Green’s 245 Park purchase. And, after those first three billion-dollar deals, the price tag on properties that actually crossed the finish line drops precipitously.
Still, the third quarter of 2022 was better than the same quarter last year, so maybe it will continue to rain billion-dollar deals in New York next year (or maybe we’re just being overly optimistic).
Regardless, here’s the top 10 investment sales of single buildings or commercial condominiums around the city in 2022 as reported by CBRE, C&W and JLL. The names of the brokers who worked on them are listed where available.
550 Washington Street
It was the deal that surprised nobody in the know, was announced the previous fall but which finally closed in the first quarter of this year: Search giant Google buying the St. John’s Terminal project from Oxford Properties.
Google has been leasing the 1.3 million-square-foot 550 Washington Street since 2019 with plans to drop millions inside to make it part of Google’s East Coast hub, but the company also made other pricey purchases near the property over the past few years, plus it had enough cash on hand to buy it without financing. (This was before the economy turned and tech behemoths started layoffs, which Google has so far avoided, but that time may be running out.)
The deal, brokered by CBRE’s Darcy Stacom and William Shanahan, came before tech giants like Facebook and Twitter began downsizing their offices around the country, but Google hasn’t gotten cold feet on its New York City hub. In September, CEO Sundar Pichai told Crain’s New Yorkthat he’s “long-term bullish” on growing in the city.
245 Park Avenue
It might not have been the most friendly sale on this list, but anything above a billion is worth mentioning.
HNA Group started a protracted legal battle when it accused property manager SL Green Realty of failing to replace 245 Park Avenue’s outgoing anchor tenant, Major League Baseball, in order to buy the building in foreclosure. SL Green shot back, saying it was up to HNA to renovate the building and failing to do so kept potential tenants away.
All that came to an end in September when SL Green agreed to spend $1.8 billion to take over the 44-story tower.
And SL Green isn’t going to let the 1960s high-rise stay as it is any longer. It tapped architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox to start a renovation that will include updating the lobbies, the plaza on Park Avenue and adding new amenity spaces, including a rooftop garden and food from chef Daniel Boulud.
1 Manhattan West
After scouring for a buyer for months, Brookfield Properties and the Qatari Investment Authority (QIA) finally got Blackstone to spend $1.4 billion for a 49 percent stake in the 1 Manhattan West office project.
The 2.1 million-square-foot office building is part of Brookfield and QIA’s 8-acre Far West Side project that opened last year and that is trying to turn a barren area near Penn Station storage tracks into a mixed-use neighborhood with four office towers, a hotel and a residential tower.
Brookfield and QIA first tapped Adam Spies and Doug Harmon’s team at Cushman & Wakefield to sell a stake in the project in December 2021.
77 West 66th Street
Gary Barnett’s Extell Development became the Walt Disney Company’s landlord when it bought the ABC campus on the Upper West Side for $930 million from Silverstein Properties and Seven Valleys in February.
The most expensive property in the six-building campus was the 22-story 77 West 66th Street, which Extell dropped $485 million to pick up as part of the portfolio sale. Extell secured more than $900 million from Guggenheim Partners and Aquarian Holdings for the total purchase.
Silverstein first bought the 1.7 million-square-foot campus from Disney in 2018 for just under $1.2 billion and later sold a 500,000-square-foot portion to Taconic Investment Partners and Nuveen Real Estate for $220 million in 2019.
The Extell sale, brokered by Eastdil Secured’s Gary Phillips and Will Silverman, allowed Silverstein to break even on its purchase of the campus.
450 Park Avenue
After notching big sales on this list in previous years for selling buildings, SL Green reversed the trend twice in 2022 and bought some.
The first sale to upend SL Green’s four-year break in purchasing office buildings came in April when the real estate investment trust agreed to buy 450 Park Avenue from Oxford Properties and Crown Acquisitions for $445 million.
The 33-story property has tenants including Brazilian bank Banco Bradesco and private equity firm BDT Capital Partners. Its retail space is set to be home to luxury car manufacturer Aston Martin’s first-ever dealership in Manhattan.
CBRE’s Darcy Stacom, William Shanahan and Doug Middleton brokered the sale.
47 West 66th Street
Extell Development is back on this year’s list for the second, and final, time with the $324 million purchase of 47 West 66th Street.
The building was part of Extell’s $930 million purchase of the ABC campus from Silverstein and Seven Valleys, along with 149 and 147 Columbus Avenue, 7 and 77 West 66th Street and 30 West 67th Street.
Eastdil’s Gary Phillips and Will Silverman brokered the sale.
The 14-story 47 West 66th hosts ABC News Headquarters, and the station renamed it the Barbara Walters Building in 2014 after its longtime television show host.
1330 Avenue of the Americas
A group of investors led by Empire Capital Holdings bought 1330 Avenue of the Americas from a joint venture of Blackstone Group and RXR for $320 million in a deal that closed Nov. 17.
RXR bought the 40-story tower for about $400 million in 2010, with Blackstone later becoming the majority owner after it picked up a stake in a six-property RXR portfolio.
Empire, Hakimian Capital, CH Capital Group, Creed Equities and Nassimi Realty partnered to acquire the building, which is nearly 90 percent leased, and scored $215 million in acquisition financing from Deutsche Bank for the purchase.
Eastdil’s Will Silverman, Gary Phillips and Steven Binswager brokered the sale.
885 Third Avenue
One of the biggest office deals of the year was actually a sale.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in September bought a 414,317-square-foot commercial condo in SL Green’s Lipstick Building for $300 million. SL Green will continue to own the other 218,796 square feet of the property under the deal.
The sale seemingly came out of nowhere, with no news of it leaking to the press before it closed. MSK plans to use the property for research and administrative offices.
Newmark's Neil Goldmacher, Jason Perla and Howard Kessler brokered the sale for MSK while Brian Waterman, Scott Klau, Erik Harris, Zach Weil, Cole Glendels and Lance Korman, also of Newmark, handled it for SL Green.
475 Fifth Avenue
Aby Rosen’s RFR Holdings became the proud new owner of 475 Fifth Avenue in May when it bought the office property for $290 million from Nuveen Real Estate and Norges Bank Investment.
RFR locked down $250 million in balance sheet financing for the deal. The property is almost fully leased to tenants including Penske Business Media, Torchlight Investors and LBB Industries.
CBRE’s Darcy Stacom, Doug Middleton and Alana Bassen brokered the sale.
95 Morton Street
Rosen’s RFR was on the other side of the deal table on this one when it sold the eight-story 95 Morton Street to Meadow Partners for $288 million in June, about $82 million more than it paid for it.
The 215,000-square-foot West Village building was built in 1911, and is home to PayPal, Venmo and sports e-commerce company Fanatics. The latter brought the property to 100 percent leased in January.
Meadow secured $155 million in debt from Deutsche Pfandbriefbank for the purchase.
It’s unclear who brokered the sale, but Walker and Dunlop’s Aaron Appel, Keith Kurland, Jonathan Schwartz and Adam Schwartz arranged the financing.