NYMEX’s parent pursues sale of Lower Manhattan headquarters

From left: Newmark's James Kuhn, 1 North End Avenue in Lower Manhattan
From left: Newmark's James Kuhn, 1 North End Avenue in Lower Manhattan

CME Group, the Chicago-based commodities exchange operator, said today it plans to sell the headquarters of the New York Mercantile Exchange at 1 North End Avenue in Lower Manhattan.

The final price for the 16-story Nymex building is unlikely to exceed about $400 to $500 per square foot, given that it is half empty and faces competition for Tenants From Brookfield Place and other nearby properties, according to the New York Post, which first reported the offering.

CME tapped Chicago-based Holly Duran Real Estate Partners, its global real estate advisor, and Newmark Grubb Knight Frank’s James Kuhn and Jennifer Schwartzman to explore the sale.

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NYMEX has occupied the Class A office building, developed by Forest City Ratner, since it opened in 1997. Currently, the exchange takes up 350,000 square feet. CME said it would keep the trading floor there, regardless of a sale, possibly through a leaseback. Rents for the space would likely be around the low-$50s per square foot, the Post said, citing anonymous sources.

It’s possible that a new owner would split up the triple- and double-height trading floors to add an additional floor, bringing the total square footage to 560,000 square feet, the Post said.

Nymex last attempted to sell the building in 2007 for between $600 million and $700 million, but instead CME acquired the exchange for a reported $9.8 billion in 2008.

CME owns the building on a ground lease from the Battery Park City Authority that expires in June 2069. [NYP]Leigh Kamping-Carder