Japanese firm Jowa pays $165M for Observer HQ

Investor on a tear with at least two big buys since 2013

Jawo president Tetsuji Kosaki and 321 West 44th Street
Jawo president Tetsuji Kosaki and 321 West 44th Street

UPDATED, Feb. 3, 3:20 p.m.: Japanese investment firm Jowa Holdings picked up a 10-story office building in Hell’s Kitchen for $165 million, property records filed with the city today show. The company, which owns and operates office properties in Tokyo and other major cities, bought the 180,000-plus square-foot building at 321 West 44th Street from Jonothan Yormak’s East End Capital, records show. The building is home to the New York Observer.

East End Capital bought the property on 44th Street between Eighth and Ninth avenues in 2012 for $95.5 million from Jared Kushner, publisher of the Observer and CEO of Kushner Cos.

East End’s Jonathon Yormak said his firm and its partners will hold onto a small equity stake in the property, which they repositioned shortly after acquiring the building.

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“We redid the elevators. We redid the exterior lobbies. We redid all the corridors,” he said. We took leasing from an average place in the low $30s to over $50 a foot, and we brought the building up to 98-percent occupied.”

CBRE brokers Darcy Stacom and Paul Gillen represented both parties in the off-market transaction.

Jowa has been active lately as Japanese investment in New York is poised to grow. The company paid $210 million in January for two Madison Square Park office buildings, at 24-28 West 25th StreetAnd 40 West 25th Street, nearly twice what the sellers paid just two years earlier. In 2013, the firm paid Sherwood Equities and Paramount Group $210 million for an office building at 440 Ninth Avenue.

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