ING Provides Financing for Olayan NYC Asset—Again

The bank provided a $570 million senior mortgage loan to refinance Manhattan's iconic Sony Building.

By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

550 Madison Ave., courtesy of Olayan America
550 Madison Ave., courtesy of Olayan America

New York—There’s something about Olayan America. Acting as administrative agent, ING Capital LL recently headed-up the refinancing of a $570 million senior mortgage loan collateralized by 550 Madison Ave., an 852,000-square-foot, mixed-use Manhattan office building owned by Olayan. The transaction marks the second time in five months that ING has come through with financing for the Americas investment arm of Saudi Arabia-based Olayan Group.

“ING is pleased to have earlier this year been the sole lender on the bridge loan for the acquisition of the property and, together with our co-lenders, is now further committed to financing the asset’s repositioning,” Craig Bender, managing director & head of U.S. real estate finance at ING, said in a prepared statement.

The ING-led financing consortium included co-lead arrangers and co-lead bookrunners Bank of East Asia New York Branch, Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Société Générale, and Natixis Real Estate Capital LLC. The opportunity to provide a half-billion dollars probably wasn’t a tough sell; the sponsorship and the premier status of the property tick two major boxes.

Designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee, 550 Madison first opened its doors in 1984 as the headquarters of AT&T. In 1992, Sony set up shop in the 37-story high-rise under a 770,000-square-foot lease, before acquiring it for $236 million in 2002. Fast forward to 2013, and Sony sells what had become known as the Sony Building to The Chetrit Group in a $1.1 billion sale-leaseback deal. And in June 2016, Olayan and asset manager Chelsfield picked up the property, now vacated by Sony, for $1.4 billion with the assistance of ING. ING had stepped up as sole lender on the $570 million senior secured bridge loan for the partners’ purchase of the asset, which also features prime retail square footage fronting Madison Avenue, and exhibition and museum space.

The refinancing of 550 Madison marks ING’s third collaboration on a premier asset with Olayan. In 2014, ING, acting as global coordinator and financial advisor, spearheaded a group that provided debt financing for Olayan and London-headquartered Chelsfield’s acquisition of a 750,000-square-foot Paris real estate portfolio.

With the closing of the refinancing of 550 Madison, Olayan and Chelsfield are ready to take the iconic property to new heights through a repositioning program entailing renovations and space reconfigurations. “The lending group has provided us with financing that gives us the time and flexibility we need to maximize the building’s value,” Nadim Tabbara, CFO of The Olayan Group, noted in prepared remarks.