Savanna buying Berkeley Building in Midtown

PE firm in contract for Deka's office property at 19 West 44th St.

Savanna is in contract to acquire a nearly 300,000-square-foot office property in the heart of Midtown known as the Berkeley Building for $195 million, The Real Deal has learned.

The private equity firm signed a contract Monday to pay about $660 per square foot for the 16-story, 293,000-square-foot property at 19 West 44th Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues.

More than 50 investment firms toured the property in recent months, sources said. A round of bidding was scheduled for Tuesday, but was called off after the deal went into contract with Savanna, they added.

German investment manager Deka Immobilien hired Colliers International in June to market the building for sale. Deka acquired the building for $123.2 million in 2010 from SL Green Realty, which paid $91.2 million for it in 2005.

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Built in 1917, the property is 86 percent occupied with tenants including FSS Staffing Solutions, Lazare Kaplan International, Robert Derector Associates and public-relations agency Kaplow. Deka overhauled the lobby and added16 office suites. The building’s alternate addresses are 19-25 West 44th Street and 18-22 West 45th Street.

A Colliers team led by Richard Baxter and Robert Stamm is brokering the deal.

Representatives for Colliers, Savanna and Deka declined to comment.

Savanna’s recent purchases include the $126 million deal for 31 West 27th Street in May and the $255 million purchase of the Falchi Building in Long Island City in October. In April, the firm sold a retail condo at 10 Madison Square West to TIAA for $97.5 million.