By Linda O’Flanagan
Alex Sapir and Rotem Rosen have signed 200,000 s/f in a series of leases at 260 and 261 Madison Avenue after a makeover of both the building and the ownership.
The leases are understood to be with Fortune 500 companies that include a financial institution and a media company that will join a tenant base that already includes J.P. Morgan, Signature Bank, Hanes Brand, Sara Lee and American Kennel Club.
While he declined to identify the new tenants citing confidentiality agreements, Alex Sapir told Real Estate Weekly, “In the last 12 months, we decided to take a much more active role. We injected capital into the buildings, upgrading the utilities and modernizing the aesthetic and design of the lobbies, elevators and other public spaces.”
The company also retained a high profile leasing team from Cushman & Wakefield, led by global chairman Bruce Mosler, along with executive director Alan Wildes, to fill the vacant space in the two opposing block front properties along Madison Avenue between 38th and 39th Street.
The brokers said this week that an impressive refurbishment of the properties had been undertaken following a successful recapitalization. “This asset sits in what we consider to be one of the hottest markets in the nation at the moment and the buildings are rendering huge dividends in lease up as a result,” Mosler said.
Added Wildes, “The impressive growth in the buildings’ leasing activity is a direct result of collaborative hard work on the part of great tenants, aggressive brokers and an accommodating landlord capable of quick decision making and negotiating in this highly competitive market. The results speak for themselves.”
The deals are undoubtedly welcome news for the Sapir family, whose reputation was severely tarnished as the company appeared to bump from one real estate barney to another during the property boom.
Among several high profile spats, Sapir lost 100 Church Street to SL Green after defaulting on its mortgage there and running into a series of lawsuits over unpaid commissions.
However, according to Jeffrey Steiner, a managing partner of DLA Piper who represented the landlord in some of the Madison leases, the company has emerged better and stronger.
“Irrespective of market fluctuations, a strong ownership and a great location will consistently generate tremendous growth and success for premier landlords like Sapir and Rosen,” Steiner told REW.
In a market where few large leasing deals have been done, 260 and 261 Madison sit on the edge of Midtown South, which has a 6.3% vacancy rate and rents that have risen more than 10% year-over-year.
But a bulk lease signing like this takes more than just a great building, admitted Rosen, a principal and owner of the property.
“We retained our longtime colleagues Alan Wildes and Bruce Mosler to market the building and adopted a ‘pay upon signing’ mentality toward brokers and the outside world,” he said.
“We are very proud of the results and the resurgence of the building and believe the leases we will announce shortly represent a very significant statement about what kind of assets are attracting tenants in the current market.”