Savanna buying Midtown South office building for $126M

Westbrook was the latest owner in a series of short-term holds

From left: Westbrook's Sush Torgalkar, 31 West 27th Street and Savanna's Chris Schlank
From left: Westbrook's Sush Torgalkar, 31 West 27th Street and Savanna's Chris Schlank

Savanna [TRDataCustom] is in contract to pick up a 144,000-square-foot Midtown South office building from Westbrook Partners for $126 million, or $875 per square foot, sources told The Real Deal.

The Midtown-based private equity firm is paying more than $10 million above the $115 million asking price for the 12-story property at 31 West 27th Street, between Sixth Avenue and Broadway, in NoMad.

Hodges Ward Elliott’s Will Silverman, Paul Gillen and Daniel Parker began marketing the building for sale in March. Sources said that Eyal Ofer’s Global Holdings and MetLife were among the bidders for the property.

If the deal closes, it will be the fifth time the building has traded hands in 11 years. With each purchase, the property’s value has steadily grown.

Steve Witkoff’s Witkoff Group bought it for $31.5 million in 2006, then Sharif El-Gamal’s Soho Properties paid $45.7 million in 2009. San Francisco-based Walnut Group bought it for $65 million in 2012 and sold it two years later to Westbrook for $80.8 million.

Westbrook boosted occupancy at the building from 93 to 100 percent, and made renovations. Film studio A24, Stella Adler Acting Studio and Federated Media Publishing are among the tenants.

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A representative for Westbrook could not be immediately reached, and Savanna and the brokers declined to comment.

Office asking rents in the Chelsea submarket average $73.63 per square foot, according to a first-quarter Newmark Grubb Knight Frank report.

Savanna recently acquired the Falchi Building in Long Island City for $255 million and also picked up a minority stake in 55 Broadway with partner Paramount Group. Savanna also sold a retail condo at 10 Madison Square West to TIAA for $97.5 million last month.

Konrad Putzier and Hiten Samtani contributed reporting.

(To view more of Savanna’s commercial sales transactions, click here)