Historic Park Avenue Landmark Building Sold and Financed
Massey Knakal, now Cushman & Wakefield, arranged the sale and financing of a historic landmark building at 281 Park Avenue South, on the southeast corner of 22nd Street and Park Avenue South in Manhattan. The property was sold in an all-cash transaction valued at $50,000,000 in December, 2014. The transaction was handled by John Ciraulo, Robert M. Shapiro and Craig Waggner of Cushman & Wakefield and Howard Poretsky and Patrick Gardner of Savills Studley. A non-recourse loan of $40 million with a 3-year term was arranged by Scott Aiese of Cushman & Wakefield.
The property served as the headquarters for The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA) since 1963. The six-story plus cellar and attic building contains approximately 32,000 above grade square feet and sits on an 80’ x 70’ lot. This magnificent steel-framed building, with its light-hued terra cotta stone façade was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. The last major restoration and renovation took place in 1991 and included renovating the copper and terra-cotta roof, uncovering marble mosaic floors and plaster ornamentation, restoring wood entry doors, wood wainscoting, and stained-glass windows. The cast iron architecture is featured throughout the building, offering expansive lofts with high ceilings ranging from 11.5’ to over 20’ and enormous windows allowing tremendous amounts of natural light to pour in. The building also benefits from approximately 150 feet of wraparound frontage ideal for retail in a high traffic location on a premiere corner. It is conveniently located just a short walk from Madison Square Park, Gramercy Park, and Union Square, as well as many of Manhattan’s top rated restaurants, fashionable retailers, and high-end residential neighborhoods. The sale price equates to approximately $1,562 per square foot.
The property was purchased by RFR Holding LLC a Manhattan based, privately controlled real estate investment, development and management company founded in 1991 by Aby Rosen and Michael Fuchs. RFR has built a world-class portfolio of commercial and residential real estate, including many of New York’s signature office towers, ultra-luxury condominiums, hotels and high-end retail developments.
The attorney for the seller was Andrew L. Herz, Esq. of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, LLP and the attorney for the buyer was Matthew Danow, Esq. of Katsky Korins LLP.
“This property presents the purchaser an ideal opportunity for a single tenant office building, a high-end retailer, restaurant, showroom or a high-profile flagship headquarters,” said Cushman & Wakefield’s John F. Ciraulo. “We were delighted to assist in the reinvestment and growth of FPWA, one of New York City’s premier social service support organizations,” added Robert M. Shapiro.
“The bank financing provided RFR with the optimal time to reposition and lease the building, allowing the organization to convert this iconic structure from its current condition to one that is state of the art. It will act as the flagship location for world-class tenants,” said Scott Aiese.