Norges Grabs Minority Stake in NYC’s Monumental Tower

Norwegian investment fund Norges Bank Investment Management is at it again, this time targeting Times Square.
Jeff Schotz, SJP

Jeff Schotz, SJP Properties

Norges Bank Investment Management has acquired a 45 percent interest in 11 Times Square for $401.9 million, valuing the 1.1 million-square-foot office and retail tower in midtown Manhattan at $1.4 billion.

NBIM, the asset management division of Norges Bank, the Norwegian central bank, and manager of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund, said it had formed a joint venture with majority owners Prudential Real Estate Investors and SJP Properties. PREI will be responsible for asset management and SJP Properties will manage, lease and operate the property.

The deal includes the assumption of the debt, which NBIM said is a $507 million mortgage.

CBRE marketed the minority interest for PREI and SJP Properties, which completed the skyscraper in 2010. A news release from PREI and SJP Properties noted the minority sale attracted “significant interested from a global roster of international organizations and sovereign wealth funds.”

The 40-story tower has about 1,050,000 square feet of office space and 50,000 square feet of retail. Located at 42nd Street and 8th Avenue in the heart of Times Square, the LEED Gold-certified building is almost 90 percent occupied with global law firm Proskauer occupying 400,000 square feet and Microsoft Corp. taking 200,000 square feet. Tenants from finance, technology, legal and media industries also lease space there.

“This transaction is a reflective of Eleven Times Square’s position as a premier destination for leading global and local companies,” Jeff Schotz, SJP Properties’ executive vice president, said in the release. “Given the success of our leasing program and robust demand for our remaining premium tower space, we believe that now is an appropriate time to recapitalize the building as we look for opportunities to further expand our New York metropolitan market presence.”

Kevin Smith, a PREI senior managing director and head of the Americas business, said the deal with NBIM allowed it to retain control of the trophy asset with its original partner “while also allowing PREI to redeploy capital into other core investments that provide steady returns for our investors.”

Eleven Times Square is just the latest investment in American office assets for NBIM. The firm began investing in the United States in a big way in February 2013, when it took a 49.9 percent stake in a group of five East Coast office buildings with TIAA-CREF for about $1.2 billion. NBIM formed a JV with MetLife in December 2013 and acquired a 47.5 percent stake in Boston’s One Financial Center. Last year, NBIM made several more office purchases in Boston, including the 34-story One Beacon St. for about $561 million. Several acquisitions have been made in Washington, D.C., including the Hall of States building in the Capital Hill submarket that it acquired in November in a JV with TIAA-CREF. In September, affiliates of NBIM bought 45 percent interests in two Boston and one Manhattan office buildings from Boston Properties.