$1.4B Sale of Share in GM Building is NYC’s Biggest in Years

In a truly international deal, a 40 percent stake in Manhattan’s iconic General Motors Building traded hands last Friday for a reported $1.4 billion.

Darcy Stacom, of CBRE Group

In a truly international deal, a 40 percent stake in Manhattan’s iconic General Motors Building traded hands last Friday, it was announced yesterday by CBRE, which brokered the sale. A source close to the deal, but who insisted on anonymity, told Commercial Property Executive that the purchase was for $1.4 billion and that the building as a whole is valued at $3.4 billion.

The transaction is reportedly the largest New York investment sale since 2008.

The buyers were the Sungate Trust, formed for the benefit of the family of Zhang Xin, and M. Safra and Co. Inc., the New York–based investment firm of the Safra family.

The Safra family is, of course, the Lebanese-Brazilian-Jewish clan that has long been associated with private banking, hedge funds and philanthropy.

Ms. Zhang is, with her husband, Pan Shiyi, a co-founder of SOHO China, the largest CRE developer in Beijing, and one of the most prominent businesswomen in China.

The two buyers bought the 40 percent stake together, but in or as what specific structure was not disclosed.

The sellers were the Goldman Sachs U.S. Real Estate Opportunities I fund and Meraas Capital. Darcy Stacom

Bill Shanahan, of CBRE Group

and Bill Shanahan of CBRE Group arranged the sale, Meraas Capital was also advised by CBRE Global Investors, and Goldman Sachs served as financial advisor to U.S. Real Estate Opportunities I.

Meraas Capital (a division of Meraas Holding, of Dubai), Boston Properties and Goldman Sachs had purchased the GM Building, as part of a portfolio of prime office buildings in Manhattan, in 2008. Boston Properties continues to hold the other 60 percent ownership share in the building and also manages the tower.

Built in 1968 to a design by Edward Durell Stone, the GM Building occupies the entire block between Fifth and Madison avenues and 58th and 59th streets. Tenants of the 50-story, 2 million-square-foot tower include the Estee Lauder Companies; Icahn Enterprises; law firm Weil, Gotshal and Manges; and the Apple store on Fifth Avenue.