The Real Deal New York

Gural family is buying Guardian Life’s FiDi HQ for $310M

Firm formerly known as Newmark holdings plans to reposition 915K sf property
By Mark Maurer | Twitter_logo_blue copy January 16, 2018 11:00PM

7 Hanover Square and Jeffrey Gural

Since stepping down as the chairman of Newmark Knight Frank a few months ago, Jeffrey Gural has struck his first big deal.

The Gural family, which controls GFP Real Estate and its affiliate Newmark Knight Frank, entered contract to acquire the longtime headquarters of Guardian Life Insurance at 7 Hanover Square for $310 million, sources told The Real Deal. Gural’s partner on the deal is Ran Eliasaf’s Northwind Group.

The deal is not expected to close until October 2019, when Guardian Life will relocate to a much smaller 148,000-square-foot space at 10 Hudson Yards. At that point, the 915,000-square-foot Hanover Square building’s office component will be entirely vacant. The retail component may have one remaining tenant, sources said.

Although as much as 40 percent of the 27-story Financial District building is zoned for residential, the Gural family is planning to operate it predominantly as an office building, likely with some retail, sources said.

Guardian Life, which signed a 20-year lease for almost the entire building in 1998, subleases much of it to other firms such as International Business Times and the law firm Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy.

Last summer, Guardian Life exercised a $147 million purchase option to buy the building from Milstein Properties, Weiler Arnow Management Company and the Swig Company, with the intention of putting it up for sale.

Cushman & Wakefield’s Adam Spies and Douglas Harmon began marketing the property in September.

Sources said investors such as Witkoff, Metro Loft Management, Apollo Global Management, Savanna and Vanbarton Group bid on the property.

The price per square foot would come out to about $340. Neither GFP nor Guardian Life could be reached for comment, and Cushman declined to speak.

In October, Jeffrey Gural became chairman emeritus of Newmark Knight Frank and his family firm changed its name from Newmark Holdings to GFP Real Estate in an effort to avoid confusion in the market. He intended to continue to run the family firm. GFP also owns the Flatiron Building, the Film Center Building at 630 Ninth Avenue, 1560 Broadway,  515 Madison Avenue, and 40 Exchange Place with Northwind.

In recent months, Newmark Knight Frank launched an initial public offering to disappointing results and advanced in its negotiations to acquire the city’s leading retail brokerage, RKF.