By Sarah Trefethen
180 Water Street in Lower Manhattan may be headed for a new life as an academic or residential asset.
Emmes Asset Management purchased the building for $151 million, according to public records.
The 24-story, 453,857 s/f office tower is scheduled to become vacant in 2015, when the city’s Human Resources Administration plans to move into 4 World Trade Center.
While finding new tenants for the office space is one option, the new owners are considering completely repositioning the building, according to Richard Coles, a managing principal at Emmes.
“We’re trying to evaluate the property’s highest and best use,” Coles told Real Estate Weekly. “There are a number of possibilities, ranging from educational to hotel to residential, in addition to office.”
The Downtown office vacancy rate has jumped this year as shiny new spaces have become available for lease, including in the buildings of the World Trade Center complex and Brookfield Properties’ renovated Brookfield Place.
At the same time, the formerly 9-5 blocks of the Financial District and the area surrounding City Hall are seeing increasing demand from the residential market, causing investors to consider a change of use for the older office stock.
Emmes manages a $1.3 billion portfolio of assets located throughout the country.
The group has done a few deals in the Financial District in the past two years, Coles said, including supplying bridge financing for the residential conversion of AIG’s former headquarters at 70 Pine Street.
The sale of 180 Water closed late last month and the contract was filed with the city’s department of finance last week.
The sellers were Leon and Alfons Melohn, who bought the ground and the lease for an undisclosed sum in 1995, according to the New York Post.
Moshe Majeski of the Moshe Group facilitated the off-market transaction, Coles said.