Black Spruce snaps up American Copper Buildings for $850M

JDS Development Group and Baupost Group trading Murray Hill apartment towers

American Copper Buildings at 626 First Avenue (SHoP Architect)
American Copper Buildings at 626 First Avenue (SHoP Architect)

Josh Gotlib’s Black Spruce Management decided copper is well worth its coin, laying down approximately $850 million for the American Copper Buildings.

The pair of Murray Hill luxury apartment towers at 626 First Avenue is being sold by Michael Stern’s JDS Development Group and the Baupost Group, people familiar with the transaction told Bloomberg. The outlet reported the sale is expected to close in the first half of 2022.

Michael Stern of JDS Development Group

When the contract closes, it will mark one of the biggest residential deals in New York City since the onset of the pandemic. Bloomberg reported that Doug Harmon and Adam Spies of Cushman & Wakefield brokered the deal.

There are approximately 600 market-rate units and 160 rent-stabilized units in the buildings, which are uniquely connected by a bridge 300 feet in the air. Monthly rents range from $3,700 to more than $17,000, according to Amenities at the apartment towers include an infinity pool on the rooftop, a hot tub and a sky bar.

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In 2018, Citi Habitats stopped marketing the project, handing the lease-up to Bold New York. Both sides aimed to portray the split at the development as their own decision.

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Black Spruce is set to close the deal amid a hot rental market. A Redfin report published in November showed areas in the New York metro, including the city, are seeing some of the biggest year-over-year rent growth, as the average rose 31 percent in October.

New York City’s average rent of $3,665 is tied with Nassau County and New Jersey’s New Brunswick and Newark for the highest in the nation.

In July, Black Spruce recapitalized a portion of a 60-building, 1,800-unit portfolio. The Chetrit brothers agreed to acquire a roughly 50 percent interest in a group of Manhattan multifamily buildings for approximately $200 million. The recapitalization valued the portfolio at nearly $400 million.

[Bloomberg] — Holden Walter-Warner