June 14, 2011
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor
Like bees to honey, investors are attracted to the increasingly hot Manhattan office market and Invesco Real Estate is no exception. The company just acquired a stake in 230 Park Ave., the 1.4 million square-foot tower formerly known as the Helmsley Building, in a $750 million recapitalization deal.
As per terms of the transaction, Invesco bought out the ownership stake belonging to Goldman Sachs’ Whitehall Real Estate Funds, which had joined Monday Properties in the acquisition of the office asset from Dubai’s Istithmar World for nearly $1.2 billion in December 2007. Monday Properties will serve as the operating partner of the partnership with Invesco.
A 34-story tower designed in the beaux-arts style, 230 Park first opened its doors in 1929 as the headquarters of the New York Central Railroad Co. The landmark property has certainly come a long way in terms of sustainability, as it achieved LEED for Existing Buildings Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council last year and now holds the distinction of being New York City’s first pre-war office building to earn LEED-EB certification.
Monday Properties, which began managing the property 13 years ago, will maintain its role as both manager and leasing agent for 230 Park. Currently, the building’s tenant roster includes the likes of healthcare products researcher and developer Novartis and global insurance products and services provider ING, which extended its occupancy to 209,600 square feet in 2008.
At present, as Monday Properties told CPE, the owners are not disclosing the occupancy level at 230 Park. However, given New York City’s improving office vacancy rate, which is 9.9 percent compared to the U.S. average of 17.7 percent according to a first quarter report by commercial real estate services firm Grubb & Ellis, the company may not face too much of a challenge filling any vacant space this year.
The recapitalization of the asset marks just one of several such transactions that have transpired in the Manhattan office market this year. Activity on Park Ave. has been particularly lively. SL Green Realty Corp. and Vornado Realty Trust formed a joint venture uniting their aggregate $400 million mezzanine debt position at 280 Park Ave., and a couple of months later, the partners announced a recapitalization and redevelopment deal for the 1.2 million square-foot property with equity partners Broadway Partners and Investcorp that placed the total capitalization of the asset at an estimated $1.4 billion. Carlton Advisory Services Inc. announced the completion of a $430 million equity and debt recapitalization and restructure at the 1 million square-foot office facility at One Park Avenue.
Additionally, Broadway Partners formed a joint venture with Brookfield Office Properties to recapitalize the ownership of the 1.6 million square-foot asset at 450 W. 3rd St., and SL Green and the Moinian Group announced that the approximately 770,000 square-foot property known as 3 Columbus Circle had been recapitalized in a $250 million deal that included a $138 million equity investment by SL Green.