Tommy Hilfiger nears deal to move HQ to RFR’s 285 Madison

Fashion icon is in late-stage talks to lease 150K sf of Midtown East office space

285 Madison, Aby Rosen and Tommy Hilfiger
285 Madison, Aby Rosen and Tommy Hilfiger

Tommy Hilfiger and his Art Basel buddy Aby Rosen will soon share more than their love of Miami Beach ragers.

Hilfiger, a regular attendee of Rosen’s exclusive annual art-show bash, is planning to move his company headquarters from West Chelsea to RFR Realty’s 285 Madison Avenue in Midtown East, where the design company is in late-stage negotiations to take roughly 150,000 square feet.

Hilfiger’s parent company, Phillip Van Heusen, has a lease out covering several floors at the 23-story, 530,000-square-foot building, sources told The Real Deal. Financial terms of the pending deal were not clear, but asking rents at the property range from the $60s to the $80s per square foot.

Negotiations are so far along that Rosen is turning away other prospective tenants, sources said. One of the Madison Avenue address’ big draws is its proximity to Van Heusen’s headquarters at 200 Madison Avenue, just five blocks south of the RFR building.

“Tommy Hilfiger is evaluating a potential new location for office space for its U.S. operations,” Phillip Van Heusen, executive vice president, wrote in a statement.

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A representative for RFR did not respond to requests for comment.

Hilfiger has been located at the Starrett-Lehigh Building since 2004 when it started consolidating its offices across the city. The company sold properties it owned and occupied at 25 West 39th Street and 485 Fifth Avenue near Bryant Park for a total of $100.75 million. Van Heusen, which also owns Calvin Klein and Heritage Brands, bought the company in 2010 for $3 billion.

A JLL team led by Matthew Astrachan, which represents both Tommy Hilfiger as a tenant and landlord RFR at 285 Madison, has listed the 285,000-square-foot Starrett-Lehigh spread on the sublet market, with possession available in the third quarter of next year. The term on the lease runs through 2020.

The commute to Fifth Avenue should be easier for Hilfiger, who in November re-listed his Plaza Hotel penthouse for $58.9 million, a 26 percent discount to the $80 million he had been asking in 2013. Hilfiger told the Wall Street Journal the Plaza is a second home, and he and his wife spend most of their time at their estate in Greenwich, Conn.

In September, RFR bought out its partners GreenOak Real Estate, East End Capital and Downtown Properties at the building, picking up an 85 percent interest that valued the property at just shy of $400 million. Earlier this year, Rosen signed the financial-services software firm Misys to 23,000 square feet in May, which came on the heels of the announcement that GE Capital would take 43,000 square feet at the building.