Willett to sell mixed-use building in prime Soho spot

Fully leased property could fetch over $40 million, sources say
By Zachary Kussin | May 23, 2013 03:00PM

A 38,885-square-foot office and retail property on a well-trafficked stretch of Soho is up for grabs, The Real Deal has learned. The building — located at 415 West Broadway between Spring and Prince streets — could fetch over $40 million, according to sources with knowledge of the listing.

Westchester-based commercial landlord Willett Companies owns the six-story building. The fully leased property has six retail and office tenants, including Jamali NYC Gallery, an art gallery, and Altamarea Group, which runs seven restaurants in New York City and New Jersey. The leases expire between 2014 and 2021. Retail rents are in the $170 per-square-foot range, and office rents are in the mid-$40s, sources said.

The top floor is made up of two apartments occupied by tenants with interim multiple dwelling status, meaning they are covered under the city’s artist-in-residence law.

A Jones Lang LaSalle team led by Vice Chairman Richard Baxter is handling the marketing.

Neither Baxter nor Willett CEO Frank Kenny would comment.

Adelaide Polsinelli, a senior director at Eastern Consolidated who is not involved with the building, told The Real Deal that the property could trade for $1,500 per square foot, or about $40 million.

At that price, “it’s an investment in the future,” she said. “You’re buying something that’s just going to appreciate.”

Plus, when it comes to area retail, West Broadway offers shoppers a different experience than Broadway, she said.

“For $1,000 a foot, you’re on Broadway getting trampled,” she said of rents nearby. “For $170 a foot, you can be relaxed … It’s a more pleasant experience.”

And with retail driving values in the neighborhood, it’s a good time for Willett to unload the building, she said.

“Anyone who’s an owner and a retailer would want to be an owner here,” she said, noting that West Broadway is home to national and international retailers, as well as galleries.

Willett purchased the building in 2008 for $28.5 million from an entity named 413 West Broadway Corp., city records show.

Baxter, along with JLL vice chairman Scott Latham, is also handling the sale for SL Green’s 333 West 34th Street. This 350,000-square-foot property, which is located between Eighth and Ninth avenues, could sell for $225 million, as previously reported.

Willett sold 113 Spring Street to Sitt Asset Management for $32.5 million last year, according to public records. More recently, Willett faced a lawsuit from Azad Property Group, as The Real Deal reported earlier this year. Azad claimed that it arranged a deal for Vornado Realty Trust to buy 131-137 Spring Street only to have Willett back out and sell to SL Green.