Foreign interest in NYC commercial properties up

November 04, 2009 09:29AM

With commercial property values spiraling downward, foreign investors are looking to inject capital into Manhattan’s premier buildings, but some experts say they’re too eager for their own good. There’s not enough product to go around, said columnist Lois Weiss, and foreigners are having trouble securing bids on properties, or even getting their calls returned. “Everyone shows up wanting to buy trophies on the cheap and thinks they’re going to steal the Empire State Building or the Chrysler Building,” said Will Silverman of Studley’s capital markets group. Nonetheless, many foreign investors are succeeding in their efforts, and benefiting from exchange rates to boot. Recently, Joseph Cayre partnered with Israeli IDB Associates in purchasing 452 Fifth Avenue from HSBC at $400 per foot, and another Israeli company, Gilmore and Optibase, is acquiring SL Green Realty’s 485 Lexington Avenue at $560 per foot. The Middle Eastern Safra family is in serious talks to buy a 49 percent interest in 299 Park Avenue from UBS, and the Italian Sorgente Group purchased a piece of the Flatiron Building this week. [Post, 1st item]