Contact Us

UBS Puts 1M SF Midtown Office Tower On Online Auction Block

135 W. 50th St., a 35%-occupied Class-A building that is up for auction on Ten-X, with bids starting at $7.5M.

A Midtown Manhattan office building spanning 920K SF has been put up for auction, with a starting bid of just $7.5M. 

Swiss banking giant UBS controls the monolithic 135 W. 50th St. via a ground lease, which it enlisted a team of JLL brokers to market for sale. Rather than going the traditional route of releasing a call for offers to the brokerage and investment community, UBS and JLL put the leasehold interest on online auction platform Ten-X, The Real Deal reported

UBS didn't immediately respond to Bisnow’s request for comment. A JLL spokesperson declined to comment.

The platform is typically used to sell smaller, less desirable commercial properties, not large office buildings in one of Manhattan’s most sought-after submarkets. Despite pouring $76M in upgrades into the 60-year-old building, 135 W. 50th is just 35% leased, according to the online listing.

The remaining tenants have an average term of 9.5 years remaining on their leases. That could complicate the path forward for the 23-story office tower, which the listing says can be converted as of right to residential or other uses.

UBS acquired the land underneath the property in 2012 when affiliate company TPF Operating REIT shelled out $279M for the leasehold, Between The Bricks reported at the time. It had already owned the ground lease.

Safehold, a ground lease REIT, acquired the land in 2019 when UBS sold it for $285M, according to a release. UBS then signed a lease worth $221M that expires in 2123, but the ground lease may have damaged the property value, TRD reported.