The Real Deal New York

El Fassi Realty lands $133M loan for Uniqlo’s Herald Square site

Safra National Bank is the lender
By Christian Bautista | October 23, 2018 02:15PM

31 West 34th Street (Credit: Google Maps)

UPDATED, Oct. 23, 2018, 5:10 p.m.: El Fassi Realty, a partnership between Oved Group and investor Charles Ishay, landed a $133 million mortgage for an office and retail building that is home to Uniqlo’s Herald Square location.

Safra National Bank and Banque J. Safra Sarasin, two companies owned by Syrian billionaire Joseph Safra, provided the financing for 31 West 34th Street, an 11-story, 275,600-square-foot property that sits between Fifth and Sixth avenues, according to records filed with the city on Tuesday. The new debt replaces a $130 million loan, also from the Safra banks, from 2015, and includes $3 million in new financing.

El Fassi acquired the ground lease on the property in 1995, according to property records. El Fassi acquired the rights from the estate of landlord Sol Goldman. The two sides eventually butted heads in 2010 over Uniqlo’s lease in the building.

In 2011, the Japanese clothing retailer signed a 64,000-square-foot lease to take over the retail space previously by Ann Taylor and Dr. Jay’s. Goldman’s estate sued El Fassi, claiming that it was entitled to $7 million in compensation in exchange for its approval of the lease. The lawsuit was settled amicably, and El Fassi later approached the Goldman estate for a net lease deal in another property.

Oved Group operates its headquarters in the building. Another tenant is shared office provider Jay Suites, which doubled its space in the building to 56,000 square feet in 2014.

According to a representative for Oved Group, retailer Zara recently renewed its lease at the property. Zara, which currently occupies approximately 22,000 square feet in the property, signed a seven-year extension.

Update: This story has been updated to reflect the full amount of the new financing on 31 West 34th Street.