Durst’s commercial condo gamble pays off with nonprofit deal

United Way takes 50K sf at 205 East 42nd St.

The Durst Organization has leased 50,000 square feet at 205 East 42nd Street to United Way, a vindication of the developer’s decision to turn part of the building into condominiums for nonprofits, Crain’s reported.

Durst began the process of targeting nonprofits two years ago, after losing pharmaceutical giant Pfizer as an anchor tenant in 2011. First, the developer went after the state’s OK to convert the 21-story, 530,000-square-foot building’s floors into separate condominium interests; then, it started marketing the space to nonprofits, which get about a 15 percent break on their real estate taxes, Durst executive Tom Bow told the magazine. 

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The City University of New York signed on as Durst’s first nonprofit tenant, taking 161,000 square foot, and now United Way has inked a lease valued at more than $60 million for Durst. Both deals were structured as leasehold condo interests; the two tenants will buy their spaces for a set period, then the ownership will revert back to Durst. [Crain’s]Hiten Samtani