At a March real-estate luncheon at the Waldorf-Astoria, members from the investment firm Broadway Partners didn’t really fit in.
For starters, they looked young for an industry that isn’t exactly youthful. When you spoke with them, you found they had résumés teeming with Ivy League degrees, plus jags in law and business schools, the sorts of mega-privileged pedigrees that aren’t common in the real-estate industry. And the Broadway members at the lunch, split among men and women, were also pretty attractive.
In other words, Broadway Partners looks nothing like the Manhattan commercial real-estate world.
And yet: Here they are, totally dominating the stage. In the eight years since it started, Broadway Partners has turned from a small regional landlord to one of the most relentless buyers in the city.
In the last three months alone, the company has signed contracts for about $7 billion worth of office towers nationally, which includes a staggering four million square feet of Manhattan real estate. When these deals close, Broadway’s city portfolio will have more than six million square feet, all acquired in less than a year.
Their recent Manhattan purchases have all been for prized, Park Avenue-quality buildings.
“You know what a Broadway deal is,” said Darcy Stacom, the power broker at CB Richard Ellis. “They’re looking for excellent location and excellent real estate.”
Their latest coup includes the 1.2-million-square-foot tower at 280 Park Avenue, which they nabbed from Istithmar, the aggressive real-estate player from Dubai. Broadway Partners put up a little more than $1.2 billion in an off-market and invite-only bidding process, edging out other, more established invitees like Steve Roth’s Vornado Realty Trust.
With that buy alone, the company put itself into an elite field.
Then again, Broadway has made a habit of making gaudy buys. Just weeks earlier, Broadway struck a deal with Beacon Capital Partners for a portfolio buy of about $5 billion, which included the 1.1-million- square-foot 237 Park Avenue and the 458,000-foot 100 Wall Street. When the deal closes, it will be one of the biggest real-estate deals of 2007, even bigger than Broadway’s $3-billion-plus deal last year involving another portfolio from Beacon.