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We think we know why George Comfort & Sons really purchased Worldwide Plaza for a reported $590M in the “deal of the downturn” last summer—the property has two Starbucks. We were on hand at a Metropolitan NY Chapter of the Appraisal Institute lunch on Tuesday to hear the latest from George Comfort CEO Peter Duncan.
Brown Harris Stevens' Sharon Locatell, George Comfort & Sons' Peter Duncan, and KTR Real Estate Advisors' Theresa Nygard
There's still 700k SF of office vacancy in the 1.9M-SF building (the bulk left from Ogilvy & Mather's move to 636 Eleventh), but we should hear about deals soon, says Peter (with Brown Harris Stevens'Sharon Locatell and KTR Real Estate Advisors' Theresa Nygard). In the meantime, the owner is undergoing a capital improvement program, renovating restrooms, elevators, replacing DX units, and realigning the electric. The building's now aiming for Energy Star and LEED certification, and will be the second NYC building to join the Clinton Climate Initiative. Tenants are out there, he says—foot traffic is up, and market activity is moving in the right direction. In addition to the Starbuckses (despite their abundance, the plural form is rare), the building also hosts off-Broadway theaters, a health club, plaza, and immediate access to the subway.
Regional Appraisal Associates' Kenneth Wong, BE-Wert GmbH's Ernst Ulrich Bergmann, and NeuBridge's Wayne Nygard
Filling in 700k SF sounds like a walk in the park after Peter's description of buying the property from Deutsche Bank. The firm was “thrown under the tires” by media articles, mezzanine players fell out of bed, Fillmore Capital backed out, and the firm lost the chance on buying 1540 Broadway, another former Macklowe asset now in the hands of CBRE Investors. Peter wasn't the only guest du jour: BE-Wert GmbH's Ernst Ulrich Bergmann flew in from Germany, where he was presented with his certificate of MAI designation by Regional Appraisal Associates' Kenneth Wong (chapter prez) and NeuBridge's Wayne Nygard. He is the second designate in his country and the 57th associate member internationally. Congrats!