Apr 13, 2016

Jehovah’s Witnesses’ lock down deal for $700M Brooklyn plot

New York Post
April 13, 2016

Jehovah’s Witnesses
The Jehovah’s Witnesses appear to have achieved a handshake with their BFFs: Jared Kushner, Aby Rosen and LVWRK.

The pricing is roughly $700 million for the Witnesses’ 733,000-square-foot world headquarters at 25-30 Columbia Heights and a 1.1-million-square-foot as-of-right development site at 85 Jay St.

The same group purchased 1.2 million square feet in Dumbo Heights for $375 million in 2013 from the Witnesses and are now leasing to such companies as WeWork and Etsy.

Tech outfits have been circling the Brooklyn waterfront properties — and the large “Watchtower” on the sign could someday be swapped for a name like “Facebook.”

Bob Knakal of Cushman & Wakefield has been running the sale for the Witnesses, who are moving to Warwick, NY.

Multiple contracts were handed out for the properties and, so far, all are unsigned.

There has been interest globally, and local bidders have included L&L Holding, East End Capital, Equity One and Vornado Realty Trust. When reached, the parties declined comment.

Norges Bank and Trinity Church are in the midst of quietly choosing a managing operating partner for their 11 jointly owned commercial properties.

Those who are making presentations last week include Hines, Scott Rechler’s RXR Realty, Silverstein Properties and Tishman Speyer Properties.

At the end of last year, Norges paid $1.56 billion for a 44 percent stake in a 75-year lease for the Trinity Church majority-owned commercial properties, revaluing them at $3.5 billion.
But Trinity always knew it would be bringing in another seasoned team to manage and operate.

Sources said the pay-to-play winner could buy a stake of up to 5 percent from Trinity’s share and earn fees.

Darcy Stacom and Bill Shanahan of CBRE, who advised Trinity on the original sales process, are vetting the parties. Trinity had also brought in former Vornado Realty Trust executives Michelle Felman and Wendy Silverstein as independent consultants. The parties declined comment or could not be reached.

The 4.9 million square feet in Hudson Square includes 12-16 Vestry, also known as One Hudson Square; 10 Hudson Square; 200, 205, 345, 350 and 435 Hudson St.; 75 and 225 Varick; and 100 and 155 Sixth Ave.

J. Crew has sewed up about 60,000 square feet at The Factory in Long Island City for its Madewell division.

The 10-year deal includes 17,433 square feet on the fourth floor as well as half of the super-special 10th-floor penthouse. It has an open 42,183 square feet with 35-foot-high ceilings and skylights, plus a roof terrace.

Building owners Atlas Capital, Invesco and Square Mile Capital are nearing completion of a $20 million capital improvement program. This includes a new entrance plus a refurbished lobby, public corridors, restrooms and operable windows.

Modal Trigger
The Factory in Long Island City.
“They are recognizing this is a preeminent iconic building in Long Island City that is delivering the authentic campus community that today’s tenants are seeking,” said Brian Waterman of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, who repped the owners.

Waterman led the NGKF team of Howard Kesseler, Jordan Gosin and Brett Bedevian. The building has average asking rents in the mid-to-high $40s per square foot, plus incentives.

David Goldstein and Gabe Morans of Savills Studley represented J. Crew.

The retailer will be moving Madewell from Vornado Realty Trust’s 770 Broadway at Astor Place, where rents are busting $100 per square foot and floors are getting gobbled up by Facebook.

In an e-mail, a spokeswoman for J. Crew said the decade-old Madewell “is being transitioned into its own office space to operate with greater distinction and [to] develop more independent processes.”

The 1920s Factory was originally built for Macy’s and, coincidently, that retailer has now returned with a lease for 150,000 square feet. Ralph Lauren, Gwynnie Bee and United Health are other Factory tenants.

The winners of the coveted Real Estate Board of New York’s Most Ingenious Deals of 2015 were announced at Tuesday night’s sales brokers’ party at 101 Park Ave.

The first place Henry Hart Rice Achievement Award was won by Justin DiMare, Mark Weiss and Howard Kesseler of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank for their “Land swap between the City of New York, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Hunter College” at 525 E. 73rd St.

The second place Robert T. Lawrence Memorial Award was taken home by Lauren Crowley Corrinet, Gregory Tosko and Sacha Zarba of CBRE for “An Affair to Remember, the Empire State Building Stays LinkedIn: How CBRE Inspired an Icon to Innovate for Technology’s Most Innovative Company” at 350 Fifth Ave.

The third place Edward S. Gordon Memorial Award went to Alan Goodkin of the Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Group for arranging construction financing for EmblemHealth at Brooklyn’s 101 Pennsylvania Ave.

This is the third win for Weiss and Tosko’s seventh — tying his CBRE colleague Mary Ann Tighe’s Ingenious Deal-winning record. This is the first award for everyone else.


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