Joseph Sitt’s Thor Equities has purchased from Extell a block-long retail space in the former Helmsley Carlton House on Madison Avenue for $277 million — one of the highest total prices ever paid for a retail property on the street, according to the Wall Street Journal. Thor beat out Vornado Realty Trust, which had placed a competing $280 million offer for the retail space, located at 680 Madison Avenue and 61st Street, between Barneys and Hermès.
Despite the 35,000-square-foot space’s coveted location, which features 367 feet of continuous, wrap-around frontage, Sitt is nevertheless taking a risk by paying one the largest sums ever recorded for a single retail property on Madison Avenue. That thoroughfare suffered after the recession — with rents falling to about $500 a square foot and nearly two-dozen retail spaces left vacant.
But Sitt remains confident.“Madison Avenue is so closely identified with luxury and class that the name itself has become synonymous with high-end, so much so that it is essential for any retailer calling itself a ‘luxury brand’ to have a presence on this thoroughfare,” Sitt said. “The opportunity to market this remarkable space to the best-of-the-best of luxury retail brands was simply too incredible a possibility to pass up.”
Gary Barnett’s Extell Development and Angelo, Gordon & Co. purchased the Carlton House for approximately $170 million in 2010 and are currently in the process of converting the upper floors to co-op apartments, with sales scheduled to launch next month. Barnett had planned to lease the retail space for nearly $1,500 per square foot, but decided to sell the space to Thor instead, possibly over uncertainty about the fiscal cliff and possibly as he begins amassing capital for his new West 57th Street and Broadway residential tower, which will be the largest in the U.S. [WSJ] —Christopher Cameron