Witkoff sells two commercial condos at
420 Fifth for $52M

Ziff Brothers and Mediterranean Shipping Company bought 33K sq. ft. of space each
By Mary Diduch | May 30, 2019 12:00PM

The fifth floor and exterior of 420 Fifth Avenue with Rudder Property Group's Michael Heller (left) and Michael Rudder

The fifth floor and exterior of 420 Fifth Avenue with Rudder Property Group’s Michael Heller (left) and Michael Rudder (Credit: Rudder Property Group)

Steve Witkoff is fed up with high cost of development in New York City, but he can still make money in other ways — his firm the Witkoff Group just sold two of its four office condos at 420 Fifth Avenue for over $52 million.

Ziff Brothers Investments picked up the fifth floor, which will be used for its new headquarters, for $27.3 million, according to Rudder Property Group, whose Michael Rudder and Mike Heller represented Witkoff in both transactions. CBRE’s Brian Gell represented Ziff, the family office that invests the fortune of publishing magnate Williams Bernard Ziff Jr.

The other buyer was Mediterranean Shipping Company, which already owns two floors at 420 Fifth Avenue measuring a total of 50,000 square feet.

The global shipping firm added on the fourth floor, to be used as extra office space, for $25.1 million, according to Rudder. Cushman & Wakefield’s Diego Rodinó di Miglione represented Mediterranean.

Both floors measure a little over 33,000 square feet, translating to a price per square foot of about $826 for Ziff and nearly $759 for MSC.

In 2006, Witkoff bought four floors totaling 119,000 square feet at the 28-story property, according to the firm’s website. The Real Deal reported that the firm paid $58 million for the four floors.

Witkoff and MSC declined to comment. Ziff did not immediately return a request for comment.

Ziff currently leases its offices at Vornado Realty Trust’s 350 Park Avenue, though it’s subleasing the 15th floor to real estate lender Square Mile Capital. Meanwhile, MSC bought the eighth floor in the 1990s for a price per square foot of about $180, joining buyers The Girl Scouts of America and The Rockefeller Foundation, according to Rudder.

About a year ago, the Wasserman family’s AM Property Holding and Samson Klugman’s Quality Capital USA sold three office condos at the property for $54 million. Eyewear company Luxottica took on two floors for $36 million and Marist College paid $18 million for the other floor.

In February, Witkoff opined that he “can’t do anything in this town today” development-wise due to soaring land and construction costs. He said he will build elsewhere until construction costs in Manhattan — which he said start at roughly $1,000 a foot — come down.