Sitt’s Thor to pocket $21M in $239M flip of Midtown buildings

Harbor Group, Isaac Chetrit and Emmes among new buyers of trio of office properties

TRD New York /
Nov.November 07, 2014 12:05 PM

Joseph Sitt’s Thor Equities stands to turn a profit of roughly $21 million in four months from a $239 million contract flip on three Midtown office buildings, The Real Deal has learned.

Thor entered into contract in August to acquire the properties – located at 45 West 45th Street, 145 West 45th Street and 24 West 40th Street – from Rego Park, N.Y.-based landlord Samson Management for $218 million.

Then, Sitt’s firm hired a JLL team led by Richard Baxter, Ron Cohen, Jon Caplan, Jason Gold and Inbal Himelblau-Denman to help sell the assignment of contract for 45 West 45th Street and to secure equity partners to take a majority stake in the two other buildings. The brokers declined to comment. No brokers are representing any of the other parties in the pending off-market deal.

Samson’s assemblage of buildings is now in contract for a combined $239 million, thus netting Thor a $21 million profit if the deal closes, according to sources close to the negotiations.

The transaction is a complicated one. In a straightforward flip, Thor agreed to sell 100 percent of the contract for the 16-story building at 45 West 45th Street to Emmes Asset Management, for $87 million. Thor was initially in contract for that property for $81 million.

For the other two properties, Sitt formed a joint-venture entity through which one or more partners bought a contract for a 95 percent stake — at a new and slightly higher price.

Investors Isaac Chetrit and Aini Assets’ Charles Aini are buying into the joint-venture entity tied to the 12-story property at 145 West 45th Street for $61 million. Meanwhile, Virginia-based investment firm Harbor Group International, led by Jordan Slone, is buying into the entity tied to the 17-story building at 24 West 40th Street for $91 million.

Thor had initially agreed to pay between $50 million and $55 million for 145 West 45th Street, and between $80 million and $85 million for 24 West 40th Street, sources said.

“Although Samson Management was not in the market to sell these buildings, we entertained several unsolicited bids that, frankly, due to the number being so high, made it impossible not to accept the offer,” David Kershner, president and CEO of Samson Management, said in a statement to TRD. “Our sales terms required the buyer to purchase all three buildings as a package. We were fully aware that the buyer’s interest was in two buildings and that they would be flipping the third. It is our understanding that the assigned building is being sold for a slightly higher amount.”

Thor would retain a 5 percent stake in both buildings at the time of closing, but sources said the firm will likely sell the remaining stakes shortly afterward.

The deal is slated to close next month, sources said. Chetrit and Harbor Group could not be reached for comment, while Emmes declined to speak.

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