Investment Firm Takes 145 East 57th Street Penthouse



A private equity firm has snagged the newly constructed penthouse at ABS Partners Real Estate’s 145 East 57th Street, also known as the Hammacher Schlemmer building, Commercial Observer has learned.

Speyside Equity has inked a five-year deal for the 2,650-square-foot suite on the top floor of the 12-story, 64,000-square-foot office building between Third and Lexington Avenues, according to information from the landlord. Asking rent for the in Midtown East space was $80 a square foot.

The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based firm, which invests in metal, chemical and food manufacturing companies, will move from subleased office space in the Paramount Building at 1501 Broadway between West 43rd and 44th Streets. Its new home will have floor-to-ceiling glass windows looking out on 57th Street, 14-foot ceilings and a large private terrace.

Speyside Founder Kevin Daugherty said in prepared remarks that the new office would allow the company to “expand our team as we raise our next fund in the coming months.” He added, “We are excited about the space and feel it will really create an attractive and energetic environment for our team.”

The firm raised $130 million in 2016 for its first institutional fund, according to industry reports.

ABS’ John BrodRobert Finkelstein and Alex Kaskel handled the transaction in-house. Speyside was represented by Town Commercial’s Nancy Shapiro. A spokeswoman for ABS didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

“It has pretty spectacular outdoor space for commercial,” Shapiro told CO. “It’s beautiful, it’s modern, it’s clean. It’s a very upscale space. They wanted something that would reflect more on the work they do, which is taking these struggling manufacturing businesses and putting them in a better state.”

ABS purchased the 64,000-square-foot, 1926 commercial property for $63 million in October 2016, according to property records. It renovated the building into boutique office space with six floors of prebuilt space, stainless steel appliances and a curated art display in the lobby.


Investment Banking Firm Heads to SL Green’s 521 Fifth Avenue

Investment brokerage Laidlaw & Company is moving one block within Midtown.

The 170-year-old investment banking and securities firm inked a 10-year deal for 20,987 square feet on the entire 12th floor at 521 Fifth Avenue, between East 43rd and 44th Streets. Asking rent for the space wasn’t immediately available.

Laidlaw will relocate from 546 Fifth Avenue, which is only a block and a half away between West 45th and 46th Streets, in the second quarter of 2018.

“Fifth Avenue continues to be a premier business address and buildings like 521 Fifth Avenue, which are centrally-located, convenient to mass transit and have the benefit of institutional ownership will continue to outperform the market,” said SL Green Executive Vice President Steven Durels in prepared remarks.

Jonathan Plotkin and Tim Pond of Colliers International handled the deal for Laidlaw & Company. SL Green was represented by Cushman & Wakefield’s Tara StacomBarry ZellerJustin Royce and Pierce Hance. Spokespeople for both brokerages didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Other tenants in the 39-story office building include ChinaTrust Commercial BankMcGraw Communications and Financial Guaranty Insurance Company. The property’s ground floor retail is occupied mostly by Equinox and Urban Outfitters.

Lender Varagon Capital Inks 28K-SF Deal to Relocate Within Midtown



Varagon Capital Partners, an asset manager that focuses on lending to middle-market companies, has signed a 28,316-square-foot deal at Fisher Brother’s 299 Park Avenue to relocate its offices, Commercial Observer has learned.

The lender will occupy the entire third floor of the 42-story, 1.2-million-square-foot building between East 48th and East 49th Streets.

The asking rent in the deal was in the high $80s per square foot, according to a source with knowledge of the transaction. The length of the deal was not immediately clear. 

Varagon was formed in 2014 with backing from American International Group and affiliates of Oak Hill Capital Management. It is moving from the 22nd floor of 488 Madison Avenue between East 51st and East 52nd Streets by the end of this year. There the company has 10,360 square feet, according to CoStar Group.

CBRE’s Leo Paytas and Conor Denihan handled the deal for Varagon. Fisher Brothers was represented in-house by Marc Packman and Clark Briffel, and a Newmark Knight Frank team led of David FalkPeter ShimkinAndrew SachsEric Cagner and Andrew Peretz. Representatives for CBRE and NKF did not immediately return requests for comment and information.

Fisher Brothers expects to begin a David Rockwell-designed renovation of 299 Park Avenue early next year, which will include a new lobby, revitalized entrance that will allow more light from outside and an illuminated plaza. The work will cost approximately $20 million.

“Our capital improvement program at 299 Park Avenue is going much deeper than a standard refresh and completely transforming the aesthetic of the building with a sleek design and modern feel,” Winston Fisher, a partner at Fisher Brothers, said in a prepared statement. “We are pleased to welcome Varagon to the growing roster of blue-chip tenants [at] 299 Park Avenue.”

Existing tenants in the 1967 building include Capital One and UBS.

Wealth Management Firm for Blackstone Co-Founder Moves Within Midtown



Peterson Management, which manages the family assets of Peter Peterson,Blackstone Group co-founder and former Lehman Brothers chief executive officer, is heading to the former Citigroup headquarters on Park Avenue.

The firm will relocate from 26,000 square feet at Paramount Group’s 712 Fifth Avenue to 40,000 square feet of offices at Boston Properties’ 399 Park Avenue, The Real Deal reported. The outfit led by Peterson’s son, Michael Peterson, will set up shop in a penthouse-like space that includes outdoor terraces and a glass box constructed on top of the building’s setback. Rents in the 15-year lease start at $130 a square foot and rise to $150 a square foot towards the end of the term, according to TRD.

Seth Hecht of Cushman & Wakefield and Joseph Conwell of Philadelphia-based GPX Realty Partners represented Peterson. (GPX Realty is a subsidiary of private investment firm GPX Enterprises, another company headed by Michael Peterson.) It wasn’t immediately clear who represented the landlord.

A spokesman for C&W declined to comment, and Boston Properties’ spokeswoman didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The wealth management company will relocate along with the nonprofit Peterson Foundation, which Peter Peterson launched in 2008 to focus on fiscal sustainability and national debt.


Financial Adviser Adds Nearly 17K SF on Same Block as Its HQ



Betterment Holdings has taken 16,909 square feet at 53 West 23rd Street toaccommodate the investment management company’s growthThe Wall Street Journal reported. The building is between Fifth Avenue and Avenue of the Americas, on the same block as its headquarters, which are at 61 West 23rd Street.

The new space spans the entire fourth floor, a spokesman for landlord Adams & Co., told Commercial Observer. James Buslik and Alan Bonnet, both of Adams & Co., represented the company in-house in the deal. Mike Matthias of Savills Studleyrepresented Betterment.

Betterment signed a five-year lease in the 12-story 1915 building with an asking rent of $66 per square foot, the Adams & Co. spokesman said. The company moved into the space last month.

Notable office tenants include millennial news site Elite Dailywhich is in 22,255 square feet, as CO previously reported. The media company took the entire 12th floor from Tremor Video, which moved to Times Square. Saks IncorporatedAnthony Lawrence of NY4 Kids Entertainment and W.B. Mason, are also office tenants. Electronics and home appliance retailer P.C. Richard & Son is in the property’s retail space, occupying three floors for just less than 38,000 square feet, according to CoStar Group.

The Adams & Co. brokers didn’t respond with a comment, and nor did a spokesman for Savills Studley

Broker-dealer inks 22K lease at SL Green’s 521 Fifth Avenue

Asking rent was $70 per sf

Asking rent was $70 per sf

Broker-dealer KGS-Alpha Capital Markets is taking more than 20,000 square feet in SL Green Realty’s 521 Fifth Avenue.

The company inked a lease for 22,368 square feet at the 503-foot-tall office tower, formerly known as the Lefcourt Colonial Building. The asking rent was $70 per square foot, the New York Post reported. KGS is moving from its current location at Boston Properties’ 601 Lexington Avenue, where it reportedly subleases about 30,000 square feet.

Cushman & Wakefield’s Tara Stacom, Justin Royce, Matthias Li and Barry Zeller represented SL Green. KGS was represented by Savills Studley’s Jeffrey Peck, Daniel Horowitz and Chris Foerch.

SL Green bought the building in 2006 as part of a joint venture, but took complete control of the property in 2011. In 2012, the real estate investment trust sold a 49.5 percent equity interest at the tower to Plaza Global Real Estate Partners for $72 million. Other tenants in the 409,000-square-foot building include RKF, CFC Capital and Equinox Fitness.

Global Securities Company Grabs 29K SF at Charles S. Cohen’s 623 Fifth Avenue

A technology-focused trading firm specializing in global securities has signed a two-floor lease to relocate its corporate headquarters to Fifth Avenue, Commercial Observer has learned.

Arxis Capital will occupy 29,000 square feet at the 400,000-square-foot 623 Fifth Avenue, according to a press release provided by landlord Charles S. Cohen

623 Fifth Avenue. Photo: CoStar Group. 

623 Fifth Avenue.
Photo: CoStar Group. 

“We’re delighted that one of the highly successful, new breed of technology-driven financial firms, has chosen 623 Fifth Avenue for their home,” Cohen, the head of Cohen Brothers Realty, said in prepared remarks.

Asking rent in the transaction was $95 per square foot, the release indicates. A source familiar with the deal said the lease is for five years.

Arxis, which was founded in 2014 by former Bank of America Merrill Lynch executives, is based at 527 Madison Avenue between East 53rd and East 54th Streets. The move will be a major upgrade for the company, as it leases 7,500 square feet at its current digs, a source said.

Silvio Petriello, Alexander Golod and Ben Friedland of CBRE represented the tenant, while Marc Horowitz of Cohen Brothers Realty along with a team from Colliers International. The tenant’s brokers declined to comment via a spokeswoman.

Formerly dubbed the Swiss Bank Tower, the building is also home to the flagship Saks Fifth Avenue store. The retailer leases nearly 80,000 square feet at the base of the 36-story structure, according to CoStar Group.  

Commercial Observer, Terence Cullen, Sept. 9, 2016, 11:45 a.m.

Related Woos Digital Trading Provider to 55 Hudson Yards From Fisher Brothers’ 299 Park

MarketAxess, which provides an electronic trading platform for investors, is the latest firm to decide to move to Related Companies’ planned 55 Hudson Yards office building.

The tenant has signed an 83,000-square-foot lease at the 1.3-million-square-foot office tower, which will be a part of the overall 17-million-square-foot Hudson Yards complex. Related is partnering with Mitsui Fudosan America and Oxford Properties Group to build the tower.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed. MarketAxess will occupy three full floors in the future building at 11th Avenue between West 33rd and West 34th Streets, according to The New York Post, which first reported news of the deal. It was not immediately clear on which floors the company will be based.

“Hudson Yards represents a perfect fit for our corporate mission to deliver innovative technology solutions to our clients,” Richard McVey, the chief executive officer of MarketAxess, said in a statement. “It is transformative, exciting, efficient and environmentally friendly.”

MarketAxess will relocate its global headquarters from Fisher Brothers’ 299 Park Avenue between East 48th and East 49th Streets, where it has the entire 27,900-square-foot 10th floor, according to CoStar Group. The firm will move 250 employees into 55 Hudson Yards after it is completed in 2018, a Related spokeswoman told Commercial Observer without providing further details.

 By Liam La Guerre, Commercial Observer, Aug. 23, 2016, 2 p.m.

Two Firms Relocating Within Midtown to William Kaufman Organization’s 437 Madison Avenue

An energy firm and a litigation finance company have each signed deals at 437 Madison Avenue between East 49th and East 50th Streets, combining for more than 12,000 square feet, Commercial Observer has learned.


Terra-Gen, which specializes in renewable energy, signed a 6,871-square-foot lease for part of the 22nd floor, according to a press release from landlord William Kaufman Organization. The company signed a five-year deal at the 850,000-square-foot property. 

It will move to the building at the end of this year, leaving behind 1095 Avenue of the Americas between West 41st and West 42nd Streets, also known as 3 Bryant Park. Terra-Gen subleases roughly 17,000 square feet at that location, according to CoStar Group.  

John Fitzsimons of Cushman & Wakefield represented the tenant and did not immediately return a request for comment via a spokesman.

Asking rent at the 40-story building ranges from $80 to $110 per square foot, according to the release.

Bentham Capital, a financial firm that funds plaintiffs and law firms in major cases, signed a deal to relocate to the Midtown property. The company has inked a 10-year lease for 5,261 square feet of built-to-suit space on part of the 19th floor, the release indicates.

The firm will move from 885 Third Avenue between East 53rd and East 54th Streets, where CoStar indicates it currently leases 3,864 square feet

Lance Korman and Brian Waterman of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank represented the tenant and did not immediately return a request for comment via a spokeswoman.

Michael Lenchner of Sage Realty Corporation, the leasing and management wing of William Kaufman Organization, represented the landlord in-house for both deals along with Frank Doyle, David Kleiner, Cynthia Wasserberger, Hayley Shoener and Harlan Webster of JLL.

The building “continues to be an attractive option for companies seeking a fully modernized office tower with world-class amenities and high-end finishes in a classic Midtown location near Grand Central Terminal,” Lenchner said in prepared remarks.

- Commercial Observer, By Terence Cullen Aug. 16, 2016, 4:43 p.m.