City investor and philanthropist Eugene Grant has agreed to sell his controlling 50.1 percent stake in the Meatpacking District’s massive former freight facility, known as St. John’s Center, to an investor group that owns the other 49.9 percent, in a deal that was rushed forward due to concerns over the fiscal cliff, the New York Post reported. The deal with Fortress Investment Group, Atlas Capital Group and Westbrook Partners is worth approximately $250 million.
Grant and his partner Lionel Bauman had owned the building since the 1960’s, which for many years was fully leased by companies like Merrill Lynch. But in 2006 Grant purchased the Bauman family’s stake for some $200 million, which he then sold part of to investors.
The 1.281 million-square-foot behemoth of a building — so large that westbound traffic on Houston Street runs under an 800-foot cut in the four-story property along the West Side Highway — occupies three blocks, straddling both Soho and the Meatpacking District at 550 Washington Street. The building was the original terminus of the High Line and its 250,000-square-foot floors offer the largest office floorplates in the city.
The new owners will be targeting tech firms, according to the post. Currently the building’s largest tenant is Bloomberg LP, which renewed its lease for 372,382 square feet last spring. However the building still contains some 750,000 square feet of vacant office space. [NYP] –Christopher Cameron