Banco Popular sells former US HQ for $28M

By Adam Pincus | September 16, 2008 03:11PM

Banco Popular North America sold its former United States headquarters building across from Rockefeller Center for $28 million.

The nine-story office building at 7 West 51st Street near Fifth Avenue has approximately 43,000 square feet of commercial space. Banco Popular North America, a division of Puerto Rico’s largest bank, Popular, occupies the first floor with a retail bank, and the other floors are leased by a variety of tenants.

The building, which was sold to two entities with the address of Great Neck real estate firm Parkoff Organization, went into contract on September 8 and closed two days later, according to city records published today. The bank originally purchased the property in 1971, records show.

Banco Popular North America moved its headquarters in 1999 to Chicago and in 2002 to Rosemont, a suburb of Chicago. With 48 branches in New York and New Jersey, the bank sold five buildings in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx to MLM Partners in 2007 for $26.25 million and signed 20-year lease deals for the locations. Last month it sold its loan and servicing assets from its American mortgage unit, valued at $1.17 billion, to Goldman Sachs.

Juan Carlos Cruz, a Banco Popular North America spokesman, said the sale was not out of the ordinary.

“In the past five years, we have sold many buildings as part of our regular course of business. This is just one of them,” he said.

An official with Parkoff did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Manhattan commercial broker Jonathan Anapol, president of Prime Manhattan Realty who was not involved with the sale, said the buyer made a good deal.

“It is a terrific location, the building was in good condition,” he said. “I think the buyer got a decent value at $650 per foot.”