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Deals & Dealmakers

31 Penn Plaza sold for $265M

Savanna, the New York-based real estate private equity and asset management firm, has sold 31 Penn Plaza to the Vanbarton Group for a reported $265 million.

Douglas Harmon, Adam Spies, Joshua King, Adam Doneger and Michael Saclarides of Eastdil Secured represented Savanna in the sale transaction. Attorneys Christopher Price and Adam Kopald of Goodwin Procter served as the seller’s counsel.

31 Penn Plaza is an 18-story, 444,000 s/f office building located at 132 West 31st Street between 6th and 7th Avenues. The property is the Penn Plaza District, within blocks Penn Station, Herald Square, Port Authority and Grand Central Station.

Savanna acquired 31 Penn Plaza in 2011 and completed a $20 million renovation including redesigning the lobby, security infrastructure and entrance, modernizing the elevators, restoring the façade, upgrading common areas and adding retail amenities.

Savanna signed a total of 260,000 s/f of leases at the property during its ownership. Additionally, three new restaurants, Friedman’s, Pennsylvania Six and Dee Daa, opened at the building, significantly improving the street presence.

Mitchell Konsker, Matthew Astrachnan and Matthew Polhemus of Jones Lang LaSalle led office leasing efforts at the property, while Amy Zhen (formerly of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, now with Jones Lang LaSalle) and Marc Frankel of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank leased the retail space.

“31 Penn Plaza has been a transformative case study that we are proud of,” said Kevin Hoo, managing director at Savanna.

“Savanna has significantly repositioned the property’s infrastructure and tenant profile, and in the process, restored its attraction and reputation in a submarket that has experienced tremendous growth over the past few years. We are grateful to our entire team of partners and service providers who helped us achieve the turnaround.”

Midtown West continues to transform, with millions of square feet of ongoing new development in progress including Related’s Hudson Yards, Brookfield’s Manhattan West, and the planned redevelopment of Penn Station. The submarket has increasingly attracted tenants who want to be located in the path of progress, including many firms in the technology, advertising, media and information sectors. 31 Penn Plaza is at the center of this changing neighborhood.

“The property is well positioned for the future,” added Hoo. “We congratulate Vanbarton on a successful transaction and believe that they will continue to profit from all of the positive trends in the area.”

The Vanbarton Group was founded earlier this year by New York real estate investment veterans Gary Tischler and Richard Coles.

The company announced it is targeting office properties in New York City and San Francisco, and “continually seeks opportunities in major markets across the country.”

The new company will specialize in an “integrated, tactical approach to debt and equity investing,” according to a press release from the company.

They will also look to pursue opportunities in the debt/credit markets through the origination and acquisition of first mortgages, junior participations, mezzanine debt, preferred equity and securitized debt.

Vanbarton recently completed the conversion of a 500,000 s/f office building at 180 Water Street in the Financial District, which will now be a rental building with 565 units and 10,000 s/f of street-level retail.

Vanbarton Group owns and manages a combined debt and equity portfolio of 42 assets, spread across 16 states, in the multi-family, retail, office and hospitality sectors.

Last month, the firm signed a 51,000 s/f, 15-year lease with WeWork at the Square in LIC. The company also tapped Cushman & Wakefield to lease 45 West 45th Street where it is in the midst of a $10 million redevelopment.

The firm has a staff of 48, based in its NYC headquarters at SL Green’s Graybar building near Grand Central, and its San Francisco office.

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