Overlooking City Hall Park in Lower Manhattan, the Woolworth Building was the tallest in the world when built in 1913.
The Woolworth family sold the 60-story tower in 1998, and in 2012 the Witkoff Group and Cammeby’s International sold the top half to Alchemy Properties, which would convert it into high-end condos.
Witkoff and Cammeby’s still own the office portion of the building, at 233 Broadway, and in 2015 refinanced it with a $256 million loan from Blackstone. The financing was expanded to $355 million in 2018, and last fall a $56 million piece of the debt was included in a CMBS deal named BXMT 2020-FL3.
Documents from the securitization provide an inside look at the property’s finances.
As of last July, the 790,000-square-foot office condominium was 92 percent leased to 84 tenants, up from 79 percent in 2015. The five largest tenants occupy 40 percent of the building and account for 42 percent of annual base rent.
The largest tenant is New York University, which has been there since 2003. Its 94,000-square-foot space is home to part of NYU’s School of Professional Studies as well as some administrative offices.
The second-largest tenant is the New York City Law Department, which represents the city in civil and criminal cases. Last February, a month before work-from-home became a big thing, the department expanded its space by more than 70 percent to 85,000 square feet.
The third-largest tenant is the New York City Police Pension Fund, whose main office has been at the Woolworth Building since 2002. Shop Architects and Allied Advertising round out the top five.
As of September, six months into the pandemic, rent collection at the property stood at 72 percent, according to the loan prospectus.
The debt, which matures this May but has two one-year extension options, has remained current throughout the pandemic. The 2018 upsizing of the loan came with an additional $99 million in mezzanine debt and returned about $74 million in equity to the landlord.
When Kroll Bond Rating Agency representatives visited the site in October, several retail spaces were vacant and boarded up — including Starbucks, bankrupt stationery chain Papyrus and half of T-Mobile’s space.
The Woolworth Building’s five-story penthouse hit the market with an asking price of $110 million in 2017, drawing skepticism amid a slowdown in the condo market. In 2019 the price was slashed to $79 million. In November, a contractor sued Alchemy over more than $1 million in unpaid bills.