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New York City's Helmsley Building sold for $1.2 billion

The historic office tower at 230 Park Avenue, commonly referred to as the Helmsley Building, has been sold for $1.2 billion. The deal is one of the biggest Manhattan office building transactions in recent years. The 34-story building sits astride Park Avenue just north of Grand Central Station. The tower was constructed in 1929 by the New York Central Railroad Company and served as its headquarters for many years.

RXR Realty bought the 1.4 million square foot building. RXR is headed by Scott Rechler, the vice-chairman of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. The sellers were a partnership including Monday Properties, the National Pension Service of South Korea and the investment firm Invesco. Monday purchased the building with different partners for $1.15 billion in 2007. Its value dropped significantly during the recession, dropping to only $740 million in 2011.

The sellers had undertaken a $200 million upgrade before putting the building on the market last year. The upgrades included a new lighting system for the façade and improvements to the lobby and common areas. The upgrades, along with the increasing demand for New York commercial real estate by foreign and domestic investors, helped the sellers realize a solid return on their investment.

New York commercial property transactions are generally complex and often require aggressive negotiation combined with careful attention to detail. Buyers must conduct thorough due diligence, identify and resolve any title issues and line up financing commitments and powers of attorney. Buyers and sellers must identify and assure compliance with all applicable local and state regulations and laws. Working with an experienced real estate law firm can help avoid disputes and keep the transaction proceeding smoothly.

Source: New York Daily News, "Manhattan's famed Helmsley Building sells for $1.2B," Katherine Clarke, May 5, 2015

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