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Deals & Dealmakers

Savanna welcomes Carver Bank to repositioned Lee Building

Following the recent $20 million sale of the historic headquarters building of Carver Federal Savings Bank in Harlem, Madison Square Realty (MSR) has negotiated a new 20,000 s/f lease for Carver at Savanna’s 1825 Park Avenue, also known as the Lee Building.

The transaction enables Carver to maintain its presence in Harlem, where the bank was founded 70 years ago.
Carver has leased the top floor of the building, with views of Harlem and Manhattan, and part of the seventh floor to provide its employees with an efficient, modern space with great access to transportation.

MSR Founder & CEO Eric Yarbro, who shepherded both the building sale and the new lease on behalf of Carver, said the successful relocation was especially significant as the nation’s largest African and Caribbean-owned bank not only hired MSR, a full-service Minority Business Enterprise commercial real estate firm, but also engaged one of the largest African-American-owned architectural firms to handle the design of its new office space.

Savanna has engaged one of New York State’s largest African-American-owned construction firms to build the space.

“We’re extremely pleased that Carver decided to relocate to 1825 Park,” added Kerry Powers, Senior Associate at Savanna. “There has been a shortage of high-quality office space in Harlem relative to demand. Our strategy for the property is to cater to local tenants by offering a quality product at a good price, allowing them to enjoy modernized office space in the neighborhood.

“We believe that following Savanna’s improvements to the property, we are offering the best office space in Harlem, a fitting home for a deeply rooted institution like Carver Federal Savings Bank, which has been serving the local community for 70 years.”

Savanna recently completed façade and sidewalk repairs at the property, replacement of the sidewalk vault and retail storefront, a newly designed lobby and entrance, refurbished bathrooms, new windows and HVAC and electrical upgrades.

Upgrades to tech infrastructure also resulted in 1825 Park Avenue becoming the first-ever Wired Certified Gold building in Harlem.

The 12-story property vaulted 10- to 12-foot ceilings, unobstructed southern views of the Manhattan skyline, and 11,500 s/f floor plates. Approximately 30,000 s/f of availability remains following steady leasing activity, including a recent 8,000 s/f lease to NADAP, a nonprofit corporation.

Carver’s previous administrative offices on 125th Street pwere fully occupied by the bank since 1958, and sold for $19.45 million, or $924 psf, the highest price ever achieved for an office building with ground floor retail in Harlem. Carver will continue to maintain its presence on the ground floor retail space with its branch to continue to serve its customers.

Savanna was represented in the lease transaction by Mitch Arkin of Cushman & Wakefield and Ellen Israel of JRT Realty.

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