The Rise and Falling of New York’s Busiest Building Buyer

MEANWHILE, BROADWAY HAS HAD to whittle down its staff to cut costs, according to several industry experts. Broadway’s No. 3—COO Jonathan Yormak—announced his departure last month. While Mr. Yormak himself may not have wanted to stick around, Andrew Singer, chairman and CEO of the Singer and Bassuk Organization, speculated that he may have been pressured to leave.

“There had to be pressure to downsize their acquisition team; I’m not sure they’re in a buying mode,” Mr. Singer said. “Anybody who’s involved in acquisition at all had to be excess.”

Broadway refused to speak with The Observer for this article. When The Observer went to the Seagram Building, the firm’s headquarters, at 375 Park Avenue to request an interview, Broadway’s receptionist said on the phone that she could not allow The Observer upstairs to the 29th floor. (The receptionist is required to enter guests’ names into the server to allow them upstairs.)

Broadway Partners has operated on a fundamentally short time span: All but one of the 19 office properties they’ve bought since June 2004 (and sold) were sold within less than two years. This strategy worked while it could: They sold 660 Madison Avenue in June 2007 for $375 million at $1,471 per square foot—setting the record for the highest sales price per square foot in the country. (Two months later, that record was broken when 450 Park Avenue sold for $1,589 per square foot.) They just never got the chance to sell most of the buildings they bought in 2006 and 2007 before the market crashed.

Between May 2006 and May 2007, according to The Real Deal, Broadway bought more real estate in Manhattan than all but two buyers: Tishman Speyer and Macklowe. Overall, they have spent more than $15 billion buying up office properties since their founding in 2000.

The Rise and Falling of New York’s Busiest Building Buyer