GM Building stake sells for $1.4B

Deal with Chinese, Brazilian investors makes property most valuable office building in U.S.

From left: Darcy Stacom, William Shanahan and the GM Building
From left: Darcy Stacom, William Shanahan and the GM Building

The families of Chinese real estate developer Zhang Xin and Brazilian banking magnate Moise Safra paid $1.4 billion for a 40 percent stake in the General Motors building, the Wall Street Journal reported. This values the building at 767 Fifth Avenue at roughly $3.4 billion, making it the country’s most valuable office property.

Relatives of Zhang – who is the founder and chief executive officer of Beijing megadeveloper Soho China – and the Safra family’s New York-based investment arm M. Safra & Co. bought the stake in the 50-story, 2 million-square-foot property through an entity called Sungate Trust, a source familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News.

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The sellers were Goldman Sachs Group s U.S. Real Estate Opportunities Fund, which invests on behalf of the sovereign wealth funds of Kuwait and Qatar; and Dubai-based private equity firm Meraas Capital, the source told Bloomberg News. The sale closed May 31, the source added.

The building – which takes up a full block between Fifth and Madison Avenues and 58th and 59th Street — houses an Apple store at street level. The deal — which follows Crown Acquisitions and Highgate Holdings’ $1.3 billion purchase of 650 Madison Avenue from the Carlyle Group — comes at a time when investors looking for yield have been paying top dollar for high-end office properties, causing values to escalate faster than rents and occupancy.

CBRE Group’s Darcy Stacom and Bill Shanahan handled the transaction. Boston Properties retains a 60 percent stake in the building and isn’t looking to sell, according to the Journal. [WSJ and Bloomberg News] –   Hiten Samtani