The Real Deal New York

What Vornado plans to do with the massive profits from 220 CPS

"I’m guessing that this is the most successful apartment project ever, anywhere," Steve Roth says on Q4 earnings call
By Kevin Sun | February 12, 2019 01:35PM

220 Central Park, Steve Roth, and a rendering of 2 Penn Plaza (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)

As closings at 220 Central Park South have started rolling in, Vornado Realty Trust knows exactly what it will be doing with the massive profits, estimated at $1 billion.

“Big picture, our financial plan is to redeploy the proceeds of 220 CPS sales into the cap[ital] ex[penses] of Farley, Penn One, and Penn Two,” Vornado CEO Steve Roth said on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call Tuesday morning. “Give or take, we expect to fund all of this cap ex probably with no or very little new debt.”

“I’m guessing that this is the most successful apartment project ever, anywhere,” he added.

In the fourth quarter, Vornado closed 11 units at 220 CPS totaling $222 million dollars, with a $67.3 million after-tax gain. The company has closed another $290 million so far in 2019, the lion’s share of which came from Ken Griffin’s record-breaking $238 million penthouse purchase.

The last of the tower’s 27 large, full-floor apartments is now under contract, and closings will continue through 2020. The first sales from the building will go toward paying off the remainder of a $950 million loan from Bank of China.

“All of the capital that comes out after that, which is gonna be the better part of a couple of billion dollars, will go into cap ex or other purposes,” Roth said. “We’re going to be building these buildings with no interest cost, and therefore the profit in those buildings will be higher.”

The ultra-luxury condo project, which has a projected sellout of $3.4 billion and total construction cost of $1.4 billion, is expected to generate a $1 billion profit for Vornado, according to previous disclosures. The company’s renovation of One Penn Plaza will cost about $200 million, while Vornado and the Related Companies previously committed to invest $630 million into the redevelopment of Moynihan Train Hall. Vornado later purchased a portion of Related’s stake in the project.

For the business at large, the New York-based REIT reported adjusted earnings of $50.99 million or $0.27 per share for the quarter, down from $0.34 per share for the same period the year before.

Though its financing may be in order, Vornado faces other challenges at it developments around Penn Station. Public documents show the the company has asked the city for permission to shut down two public plaza on either side of One Penn, to address the problem of vagrants and drug addicts in the area.