Despite the ongoing uncertainty surrounding office space demand, a Connecticut-based private equity firm is betting on a company that specializes in cladding massive commercial towers.
Atlas Holdings announced Wednesday that it acquired Italy-based Permasteelisa Group from Tokyo-based Lixil Group. Permasteelisa, which designs, manufactures and installs building curtain walls, has worked with some of New York City’s biggest developers — most recently completing the glazed aluminum exterior of SL Green Realty’s One Vanderbilt.
The company is also responsible for the facade at Extell Development’s 157 West 57th Street, as well as 7 World Trade Center’s cladding, and that of One WTC and 3 WTC. The company is currently working on Extell’s Central Park Tower. Outside New York City, Permasteelisa designed, manufactured and installed the glass and aluminum panels that cover Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, as well as the curvaceous stainless steel that encases the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
Atlas co-founder Timothy Fazio is aware that the deal may seem ill-timed. Roughly 10 percent of Manhattan office workers have returned as of Sept. 18, the Wall Street Journal reported this week.
“The only time that you know you are doing a great deal is when many other people think you are crazy,” Fazio said. “We realize we are taking a somewhat contrarian view.”
He declined to discuss terms of the deal. Lixl bought Permasteelisa in 2011 for $569 million, according to Reuters.
Atlas has been investing in construction-related companies since 2003. Fazio said that while New York is one of the most challenged markets in the wake of the pandemic, major projects — including JPMorgan’s new headquarters in Midtown East and Facebook’s future office at the Farley Post Office — are still moving forward. Also, because Permasteelisa has a global reach, the firm is operating in cities that are further along in their recovery. The company also has a substantial backlog of work, he said.