Power lawyer Mark Geragos pays $8M for ‘jewel’ of a Fifth Avenue building
Attorney to the stars Mark Geragos has purchased a Fifth Avenue property that will serve as the New York offices of his Los Angeles-based Geragos & Geragos law firm for $8 million,The Real Deal has learned. Geragos, who has represented Michael Jackson, Sean Combs and Chris Brown, and who frequently opines on television about high-profile legal cases, purchased the six-story, 12,960-square-foot commercial building at 256 Fifth Avenue, between East 28th and East 29th streets.
The building had been on the market for six weeks, according to Eric Roth, the Friedman-Roth Realty Services managing partner who listed the property with colleague Joel Radmin. Friedman-Roth’s Giuseppe Inglese represented Geragos.
The power lawyer had been searching for a Manhattan office space for “well over a year,” he said, and made offers on a couple of buildings before ultimately landing on this one. He said he valued the building for its location in an up-and-coming neighborhood and its architectural style.
The building was built in 1893 and designed by architects Alfred Zucker and John Edelman in a Moorish Revival style with a terra cotta facade featuring columns and rounded arches.
Geragos called himself a “big fan” of architecturally unique buildings, and his two Los Angeles offices fit that bill. While he plans a complete renovation of the building’s interior he said he would take great care of the exterior. “I tend to have some of the same concerns and dislikes as the preservationists do — especially with a little jewel of a building like this,” he said.
The seller, a private investment group with a handful of Manhattan properties, earned $618 per square-foot in the sale, which closed June 12.
“Because the building was being delivered vacant, the highest prices was going to come from someone who wanted to use it or develop it,” said Roth, who listed the building for $8.5 million. “But because it’s in a Landmark District the building couldn’t be razed for a new, boutique hotel — the buyer had to work within the confines of the existing structure.”
The building comes with 11,700 square feet of available air rights, but Roth said it would have taken a patient developer with the will to battle for the rights to unlock them.
Geragos plans to rent out the 2,000-square-foot ground-floor retail space and use at least three floors for his firm’s offices. While he said the firm may eventually grow to occupy the entire building, for now he has other plans for the remaining floors and is working with an architect and contractor to finalize them.