The Real Deal New York

Affiliate of PR firm Ruder Finn pays $31M for new Midtown HQ

Movie prop shop’s showroom, storage space on 53rd Street to undergo office conversion

April 27, 2015 05:10PM
By Mark Maurer

Newel LLC

From left: Newel showroom, 425-429 East 53rd Street in Sutton Place, Kathy Bloomgarden, Karen Kemp and Anthony Finno

An affiliate of Ruder Finn, a New York City-based global public relations firm, acquired a five-story Sutton Place building long occupied by high-end antique and movie prop shop Newel for $30.7 million, with plans to convert it into Ruder Finn’s new headquarters, The Real Deal has learned.

The Baer family’s Newel Art Galleries Inc. has owned the 34,000-square-foot property at 425-429 East 53rd Street, between First Avenue and Sutton Place South, since 1982, when they purchased it from developer Harry Macklowe. The antiques business has a 5,000-square-foot, ground-floor showroom and four floors of storage space. The property, which does not come with additional air rights, has previously served as a piano warehouse and a Bloomingdale’s storage facility.

A trust belonging to Ruder Finn CEO Kathy Bloomgarden and her family closed on the purchase for roughly $900 per square foot last week. Ruder Finn will lease the entire building from the trust, and will move from its current offices at 301 East 57th Street to the new location by the end of the year.

Michael Schubert, chief innovation officer at Ruder Finn, said the firm had been searching for a building with an “open, creative layout” – a transition from a closed-box office to one more collaborative. TAMI tenants are increasingly seeking similar open-plan space in the city.

Boston-based Spagnolo Gisness & Associates is serving as the architect for the conversion. Ruder Finn also has offices in San Francisco, London, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and India.

The Corcoran Group’s Karen Kemp, Stephen Geller and Michael Remer represented the buyer, while Marcus & Millichap’s Anthony Finno, who specializes in New York hotel property sales, represented the seller.

By mid-summer, Newel plans to vacate the building.

“We were totally packed,” Lewis Baer of Newel told TRD. “We couldn’t expand the business of the physical limitations of the building.”

The company, which has housed props from “The Godfather” and TV series such as “Boardwalk Empire” and “30 Rock,” has already begun using a 55,000-square-foot storage space at the former Swingline stapler factory in Long Island City and is now moving its showroom to an 8,000-square-foot space at 306 East 61st Street in Midtown East.