W Brothers buys building on UES’ Gold Coast for $37M

Retail rents correct, but buyers continue to snap up Madison Avenue properties

766 Madison Avenue
766 Madison Avenue

W Brothers Realty and their partners picked up a mixed-use building on Madison Avenue’s Gold Coast for $37 million from owners who had held the property for nearly 100 years.

The Midtown-based firm bought the five-story building at 766 Madison Avenue in partnership with the Bronx-based Altmark Group and the New Jersey-based Blenden Group, a representative for the new owners confirmed to The Real Deal.

The seller is a corporation controlled by estate-planning attorney James Rice. Public records show the corporation had owned the property since 1925.

“The market’s good, and we got a good offer,” Rice said.

There’s been some recent uptick in investment-sales activity on the high-street stretch of Madison Avenue between 57th and 72nd streets, despite the market correction in retail leasing.

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Ralph Sitt’s Status Capital recently bought the retail condo at the Marquand for nearly $85 million, after chopping the asking price from $125 million.

The purchase price on W Brothers’ acquisition works out to just shy of $6,150 per square foot. The ground-floor retail portion of the building is occupied by the fine-minerals store Mardani, which has about five years left on its lease. The retailer reportedly inked an nearly nine-year lease for its 1,200-square-foot space in 2014 with an asking rent of $1,500 per square foot.

Average retail asking rents on that stretch of Madison were $1,286 per square foot during the third quarter, down nearly 9 percent from slightly more than $1,400 per square foot a year earlier, according to CBRE.

Jeremy Nazarian Itan Rahmani

Jeremy Nazarian and Itan Rahmani

Venture Capital Properties’ Jeremy Nazarian, who represented the buyers in the off-market deal with colleague Itan Rahmani, said that high-street retail with long-term contractual cash flows “continue to remain in high demand.”

W Brothers last year paid $26.8 million to buy the residential portion of 66 Pearl Street in the Financial District.

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