It’s been a busy week for Murray Hill Properties. As The Observer reported first last week, Murray Hill Properties is in contract to purchase 1 Park Avenue, the 920,000-square-foot building in midtown south.
Now, the company is putting a smaller asset, 417 Fifth Avenue, up for sale, according to a source.
The 11-story and roughly 420,000-square-foot building, which Murray Hill owns in partnership with General Electric, should command more than $600 a square foot, the source said.
Right down the street, Joseph Moinian just purchased 475 Fifth Avenue for $162 million, or about $650 a foot.
The 94-year-old Class B 417 Fifth was reported to be on the block as early as January 2005, but a deal was never finalized.
Major tenants include Marvel Entertainment and Atari.
Cushman & Wakefield’s New York Capital Markets foursome of Richard Baxter, Scott Latham, Jon Caplan and Ron Cohen represent the sellers. They declined to comment.
WITH KISSES FIRMLY PLACED on each cheek, the Italian company IFIL Group will buy 67.5 percent of the commercial real-estate firm Cushman & Wakefield for $563 million.
The deal was announced on Tuesday at a news conference in the Rainbow Room.
During the briefing, C&W C.E.O. Bruce Mosler and representatives from IFIL discussed their equal excitement, but it seemed at one point that Mr. Mosler needed to hear something more.
When IFIL chief Carlo Sant’Albano was giving a vague answer about mutual benefits for the companies, the ruddy-cheeked Mr. Mosler turned a piece of paper around, drew out his pen and started scribbling. He passed it along the table.
Mr. Sant’Albano glanced at it, took a big gulp and looked anxious.
Then he said: “I think the opportunity that we have is to offer a financial approach, a very disciplined approach to investing in the growth phase of Cushman, and bring something to the table in assisting the team at Cushman & Wakefield in growing their business.”
Mr. Mosler nodded with a satisfied look. It was said: The Italians will help C&W expand.
No one has any idea if a deal of this scale will work out, but Mr. Mosler is free of the tight rein of his former boss, Mitsubishi.
Now, he might have the chance to take the next step in cutting a global divide between his company and its top rival, CB Richard Ellis, by shaking down some powerful resources from IFIL, which is controlled by the Agnelli family.
“We’ll look to grow,” said a hopeful Mr. Mosler, “and we’ll look to grow for the right opportunities, particularly in Europe, Asia and for mortgage brokerages in the U.S.”
Exactly how they’ll grow and exactly how the Agnelli family will help is still up in the air.
Expansion in China, India and Europe—where Cushman already has some representation—and a bulking-up of its fund management is expected, Mr. Mosler said.
But when it comes down to the type of money that the Agnellis—who count Ferrari among their assets—can provide for Cushman & Wakefield, Mr. Mosler said, “That can only be answered as we go forward.”
When asked if this deal had put a dent into CBRE’s hegemonic rule, Mr. Mosler said, “I don’t wake up in the morning and picture myself in that view.”
When CBRE brokers woke up to the news at 200 Park Avenue, they didn’t have that view either.
“We’re focused on what we do here,” said Mitchell Rudin, the president at CB Richard Ellis. “When we wake up in the morning, we’re thinking about our business and how to ensure that we’re the best.”
CB Richard Ellis, the king of commercial real-estate brokerages, has a market cap listed at $7.3 billion, while the IFIL transaction puts Cushman & Wakefield’s value at around $975 million.
But while Mr. Mosler has his eyes set on Beijing and New Delhi, New York brokers are expecting business as usual.
“We have great support and great resources right now, and this deal only ensures the continuity of that,” said Joseph Harbert, the C.O.O. who oversees New York enterprises.
SPEAKING OF ACQUISITIONS! On Dec. 20, CB Richard Ellis and Trammell Crow Company will close a $2.2 billion deal that will make them one.
This is good news for the increasingly macro-thinking CBRE, but what does it mean for Trammell’s New York–based brokers?
Well, the news might not be good.
“They’re doing this for all of the services other than the brokerage side,” said one New York Trammell Crow broker.
Or as another Trammell Crow broker put it, compared to the project-management resources that the company offers out of its Dallas headquarters, New York brokers are a “drop in the bucket.”
No decisions are final, but some Trammell Crow brokers might have an anxious Christmas. One broker speculated that he was confident at least nine of the roughly 24 New York brokers would get job offers, but was unsure about the rest.
Mr. Rudin, the president at CB Richard Ellis, said that nothing has been finalized, but he didn’t go so far as to assuage any fears.
“We’re still sorting through that now, and we’re taking it very seriously,” he said. “We had one-on-one meetings with every professional in the tri-state region, and we’re giving everyone the scrutiny of opportunity.”
Mr. Rudin said personnel decisions would come in the next month.
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