RREEF Details $290M Investment in Manhattan Retail Condo

The mezzanine loan underscores the investment management firm's record of pursuing blue-chip retail properties in Manhattan.

The $290 million loan provided by RREEF Real Estate for a Midtown Manhattan retail condominium underscores the investment management firm’s recent record of pursuing blue-chip retail properties in the city.  For the 123,000-square-foot retail condominium at 717 Fifth Ave., RREFF supplied owners  SL Green Realty Corp. and Jeff Sutton with a 9 percent fixed-rate mezzanine loan, the company said yesterday. RREEF added that it acted on behalf of a German institutional investor.

The 717 Fifth Ave. refinancing followed RREEF’s investment in an 11,800-square-foot retail condo space at 415 W. 13th St., leased to apparel store AllSaints Spitalfields under a long-term agreement. RREEF also snapped up a retail condo occupied by ScoopNYC at 473-475 Broadway. Both transactions were off-market.

RREEF cites New York, along with Miami and San Francisco, as key target markets, given their status as relatively prosperous metropolitan areas with  high constraints on supply.  “As the retail sector increasingly sorts between winners and losers, those centers at the top will face less effective competition, providing disproportionate gains in occupancy and rents,”  RREEF notes in a recent U.S. research report. “Thus, investors must be especially discriminating in their acquisitions and strategies as well, passing on the commodity assets and seeking out the truly dominant properties and supply-constrained markets. High street retail and upscale centers should outperform overall.”

Given the quality and prominent location of the asset, then, RREEF’s interest in 717 Fifth Ave. comes as no surprise. The retail condo spans four stories beginning at street level. Even though the property opened in 1959, renovations and expansions in 1993 and 2001 have maintained its Class A luster. Since SL Green acquired its stake in 717 Fifth in 2006, a repositioning and lease-up program has added the flagship stores of high-end retailers Giorgio Armani and Dolce & Gabbana to the tenant roster.

As previously reported by CPE,  SL Green and Sutton completed their refinancing package for 717 Fifth Ave. with a $300 million fixed-rate mortgage loan originated by New York Life and TIAA-CREF. SL Green also sold 50 percent of its stake in the retail condo to Sutton in a deal that values the asset at $618 million. While the focus was on the building’s retail portion, the transaction also involved a portion of the 26-story building’s office segment.