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Case Study

619 West 54th Street: An asset evolves in a transforming neighborhood

The recent sale of 619 West 54th Street, arranged by the Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) Investment Sales team of Jon Caplan, Scott Latham, Yoron Cohen and Richard Baxter, is testament to New York City’s ability to continuously reinvent itself, and to the continued expansion of Midtown’s commercial core, particularly to the west.

JLL’s New York Capital Markets Group was retained by the building’s owner, KBS Realty Advisors Inc., to market and sell 619 West 54th Street in the spring of 2012. The same team marketed and sold 434 Broadway on behalf of KBS in 2010. A JLL leasing team, led by Mitchell Konsker and Matthew Astrachan, has brought 619 West 54th Street to 92 percent leased since winning the agency assignment in April 2011. KBS had the foresight to invest more than $8 million in capital improvements to modernize and reposition the building, facilitating the successful leasing program.

619 West 54th Street, a 10-story, 327,000 square foot building, was marketed for five weeks to a broad audience of investors before initial bids were due. There was strong interest in the property from a cross-section of investor profiles. The team instituted a second round of bidding in which finalists completed due diligence prior to submitting final offers. Taconic Investment Partners, LLC was selected and quickly entered into a contract, with the transaction closing in August 2012. Taconic has a track record of investing in emerging submarkets, having repositioned 111 Eighth Avenue, which it then sold to Google. Taconic also developed 15 Little West 12th Street, a retail/office building in the Meatpacking District, which the JLL New York Capital Markets Group sold for Taconic in 2011.

The Art Deco 619 West 54th Street was originally built in 1930 for Warner Brothers Studio as a film processing and editing facility during the heyday of motion picture production in New York. However, the gradual loss of production-related jobs in the City ultimately led to the building’s conversion to a multi-tenant office building. The tenant roster today is a reflection of New York’s diversifying economic base, with tenants in the media, fashion, education and medical industries.

The far-west 50s are poised to benefit from Midtown’s westward movement, with the new Riverside Center residential neighborhood to the north, the redevelopment of the West Side Rail Yards to the south, and Boston Properties’ 250 West 54th Street development and SL Green and the Moinian Group’s redevelopment of 3 Columbus Circle to the east. The area also is undergoing a residential renaissance, illustrated by the recent new development of Mercedes House by Two Trees, and the Helena by Durst, both in the immediate vicinity of 619 West 54th Street.

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