In a sign of how far New York office values have come, Manhattan’s largest office landlord may be back in the business of buying after high prices forced it to the sidelines for several years.
SL Green Realty is in late-stage talks to buy the Plaza District office tower at 450 Park Avenue from Oxford Properties and Crown Acquisitions, people with knowledge of the talks told The Real Deal.
The price is around $440 million, a big discount to the $545 million Oxford and Crown paid when they purchased the 33-story skyscraper during the headier days of 2014.
If the deal goes through it would be a telling indicator from one of the city’s biggest players. SL Green hasn’t bought an office building since late 2018, when it agreed to buy a majority stake in the Hudson Yards-area building at 460 West 34th Street.
A spokesperson for SL Green declined to comment on the negotiations. Representatives for Oxford, the real estate arm of the Canadian pension plan OMERS, and the Chera family’s Crown Acquisitions did not respond to requests for comment.
The two owners teamed up in 2014 as the city’s investment-sales market was approaching its height to buy the 1970s-era skyscraper from Keith Rubenstein’s Somerset Partners and a family trust of British investor and racehorse owner Michael Tabor, who themselves had paid more than $500 million for the tower at the height of the previous boom in 2007.
At the time, Oxford and Crown assigned roughly half of the 330,000-square-foot building’s value to the retail at the base of the tower sitting at the corner of Park Avenue and East 57th Street. The owners recently inked a 17,000-square-foot retail lease with Florida-based BankUnited for its Manhattan flagship.
Oxford and Crown put the building up for sale with CBRE’s Darcy Stacom and Bill Shannahan. Aby Rosen’s RFR Realty was also in the mix at one point to purchase the tower, sources said.
SL Green has been far more active as a seller than as a buyer recently, funneling proceeds from its property sales into the stock-buyback program it initiated in 2016. The program is authorized to purchase up to $3.5 billion of shares.
The REIT repositioned its last acquisition on West 34th Street and leased the building to Amazon and First Republic Bank before selling the property — rebranded as 410 Tenth Avenue — in 2020 for nearly $1 billion.
The sale represented a dichotomy in the Manhattan office market: updated, stabilized buildings leased to quality tenants can still command top-dollar in the sales market. Older buildings, however, are struggling to compete.