The Real Deal New York

Lexin pays $155M for Barings’ 551 Madison

Principal Life upped existing loan on 17-story Midtown office building to $85M
By Mark Maurer | January 23, 2017 12:00PM

551 Madison Avenue and Metin Negrin

Metin Negrin’s Lexin Capital closed last week on the $155 million purchase of a 17-story Midtown office building at 551 Madison Avenue from Barings, formerly known as Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers, sources told The Real Deal.

The price for the 151,000-square-foot property came out to $1,030 per square foot, sources said.

The building, located between East 55th and 56th streets, according to sources is 94 percent occupied and also has a roughly 17,000-square-foot retail component. Office tenants include French clothing company Lacoste and Omni Hotels and Resorts.

Lexin, which is developing a 40-story Financial District rental tower at 75 Nassau Street, is planning a long-term hold of the Madison Avenue building, sources said.

As for the financing, sources said Lexin increased the existing $63 million loan from Principal Life Insurance Company on the property to $85 million, sources said. Cornerstone had bought the building from LaSalle Investment Management for $128 million in 2012 and then secured that $63 million loan the following year, property records show.

“We have focused on stabilizing the building occupancy while simultaneously capturing the rising tide in the office rental rate environment,” said Barings’ Kevin Miller, confirming the sale.

The landlord put the building on the market in September. Around the same time, Cornerstone, Barings Asset Management and two other subsidiaries of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company merged to form one company known as Barings with $275 billion in combined assets.

CBRE’s TRData LogoTINY Darcy Stacom, Bill Shanahan and Eric Negrin represented the seller in the deal. CBRE’s Shawn Rosenthal and Jason Gaccione brokered the financing. Representatives for Lexin and CBRE declined to comment.

Commercial Real Estate Direct first reported in December that the deal was under contract.

Across the street is the Sony Building at 550 Madison Avenue, which Olayan Group and Chelsfield acquired for $1.4 billion, or $1,647 per square foot, last year after Chetrit Group and Clipper Equities scrapped plans for a condominium conversion. CBRE is marketing the 850,000 square feet of vacant office space there.