Empire Capital Under Contract to Buy Silverstein’s 529 Fifth Avenue for $105M

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Ted Lasso once said there are two buttons he never likes to hit: panic and snooze. 

Despite the hairiest of market environments being firmly upon us, industry participants are seemingly taking the Lasso approach — with another significant office sale now underway. 

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Empire Capital Holdings is under contract to purchase 529 Fifth Avenue, a corner building with immediate access to Grand Central Terminal, for $105 million — or $400 per square foot — Commercial Observer has learned. 

Silverstein Properties is the seller, having owned the property since 1978. Newmark’s Adam Spies, Doug Harmon, Josh King, Adam Doneger, Marcella Fasulo and Avery Silverstein are arranging the sale. 

The 20-story building, on the corner of Fifth Avenue and East 44th Street, was built in 1958 and renovated in 2016. Designed by Emery Roth & Sons, it comprises 254,123 square feet of office space and 27,356 square feet of retail space, and is currently 63 percent leased. 

Office tenants include SDC Designs, the International Federation of Accountants and EZE Castle Integration — with those leases expiring between 2027 and 2033 — while the corner retail is occupied by Wonderland Dreams, a pop-up interactive gallery. While Wonderland’s lease expires in January 2025, Empire has the ability to terminate it beginning in April 2023.  Bringing the retail space to market will add more than $4.4 million in rental revenue, according to an offering memorandum viewed by CO. 

Newmark’s Dustin Stolly and Jordan Roeschlaub are currently in the market securing acquisition financing for Empire’s purchase, sources said. 

Sources familiar with the deal noted the building has experienced significant leasing activity lately, and the new owner can now continue that momentum at a lower basis.

The deal marks a hat trick for the Spies-Harmon brokerage team — which recently jumped from Cushman & Wakefield to Newmark — in arranging the sale of well-located Midtown office properties to private buyers. Sovereign Partners is close to closing on Pearlmark Real Estate’s Tower 56 at 126 East 56h Street, The Real Deal reported, and Brookfield is also buying out Blackstone’s interest in One Liberty Plaza at 165 Broadway

Ebi Khalili’s Empire Capital is also in the process of buying the residential condo at Mercedes House — a deal also being arranged by Spies, Harmon and Co. — as first reported by CO. 

Silverstein officials declined to comment. Khalili did not respond to a request for comment. Newmark officials declined to comment. 

Cathy Cunningham can be reached at ccunningham@commercialobserver.com