Deal at Minskoff’s 51 Astor could be Midtown South’s priciest

Money manager Claren Road takes 25,000 sf top-floor space; asking rent was $118 psf

From left: 51 Astor Place and Edward Minskoff
From left: 51 Astor Place and Edward Minskoff

Claren Road Asset Management, a credit-focused money manager that is a subsidiary of private equity giant the Carlyle Group, will take the top floor of Edward Minskoff’s 51 Astor Place, The Real Deal has learned. The 25,401-square-foot space was asking a rent of $118 per square foot, a record for Midtown South. Sources familiar with the transaction said that it was likely the priciest per-square-foot deal struck in the neighborhood.

“It’s got 18-foot slab heights with floor-to-ceiling glass, tremendous infrastructure and is virtually column-free,” said JLL’s Paul Glickman, who along with colleague Cynthia Wasserberger, represented Edward J. Minskoff Equities in the transaction. Glickman declined to comment on the financial terms of the 10-year deal, but noted the panoramic views and space efficiency that the floor offers.

Jeffrey Sussman, a vice-president at Edward J. Minskoff Equities who worked on the deal in-house, declined to comment. The Fumihiko Maki-designed 12-story, 400,000-square-foot property, located on the tip of the East Village right across from Cooper Union, began leasing in June, and landed its first tenant, online vintage goods auctioneer 1stdibs, in October. The building has since scored some high-profile names. IBM’s Watson Group became the building’s anchor tenant with a 120,000-square-foot deal struck at the beginning of this year. The IBM unit will pay rents ranging from the low-$80s to the low-$90s per square foot, according to the Wall Street Journal. MailOnline, the website of popular British tabloid the Daily Mail, also signed a deal in which it will pay per-square-foot rents in the high-$90s for the ninth floor, sources said.

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The building is now over 85 percent leased, Glickman said.

Claren Road will be relocating from the 29th floor of Paramount Group’s 900 Third Avenue. Representatives for Claren Road weren’t immediately available for comment. Carlyle took a 55 percent stake in the company in December 2010, a move that allowed longtime investors Goldman Sachs and Citigroup to exit, according to the New York Times. At the time, Claren Road had $4.5 billion in assets under management.

(Christopher Cameron contributed reporting to this article)