SL Green slows acquisition pace, focuses on filling vacancies

November 28, 2011 09:02AM

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From left: SL Green President Andrew Mathias, 180 Maiden Lane, 280 Park Avenue and 3 Columbus Circle

SL Green Realty, the city’s largest landlord, has suddenly put a halt to its acquisition binge, Crain’s reported, and has turned its focus to filling the space it already owns.

Since the end of 2009, the firm has had a hand in many of the large office tower trades in Manhattan, bringing its portfolio to 34 towers and about 25.5 million square feet. SL Green even dabbled more heavily in retail properties and, for the first time, residential properties. Earlier this year, it assembled 49,000 square feet of retail space in Times Square with Jeff Sutton, and acquired an eight-building portfolio including 724 Fifth Avenue with Stonehenge Partners.

But acquisitions have slowed amidst rising prices. Manhattan Class A office buildings have doubled in price since 2009, according to Cushman & Wakefield. “There is just so much capital chasing so few deals now,” said Andrew Mathias, SL Green’s president. “Our number-one focus is to finish leasing what we have acquired,” Mathias told Crains.

Though the occupancy rate across SL Green’s portfolio is 95 percent, recent acquisitions such as 3 Columbus Circle, 180 Maiden Lane and 280 Park Avenue pose challenges, especially in a leasing climate that’s expected to cool next year. About 70 percent of 3 Columbus Circle is empty, 180 Maiden Lane‘s anchor tenant, AIG, has a lease for two-thirds of the building’s space that expires in 2014 and 280 Park Avenue will become 50 percent available in the next year. In each of those properties, SL Green is funding a major renovation in hopes of upping rents. [Crain’s]