Japanese Company Buys NYC Office for $468M

UNIZO Holdings purchased 685 Third Ave., a 31-story building in Midtown Manhattan, from a joint venture between TH Real Estate, an affiliate of Nuveen, and Future Fund of Australia.

685 Third Ave., NYC
685 Third Ave., NYC

A partnership of TH Real Estate, an affiliate of Nuveen (the investment management arm of TIAA), and Future Fund, Australia’s sovereign wealth fund, has sold 685 Third Ave., a 31-story, 651,400-square-foot office building in Midtown Manhattan, to UNIZO Holdings Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, for a gross sale price of $467.5 million, TH announced.

TH Real Estate had acquired the building as a value-add investment from Pfizer for $190 million in July 2010, when it was virtually vacant. Until mid-2010, Pfizer had occupied 95 percent of the building, a TH spokesperson told Commercial Property Executive.

TH then developed what it describes as “an ambitious asset management plan” and sold a 49.99 percent interest to Future Fund.

From 2011 through 2013, TH executed a complete repositioning of the building, which included renovations to the lobby, an improved pocket park and the addition of fast-casual dining such as Luke’s Lobster. (The cost of that redevelopment is undisclosed.)

The follow-on office leasing program ultimately attracted a wide array of tenants including Sales Force, Tribune Media and Crain’s. The building is currently 93 percent occupied.

The successful redevelopment combined with the property’s central Grand Central/UN submarket location and strong tenancy resulted in multiple offers from a mix of foreign and domestic institutional investors,” Giacomo Barbieri, TH Real Estate’s managing director & regional head, New York Metro Investments, said in a prepared statement. “We believe this is a testament to the continued demand for well-positioned New York office assets, despite the maturity of the cycle.’’

Bill Shanahan and Darcy Stacom of CBRE represented the sellers.

UNIZO’s biggest Manhattan purchase so far?

This is UNIZO’s sixth New York City purchase, and it appears to be rather a departure from the other five buildings the company currently owns in Manhattan, which are both vintage buildings and more modest in size. The properties are 440 9th Ave. (400,900 square feet, built 1927), 321 W. 44th St. (240,000 square feet, built 1928), 40 W. 25th St. (136,200 square feet, built 1913), 24-28 W. 25th St. (133,200 square feet, built 1911) and 370 Lexington Ave. (313,100 square feet, built 1928).

UNIZO also owns eight properties in Washington, D.C.

Image courtesy of TH Real Estate