SL Green to Sell Manhattan Office Tower for $953M

Keen investor interest in the Amazon-anchored asset, which is undergoing a $650 million makeover, altered the plan for a long-term hold.

410 Tenth Avenue. Image via Google Street View

SL Green Realty Corp. has inked a contract to sell 410 Tenth Avenue, its office redevelopment project in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards area. The REIT and its partners will trade the 636,000-square-foot high-rise for $952.5 million.

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The announcement of the pending disposition of 410 Tenth Avenue comes 18 months after SL Green acquired a controlling 70.9 percent interest in the office and retail asset in a transaction valued at $440 million. SL Green had originally planned to hold the freestanding, corner property as a long-term investment, but the REIT soon changed its mind. “We did get approached with some interesting offers and decided to test the market,” Andrew Mathias, president & director of SL Green Realty Corp. said during the company’s third quarter 2020 earnings conference call on October 22.

Previously known as 460 W. 34th St., 410 Tenth Avenue first debuted in 1927 as the Master Printers Building. SL Green is in the midst of an approximately $650 million comprehensive redevelopment of the 20-story tower, and is facilitating the project with the assistance of a $600 million construction loan obtained through a consortium led by Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo Bank N.A. in September 2020. The property is already fully leased, with Amazon and First Republic Bank serving as anchors after having signed lease agreements in 2019 for roughly 335,400 and 211,500 square feet, respectively.

“The sale is consistent with the company’s strategy of monetizing high-value, low cap rate assets to fund share repurchase,” David Rodgers, senior research analyst with Robert W. Baird & Co., told Commercial Property Executive. “There is no doubt that the actions at 410 Tenth [will] create value for shareholders. So, as a stand-alone transaction, it appears to have been well executed.” Under the terms terms of the sale agreement, SL Green and partners will retain a 5 percent interest through completion of the redevelopment project, which is scheduled for the third quarter of 2021. Darcy Stacom of CBRE represented SL Green in the transaction and if all goes as planned, it will close by the end of 2020.

Business as usual

As noted during SL Green’s third quarter conference call, the REIT has been actively selling mature and non-core assets since 2015, and 2020 is no exception. “This is all part of a long-term plan. Volumes may be altered slightly by COVID-19, but really nothing new here,” Marc Holliday, chairman & CEO of SL Green Realty Corp., said during the call. In May, SL Green signed a deal to sell its newly repositioned retail condominium at 609 Fifth Ave. for $168 million. One month later, the REIT and its joint venture partner entered into a contract to sell the 126-unit multifamily building at 400 E. 58th St. in Manhattan’s Sutton Place neighborhood for $62 million. SL Green’s strategy has its advantages, but it’s not without its risks. “Selling high-quality assets, however, does have the impact of reducing portfolio quality and cash flow stability over time,” Rodgers told CPE.

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