SL Green Lands $1.5B Financing for One Vanderbilt

Upon completion in 2020, the $3.1 billion Manhattan office tower will become the city's second-tallest building.

By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

One Vanderbilt, Manhattan
One Vanderbilt, Manhattan

New York—The final piece has fallen into place for SL Green’s One Vanderbilt, a 1.6 million-square-foot trophy office project that will sprout up just a stone’s throw from Grand Central Terminal in Midtown Manhattan. The REIT just secured construction financing to the tune of $1.5 billion for the project, which has a development price of approximately $3.1 billion.

This isn’t just any Class A office development. “One Vanderbilt is the most significant urban infill office building built in this country in the last 50 years,” John Guinee III, managing director with brokerage and investment banking firm Stifel Nicolaus, told Commercial Property Executive. “Assembling a full city block adjacent to Grand Central Terminal is a fairly astounding feat.”

More than a few members of the lending community agree, apparently. A consortium of financial institutions provided SL Green with the billion-five boost, with Wells Fargo N.A. leading the pack as administrative agent. The group also includes syndication agents The Bank of New York Mellon, JP Morgan Chase Bank, future property tenant TD Bank N.A. and Bank of China, as well as documentation agent Landesbank Baden-Württemberg. The facility features a maximum term of seven years and bears a 3.5 percent over LIBOR floating-interest rate with the option to decrease the spread based on certain achievements.

“Closing on the construction financing means that nothing stands in the way of One Vanderbilt becoming an iconic addition to the Manhattan skyline,” Robert Schiffer, managing director with SL Green, said in a prepared statement.

One Vanderbilt has been years in the making15 years, to be more accurate. The Kohn Pederson Fox-designed property is being developed on a site that was once home to a series of buildings, the first of which, 317 Madison Ave., SL Green acquired in 2001. The new office high-rise, the construction of which will be spearheaded by Tishman Construction, will be a high-tech, highly amenitized, substantially sustainable office destination linked to a 14,000-square-foot public plaza and directly connected to Grand Central via an underground passage. And when all is said and done, the 58-story structure will stand 1,401 feet tall and hold the distinction of being the tallest tower in Midtown and the second tallest building in the Big Apple. It’s an attractive package that TD Bank found irresistible, so much so that it inked a 20-year lease for 200,000 square feet two years ago.

However, SL Green is doing more than building a building; the REIT is also shelling out $220 million in infrastructural improvements at and near Grand Central as part of an agreement with the city of New York. The expenditures just keep adding up but SL Green, New York City’s largest commercial property owner, is hardly new to the game. “We think a billion dollars of value creation above the $3.1 billion construction cost can be achieved if leasing occurs as envisioned,” Guinee said.

Tishman is on track to commence vertical construction of One Vanderbilt in the second quarter of 2017. The instant icon of East Midtown is scheduled to open its doors in 2020.