Speyers to Market: We Read You Loud and Clear

So, maybe Jerry and Rob Speyer are selectively cashing out, after all?

News comes that 229 West 43rd Street, The New York Times building, is on the block.

This is totally interesting for several reasons. At a time when so many people are dying to buy– hi, Craig Nassi – it’s now fairly evident that the city’s biggest landlord, Tishman Speyer, thinks that now is the time to sell off some of its prizes.

The Speyers decision is definitely symptomatic to this fevered market (a market that might sell 450 Park Avenue for $1,500 per square foot). Remember, it was only a few months ago that the Speyers began to unfurl a swanky campaign for renovating 229 West 43rd.

Now, they’ve scrapped those plans and put the building up for sale.

Tishman-Speyer is looking for $500 million for 229 West 43rd, and the company will probably get it too. Joseph Chetrit put the Toy Building on the market for $500 million and several real estate insiders were scratching their head over what they saw as a risibly high price. The building is now under contract for $500 million.

In a matter of four months, the Speyers sold 666 Fifth Avenue, and have put both the Lipstick Building and now the Times building on the block. By the way, Jerry and Rob Speyer purchased the Times building in 2004 for $175 million. (How do you think the Times’ shareholders feel about that? Not like they could use the money.)

The Speyers are totally aware of what’s going on in the market. When their frequent real estate investors, Prudential, sold 1180 Avenue of the Americas for $300 million after the insurer bought it for $152 million two years ago, they had to be thinking of doubling up, too.

It seems, in a few months when they sell the Times building, they’ll do even better than that.

- John Koblin