Aby Rosen’s RFR Realty is buying a much-maligned Midtown office building with an eye on converting it into hotel rooms. The firm has entered contract to purchase 285 Madison Avenue for $190 million, according to Crain’s, just more than a month after reports emerged that Rosen is considering acquiring 350 Madison Avenue for $350 million.
The 550,000-square-foot building at 285 Madison Avenue, between East 40th and East 41st streets, is owned by ad agency Y&R and was the site of a well-documented elevator accident last year that resulted in the death of one of its employees. The agency put the building on the market with CBRE Group’s Darcy Stacom and Bill Shanahan in July in advance of its planned move to an office condominium at 3 Columbus Circle, owned by SL Green Realty and Joseph Moinian.
RFR’s reported purchase price is significnatly higher than the $150 million the Post speculated it would sell for when it hit the market. SL Green was given a head start in acquiring the building by Y&R after the deal at 3 Columbus Circle, but sources told Crain’s the firm balked at the high price.
The building’s value was weakened by its near complete vacancy, but that won’t bother RFR. Crain’s said it intends to transform the property into a hotel. [Crain’s] — Adam Fusfeld