by Daniel Geiger
A group of high net worth Israeli investors is buying the Long Island City office tower One Court Square sources say.
Among them is Joel Schreiber and David Werner. Schreiber, head of the real estate investment company Waterbridge Capital, most recently had been involved in acquiring 110,000 s/f of commercial condo space at the base of the Setai Wall Street, a downtown residential property. Soon after, he flipped about 70,000 s/f of that space for a quick profit.
SL Green, the city’s largest owner of commercial office space, is the seller in the deal for One Court Square. The firm, which has been an active trader of real estate through the downturn and the subsequent recovery, took control of the 1.5 million s/f property when it acquired the Long Island based REIT Reckson in 2006, which held the tower as part of its multimillion s/f portfolio.
Citibank occupies the entire 50-story building, located just one stop by subway from the bank’s world headquarters at 399 Park Avenue in midtown.
Although the exact price of the purchase wasn’t available by press time, the New York Post, which broke news that the building was in contract to sell but didn’t identify the buyer, has reported that it is likely to change hands for slightly under $500 million
Schreiber rose to prominence for his purchase of the lower seven floors of the Setai Wall Street in April for about $17 million. The space, which totaled 110,000 s/f, included four floors of commercial offices. Two floors were occupied by the Setai, a high end spa, restaurant and health club, and the ground floor came with retail space. By June, Schreiber had arranged a deal to sell the office portion to a partnership between the real estate investment firm Declaration Management and the real estate services company Cassidy Turley for $10 million.
Schreiber will be making a much bigger splash with his purchase of One Court Square. The building is one of the best known office towers sitting in close vicinity to Manhattan and has steady long term occupancy that makes it appear like a safe haven for investment at a time of financial uncertainty stemming from the debt crisis in Europe.
Brokers Adam Spies and Doug Harmon from the real estate brokerage firm Eastdil Secured handled the sale for SL Green. Neither could be reached for comment. Executives at SL Green as well as Schreiber’s firm, Waterbridge, also couldn’t be contacted.