Mystery buyer of SL Green’s 600 Lex is revealed

Connecticut-based insurer W. R. Berkley closes on $305M purchase of office tower

From left: 600 Lexington Avenue, W. Robert Berkley and Marc Holliday
From left: 600 Lexington Avenue, W. Robert Berkley and Marc Holliday

The buyer of SL Green Realty’s 36-story Midtown office tower at 600 Lexington Avenue is W. R. Berkley Corporation, a Connecticut-based insurance company making its first big office purchase in New York City, The Real Deal has learned.

The sale, which generated cash proceeds of roughly $292 million for SL Green, closed Tuesday, according to sources familiar with the property. It is the first big investment sales deal to close in 2018.

SL Green announced in November that it was in contract to sell the 300,000-square-foot property for $305 million. The Commercial Observer had reported the buyer was an unnamed U.S. insurer.

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W. R. Berkley, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut, is new to New York real estate but not to the U.S. investment-sales market. As of its third-quarter earnings report, the firm’s investment portfolio is valued at $1.4 billion, accounting for about 7.5 percent of its total $18.4 billion in investments. The 600 Lexington deal appears to be W. R. Berkley’s first major purchase in the city to date. The firm has been more active in Washington, D.C., where it sold an office building on New York Avenue for $120 million in July.

The firm, founded by Chairman William Robert Berkley, is headquartered in Greenwich and had leased space for its underwriting unit at 317 Madison Avenue.

CBRE’s Darcy Stacom and Bill Shanahan brokered the deal. They declined to comment, and representatives for SL Green and W. R. Berkley did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The property is 99 percent leased and houses such tenants as hedge fund Element Capital Management and law firmHawkins Parnell Thackston & Young.

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