The Real Deal New York

Vanbarton lands $140M construction loan to remake former Tribeca Film Festival building

Paramount Group lends on office project at 15 Laight Street
By Rich Bockmann | November 02, 2018 03:30PM

From left:Paramount Group’s Albert Behler, Vanbarton Group’s Richard Coles and Gary Tischler, and 15 Laight Street (Credit: Google Maps)

The former home of the Tribeca Film Festival is ready for its next act.

The Vanbarton Group is moving ahead with plans to convert the 100,000-square-foot building at 15 Laight Street into boutique offices.

The Grand Central-based investment firm, which bought the property two years ago for $90 million, just secured a $141 million loan from the Paramount Group to finance the transformation.

The building could be a “rare opportunity for a tenant to potentially occupy an entire building or floor with direct elevator access, private lobby branding and an intimate work environment” in one of Manhattan’s most sought-after neighborhoods, said JLL’s Aaron Appel, who led the team that secured the financing on behalf of Vanbarton.

The developer plans a gut renovation of the six-story building at the edge of Tribeca, Hudson Square and Soho, complete with new building systems and a design by Gensler, the architecture firm know for specializing in office interiors such as the New York Times headquarters at 620 Eighth Avenue.

Vanbarton will also reposition the retail, which had been home Tribeca Cinemas, the movie theater Robert De Niro opened in the nascent days of the Tribeca Film Festival. The investors who sold the building to Vanbarton – VE Equities and WhiteStar Advisors – bought the theater out of its lease for $2.8 million before selling the property.

The new debt replaces a $46 million loan that Blackstone Group’s mortgage trust had provided in 2016 at the time of acquisition.

Vanbarton, meanwhile, has been active this year. The firm headed by Richard Coles and Gary Tischler earlier this week closed on their $700 million purchase of the trophy Midtown office tower at 425 Lexington Avenue, one of the largest investment-sales deals of the year. (A report from Real Estate Alert said Vanbarton would be making the purchase on behalf of an unidentified fund.)

Paramount Group teamed up with unnamed German institutional investors in 2016 to close a $775 million debt fund. The real estate investment trust recently lent $415 million to Angelo Gordon & Co., Normandy Real Estate Partners and George Comfort & Sons to refinance their 34-story office tower at 575 Lexington Avenue.

The company also participated alongside Natixis and Harbor Group International to lend HNA Group, MHP Real Estate Services and ATCO Properties and Management $342 million to refinance 850 Third Avenue.

JLL’s Jonathan Schwartz, Max Herzog, Mark Fisher Brian Buglione and Patrick Cotter worked on the team that helped secure the financing for Vanbarton Group.