Lease of the Week
When in 2006 the real estate investor Joseph Moinian bought the office building 475 Fifth Avenue in partnership with the firm Westbrook Partners, the Eurasia Group—a tenant in the building—saw it as an opportunity. The company had years left on its lease, but word quickly spread among tenants that Mr. Moinian was going to offer handsome buyouts to empty the building so he could gut renovate the skyscraper and re-lease it at sky-high rents.
Mr. Moinian’s strategy hardly seemed audacious at the time. The economy was hot, Manhattan rents were rising by the month and prime office space was in strong demand.
It was lunchtime at Casa Lever, the high-end restaurant in the iconic Lever House, and Richard Baxter was on his BlackBerry negotiating.
It was a busy year for Mr. Baxter and his colleagues at Jones Lang LaSalle. His four-man team comprised some of the city’s most prominent brokers of large-scale commercial office buildings, and as the Manhattan sales market’s post-recessionary thaw continues, Mr. Baxter estimated that the group had tallied an impressive $1.3 billion in deals this year.
Three days before Christmas, however, it wasn’t one particular skyscraper Mr. Baxter was bargaining over from his plum seat at Casa Lever. In a year-end rush, his group had loose ends to tie up, deals to close and transactions still in the works. And so, on this particular Thursday amid a bustling lunch crowd, Mr. Baxter was not negotiating with a buyer or a building owner, but rather one of his own assistants, whom he was asking to stay late to receive critical documents and to help get the team through the rest of the day.
It may have been the kind of problem every tenant wishes it had, but for Wasserman Media Group it was a problem nonetheless.
Only a few months had elapsed since the firm had signed on at the start of the year to take roughly 7,000 square feet on the fourth floor of the midtown office tower 444 Madison Avenue, and already it was clear to Wasserman’s executives that they had significantly miscalculated the company’s needs.
Westbrook Partners, the private real estate investment concern headed that snapped up the Paramount Hotel and the Burberry Building during the boom, has returned to the New York real estate market.
The firm has bought the first mortgage backing St. Vincent’s 555 Avenue of the Americas, according to industry sources, in an apparent play for Read More
You can have it if you want it … and have $105 million to spend.
The dun-colored, 23-story 475 Fifth Avenue, which lender Barclays Capital earlier this year took back from Westbrook Partners and embattled developer Joseph Moinian, is now quietly letting it be known that it will part ways with the office Read More