Thor delinquent on $105M loan at 597 Fifth

Joe Sitt's firm missed August and September payments at former home of Scribner's bookstore

New York /
Nov.November 03, 2020 05:46 PM
The Scribner Building at at 597 Fifth Avenue and Joe Sitt of Thor Equities (Wikipedia Commons)

The Scribner Building at at 597 Fifth Avenue and Joe Sitt of Thor Equities (Wikipedia Commons)

Joseph Sitt’s Thor Equities has missed two months of payments on a loan tied to the Charles Scribner’s Sons Building in Midtown, the latest in a series of setbacks for the prolific retail real estate investor.

Thor is now 60 days delinquent on a $105 million loan tied to the property at 597 Fifth Avenue, according to Trepp, which provides data on CMBS loans. Thor modified its loan on the 80,000-square-foot building in May and was current on its payments until July. But it has missed its August and September payments, Trepp data show.

A spokesperson for Thor did not return a request for comment.

UBS Real Estate Securities provided the $105 million loan to Thor to refinance the property in 2014. Thor also took on additional debt, including a $25 million junior mezzanine loan from SL Green Realty and a $10 million senior mezzanine loan from Toronto-based Oxford Properties.

At the time of the 2014 financing deal, the property had an appraised value of $180 million with a Loan to Value of 52.4 percent, according to Trepp.

Thor bought the property for $108.5 million in 2011. The departure of Sephora in 2017 was a headache for Thor , which brought Lululemon into the space on a short-term lease but lost the retailer in early 2019 when it moved on to a 20,000-square-foot space at nearby 592 Fifth Avenue.

In May 2019, the co-working operator Knotel signed a 6,400-square-foot lease at the building. In November 2019, Club Monaco replaced Lululemon.

The 12-story Beaux Arts building, designed by Ernest Flagg, was built in 1912 as the home of a bookstore for the publisher Scribner’s. It boasts 53 feet of frontage on Fifth Avenue. The building was also headquarters for Anthony Weiner’s 2013 mayoral campaign, and was also home to data mining firm Cambridge Analytica before that company collapsed in 2018.

Thor has made a major pivot from its core retail real estate business to industrial. Last year, it started a new business, ThorLogis , which is dedicated to purchasing and developing logistics properties. Amazon recently took more than 300,000 square feet at a Thor property located at 280 Richards Street in Red Hook.

Thor has offloaded some of its Manhattan retail properties in recent years, including a commercial condo at 51 Greene Street and three retail condos at 212 Fifth Avenue.

In August, the company defaulted on a $25 million mezzanine note on 590 Fifth Avenue from SL Green.

Demand for high-end retail space in New York City has dropped off significantly since the onset of the pandemic. Three retail buildings on Madison Avenue recently sold for a combined $45 million or $1,340 per square foot, a sharp decline from 2014 when retail properties on Madison Avenue were selling for more than five times that.


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