Shine’s Off Goldman’s Whitehall Funds

The Wall Street Journal‘s Anton Troianovski and Lingling Wei run down the challenges facing Goldman Sachs’ once-ballyhood Whitehall real estate funds. The funds, named after the downtown Manhattan street near Goldman’s headquarters, have over the last few years provided the financial muscle in deals including the Helmsley Building, 245 Fifth Avenue and 417 Fifth Avenue (and, for that matter, Rockefeller Center back in 1996).

But times, of course, have changed and some of these investments aren’t quite working out. The Helmsley Building at 230 Park Avenue, for instance, which Whitehall helped Monday Properties buy in December 2007 for $1.15 billion, has lost about 25 percent of its value. To sell the building at a profit any time soon will prove difficult.

Also, Whitehall’s long-time head, Stuart Rothenberg, announced recently he’s retiring at year’s end (at the ripe, old age of 45), to be replaced by a triumvirate of Brahm Cramer, Edward Suskind and Todd Williams.

Still, according to the Journal, executives say Whitehall has $6 billion in equity it’s itching to invest in assets made cheaper by the very financial crisis that’s hurt its own short-term prospects.