The Real Deal New York

Trinity, Norges deal values buildings at $3.6B

Binding contract signed Nov. 20; sale to close by year’s end

November 25, 2015 12:04PM
By E.B. Solomont


From left: Trinity’s Jason Pizer, 1 Hudson Square and Norges’ Yngve Slyngstad

Trinity Real Estate and Norway’s sovereign wealth fund quietly signed a binding contract late last week to partner on the church’s 11-building Hudson Square portfolio, in a massive deal that values the real estate at $3.55 billion.

Norges Bank Investment Management entered into contract Nov. 20 to pay $1.56 billion for a 44 percent share in a 75-year ownership of Trinity’s portfolio, the fund said. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

Trinity’s governing body voted on the deal with the $830 million fund in September, as Bloomberg reported. An agreement was made in principle that month, but no contract was signed. Financial terms were not disclosed at that time.

In a statement circulated Wednesday, church officials said diversifying Trinity’s assets, currently “overwhelmingly in real estate,” was “critical” to sustaining the church.

The properties, built in the 1900s to house printing presses, total nearly 5 million square feet in Hudson Square. They are about 94 percent leased.

One Hudson Square, also known as 75 Varick Street, is the largest building in the deal with 1.2 million square feet. Other buildings include 12-16 Vestry, 200 Hudson, 205 Hudson, 345 Hudson, 350 Hudson, 225 Varick and 435 Hudson streets, as well as 10 Hudson Square and 100 and 155 Sixth Avenue.

Trinity’s ownership of 215 acres of Manhattan real estate dates back to 1705. The church took bids in August from suitors including SL Green Realty, Vornado Realty Trust, Brookfield Property Partners and Ivanhoe Cambridge. CBRE’s Darcy Stacom was marketing the properties.

Norges, a division of Norway’s central bank, acquired a 49 percent stake in 11 Times Square earlier this year, following its $725 million investment to buy a 45 percent interest in Citigroup Center at 601 Lexington Avenue.

“For more than 300 years, Trinity Church has nurtured and shared its gift of land in Hudson Square, which has directly supported the church and its mission, as well as the growth of New York City,” Rev. William Lupfer, rector of Trinity Wall Street, said in a statement. “Our partnership with Norges Bank Investment Management will help to sustain Trinity’s ministries around the globe for many generations to come.”