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NYC office tower seeks more than $650M; LeFrak closes $372M NJ sale

Commercial real estate

* The 35-story 575 Lexington Ave. office tower in Manhattan, N.Y., is being placed on the market by its ownership group with an asking price of more than $650 million, Commercial Observer reported, citing a source familiar with the sale. The 745,500-square-foot property is owned by a joint venture between Normandy Real Estate Partners, Angelo Gordon & Co. and George Comfort & Sons.

Citing data from CoStar Group, the report noted that the 1950s-era property previously changed hands for $360 million in 2012. WeWork Cos. Inc. occupies 117,000 square feet across five floors at the property.

* LeFrak Organization Inc. closed the $372 million sale of its waterfront property in Jersey City, N.J., to Harbor Group International LLC, Commercial Observer reported, citing multiple sources. Morgan Stanley provided $251 million in acquisition financing, with participation from Barclays, the sources told Commercial Observer.

The 866,706-square-foot property at 545 Washington Blvd., also known as Newport Office Centre IV, is 96% leased.

* Phoenix Realty Group and Artimus Construction received almost $181 million in construction financing for a 25-story mixed-use affordable housing project in Queens, N.Y.'s Jamaica neighborhood, The Real Deal reported, citing public records filed with the city. The Housing Development Corp. provided $124.8 million, and the Housing Preservation and Development department provided $56 million, the report noted, citing a Housing Development spokesperson.

The 543-unit project will have 135 market-rate units, with the rest set to be affordable.

* BentallGreenOak and Synergy Investments are considering selling the Center Plaza office property in Boston, Bloomberg News reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter. The over 740,000-square-foot property consists of three interconnected buildings that could be sold for more than $550 million, the sources said. The asset is about 90% leased.

* The Trump Organization LLC set a Jan. 23 deadline for interested parties to submit their bids for the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., The Wall Street Journal reported. The real estate business of U.S. President Donald Trump was originally seeking more than $500 million for the hotel's lease rights, people familiar with the matter told the publication.

Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., Marriott International Inc. and other major hotel brands have also expressed interest, although the people added that most of these brands are more likely to team up with a buyer to manage the hotel than to acquire the lease rights.

* Downtown Chicago's office market logged more than 2 million square feet of new space absorption in 2019, marking a nearly 50% jump from 2018, The Real Deal reported, citing MB Real Estate. The total figure was also the highest in the central business district since 2007, with the West Loop accounting for 1.8 million square feet, the report noted.

The vacancy rate increased to 12.8% in 2019 from 12.6% in 2018.

* Greenlight Communities LLC plans to invest $325 million to develop apartment communities and deliver 2,500 units in metro Phoenix in the next two years, the Phoenix Business Journal reported. The developer has four projects in the works and is in the process of acquiring land for another six projects.

After the bell

* Prologis Inc. closed its acquisition of the wholly owned real estate assets of Industrial Property Trust Inc. for roughly $4 billion in cash, including the assumption and repayment of debt.

* Medical Properties Trust Inc. wrapped up its nearly £1.5 billion purchase of the real estate interests of 30 hospitals in the U.K.


* Susan Wachter, professor of real estate and finance at the Wharton School of Pennsylvania university, expects home prices in first-tier U.S. cities to see a deeper pullback, with some places expected to see double-digit price declines in 2020, Financial Times reported. The publication also featured industry experts' forecasts for the Canadian, Latin American and Caribbean markets.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng increased 1.68% to 28,561.00, while the Nikkei 225 was up 2.31% to 23,739.87.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 inched up 0.55% to 7,616.24, and the Euronext 100 rose 0.49% to 1,161.09.

On the macro front

The jobless claims report, the EIA natural gas report, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply report are due out today.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

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