MetLife offers stake in 1.1M sf 85 Broad Street: sources

Half-vacant Downtown tower is former HQ of Goldman Sachs

TRD New York /
Nov.November 05, 2014 03:01 PM

Insurance giant MetLife is shopping around a stake in its 1.1 million square foot Lower Manhattan office tower at 85 Broad Street, The Real Deal has learned.

Based on current comps, the entire tower is valued between $350 and $550 million. The offering comes as values have risen in the area and sales have been brisk, yet the 30-story building is one of the few in the neighborhood which has had a large vacancy for years, following the exit of the investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Current tenants include investment bank Oppenheimer & Co., which has north of 250,000 square feet, property data from CoStar Group shows.

A spokesperson for MetLife declined to comment. It remains unclear who is marketing the property.

Goldman began relocating its employees to a new headquarters tower at 200 West Street in 2009. Today 85 Broad, between South William and Pearl streets, is half-empty, with CoStar showing a total of 15 floors with more than 605,000 square feet vacant and available between the fifth and 30th floors.

Still, Downtown properties are in high demand, especially with the opening of 1 World Trade Center and the retail below it. Over the past 12 months, investors have purchased eight large office towers and a portion of another one within a quarter mile of 85 Broad, paying between $327 and $502 per square foot, according to data from Real Capital Analytics.

Gotham Realty is looking for about $400 per square foot, or $168 million, for nearby 30 Broad Street, as TRD reported.

Brokers also point to the pending sale of 180 Maiden Lane for about $394 per square foot, which is another building with large vacancies.

While the firm had no comment on this listing, MetLife’s Chief Investment Officer Steven Goulart commented on the company’s real estate investments, in a response to a question from an analyst during last month’s earnings call.

The analyst asked Goulart what the company would do if regulatory capital requirements were to fall significantly. Goulart gave a measured response.

“Well, I guess, at this point, I couldn’t say it’ll change our strategy,” he said, adding later, “because you still have to think about overall risk-return and capital requirements.”

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