Whew! Harry Macklowe Ends Rough Summer on Happy Note

Harry Macklowe needed some good news, and as summer comes to a close, at least one building in his portfolio has delivered.

China Finance Inc., a publicly traded financial firm, has signed a lease for approximately 20,000 square feet on the 20th and 21st floors of 1330 Avenue of the Americas.

The taking rents were north of $110 per square foot, according to a source with knowledge of the deal, right in the ballpark for midtown Manhattan office space these days. Paul Amrich of CB Richard Ellis brokered the 10-year lease for the landlord.

Mr. Macklowe startled the Manhattan real estate scene in February when he pulled together $7 billion to buy eight of Manhattan’s most illustrious buildings, a deal that had as many skeptics as it had admirers.

However, with the subprime mortgage debacle and the resulting credit crunch, rumors are now swirling in Manhattan real estate circles that Mr. Macklowe is in jeopardy of not being able to pay off the debt financing on the deal. If that happens, industry sources say that he could lose the trophies in his recently acquired portfolio as well as the General Motors Building, a skyscraper that served as collateral for his historic buy.

Thus, the need for good news.

Mr. Macklowe scooped up the Financial Times Building at 1330 Avenue of the Americas about two months before the eight-building, $7 billion deal. The 480,000-square-foot, 39-story property cost Mr. Macklowe $498 million, according to city records. He’s done renovations and repairs since, including on the elevators and the facade.

Mr. Amrich told The Observer that there are leases out on two more floors in the building and more deals are in the works.

“With the Macklowes’ redevelopment, we have seen a lot of leasing activity,” Mr. Amrich said. “We are dealing with a few more clients who are looking at space. People are really gravitating toward the building.”