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Gourmet Home Products Drops $31M to Buy New Madison Avenue Home

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Houseware manufacturer Gourmet Home Products will move into a new home at 148 Madison Avenue after the company’s co-founders purchased the 16-story office building earlier this month, the latest owner-occupier deal in the city, Commercial Observer has learned.

Jack Saadeh, co-founder and president of Gourmet Home Products, signed the deal to pay $31.3 million to Steven Klein for the 71,871-square-foot building between East 31st and East 32nd streets, according to property records made public Friday. The deal closed on June 7 and was first reported by PincusCo

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Saadeh said Gourmet Home Products, which he founded 15 years ago with his twin brother, Victor Saadeh and friend Jack Yadid, will use the property for office and showroom space. It will move from its current space nearby at 347 Fifth Avenue when its lease in that property runs out.

“We hope to get into real estate,” Sadeeh said. “This is our first commercial purchase. We’re excited to take over the space and start using it.”

Saadeh financed the purchase with a $19 million acquisition loan from New York- and Florida-based Interaudi Bank, property records show. Meridian Capital Group’s Benjamin Klugmann and Ariel Taieb brokered the loan.

Venture Capital PropertiesSoly Halabi and Joshua Nazar brokered the deal.

Nazar said office values are low enough currently that it’s become a “common theme” for users to purchase their own buildings in New York.

“I’m seeing a lot of landlords looking to recycle capital outside of office,” Nazar said. “And new buyers are coming in and resetting the market, taking advantage of the dislocation.”

Klein, for his part, said he was happy to exit the office market in New York just before his $21.3 million loan for the property was set to come due at the end of the year. Six floors of the building are vacant, and that also influenced the decision to sell.

“We’re very happy that we actually made money, which is more than a lot of people can say right now,” Klein said. “It’s a tough time to own office buildings in New York City. We didn’t really see spending more money on this asset to advance the value.”

Klein said his firm purchased the building, along with 152 Madison Avenue, for just over $30 million in 2001. That sales price was not recorded in city property records, but an analysis by PincusCo of the transfer tax Winoker Realty paid at the time puts the purchase price of 148 Madison at $13.8 million.

A limited liability company tied to New York real estate investor Brickman Associates, where Klein serves as the chief investment officer, secured a $21.3 million mortgage for 148 Madison from Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, an affiliate of Cigna Healthcare, in 2015, according to property records

Abigail Nehring can be reached at anehring@commercialobserver.com.