Venezuela bank sells Midtown East landmark to Chinese firm for $30M

Sale follows approved rezoning of the district

11 East 51st Street
11 East 51st Street

The U.S.-arm of Venezuela’s biggest bank has sold a Midtown East landmark for $30 million.

Mercantil Bank sold 11 East 51st Street, also known as the John Pierce Residence, to Soho China, the New York Post reported. The buyer is China’s largest office developer and a partial owner of the General Motors Building.

The six-story building is across the street from St. Patrick’s Cathedral and adjacent to Venezuela’s consulate. The sale, according to the bank, isn’t related to Venezuela’s struggling economy.

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“An opportunity presented itself where we could prudently and profitably dispose of this asset which has been in the works for about two years,” a spokesperson for the bank told the Post.

Ariel Property Advisors’ [TRDataCustom] Victor Sozio, Shimon Shkury, Howard Raber and Jesse Greshin represented the seller.

The sale also follows the approved rezoning of Midtown East. The building on East 51st Street was one of more than 10 landmarks identified by the city as potential sources of air rights for new developments in the district. As part of the rezoning, property owners can buy from an estimated 3.6 million square feet of landmarked air rights to increase building density. Part of the sales proceeds will be dedicated to infrastructure and other public improvements. The John Pierce Residence has an estimated 20,000 square feet of air rights. [NYP] — Kathryn Brenzel