Top Rock revealed as buyer of former Fifth Ave WeWork for $100M

Uri Mermelstein’s firm plans condo conversion at office portion of 609 Fifth Ave, which it bought from SL Green

Top Rock's Uri Mermelstein and Joseph Yushuvayev with 609 Fifth Avenue (LinkedIn, SL Green Realty)
Top Rock's Uri Mermelstein and Joseph Yushuvayev with 609 Fifth Avenue (LinkedIn, SL Green Realty)

A former WeWork space in Midtown that traded for $100 million last week could soon become Fifth Avenue’s latest condo project.

Uri Mermelstein’s Top Rock Holdings was the buyer of the office portion of 609 Fifth Avenue, a person familiar with the matter told The Real Deal, adding that the developer plans to build residential condos there.

SL Green announced last week that it had sold the property, but referred to the buyer only as a “domestic investor” whose plans were not disclosed.

The office portion of the building has been sitting empty since WeWork vacated its lease last year. The building’s retail space, owned by the Reuben Brothers, is anchored by Puma.

Top Rock, along with its partner RJ Capital Holdings, plans to bring on a luxury brand to build condos with the goal of attracting wealthy buyers, the person said.

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Valley National Bancorp provided about $80 million in financing for the acquisition.

SL Green acquired the building from Wharton Properties before splitting the 168,000-square-foot property into retail and offices. It repositioned the building after dollmaker American Girl left for 75 Rockefeller Plaza and offered its office tenants buyouts.

The 29,000-square-foot retail portion was subsequently leased to Puma in 2018. WeWork leased the entire 139,000-square-foot office portion the same year.

By 2020, SL Green was looking to sell the property, apparently to reduce its exposure to WeWork, Crain’s reported at the time. The Reuben Brothers picked up the building’s retail portion for $168 million, while WeWork terminated its lease last year, leaving the office portion to sit empty.

Led by Mermelstein and Joseph Yushuvayev, Top Rock Holdings, along with SYU Properties and RJ Capital, is also seeking to redevelop the former Parkway Hospital in Forest Hills, Queens. The group paid $31.7 million for the property last year.