Savanna, Monday Properties Sell 260 KSF 386 Park Ave. S.

Savanna and Monday Properties have sold a 20-story building in the heart of Midtown Manhattan for reportedly between $110 million and $113 million.

 By Gail Kalinoski, Contributing Editor

The Midtown South office market continues to be strong as 386 Park Avenue South changes hands for a reported $110 million to $113 million, giving at least one of the sellers “a very compelling return” on its investment.

Savanna, a New York-based real estate private equity and asset management firm, and Monday Properties said this week they had completed the sale of the 20-story, 260,000-square-foot building to William Macklowe Company.

The sellers did not disclose the price, but The New York Post reported it as between $110 and $113 million.

Savanna acquired the majority stake in the Art Deco building at the corner of Park Avenue South and 27th Street in 2010, reportedly for 44.2 million. Monday Properties had paid $70.6 million in 2006. In April 2011, the Savanna and Monday Properties JV launched a $30 million capital improvement plan to upgrade the building, which had been completed in 1927. Improvements included a redesigned and upgraded lobby, new windows, elevators, common areas, restrooms and heating and air conditioning system.

While the improvements were ongoing, Savanna and Monday Properties renewed a 12,000-square-foot lease with Chase Bank for ground-floor retail space. Several office tenants were also signed prior to the sale, including HFP Capital Markets, L.L.C., which took a 13,100-square-foot, full-floor lease, and Global Industries, which also leased a full floor. Sugar Publishing leased two floors.

“Our investment in and repositioning of the asset, combined with the rapidly rising Park Avenue South leasing market, made this asset particularly attractive to buyers,” said Tom Farrell, Savanna vice president.

The JV hired Eastdil Secured to market the property for sale “and the response was tremendous,” said Farrell.

“The result was over a two times multiple on invested equity and a very compelling return,” Farrell added.

Brian Robin, chief operating office at Monday Properties, pointed to the hot office leasing market in the Midtown South district.

“The vitality of Midtown South brought us an excellent opportunity to trade out of this exceptional asset well in advance of our initial investment plan,” he said.

CBRE reported in its October 2012 MarketView Manhattan Snapshot that overall leasing activity in Manhattan for September was 2.01 million square feet with Midtown South coming in second with 320,000 square feet compared to Midtown’s 1.42 million square feet. In August, Midtown South leased 330,000 square feet. So far this year, the submarket has seen 3.92 million square feet of office leases signed.

The vacancy rate for Midtown South in September was 4.8 percent compared to 6.8 percent in September 2011. The average asking rent had risen to $53.40 per square foot this September from $44.66 per square foot the prior September, according to the CBRE report.

Reports from both Cushman & Wakefield and the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership credit the tech sector as helping drive the Midtown South office leasing boom in the past year.

“Midtown South continues its multi-quarter trend of being the most popular and active commercial office leasing market in New York City,” the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership noted in its Flatiron District Market Snapshot for the first half of 2012. “This popularity has been largely driven by the tech, new media and creative sectors, which have found welcoming communities, landlords, amenities, accessibility and reasonable prices in locations like Flatiron, one of the neighborhoods that comprise the Midtown South submarket.”

The partnership’s report stated that asking rents had risen to their highest levels since 2008 with rents ranging from $42 to $56 per square foot and at least one recent lease getting about $80 per square foot.