Brookfield hands landmark Brill Building to lender

Big-band mecca swings to Mack Real Estate Group

Brookfield Asset Management's Bruce Flatt and 1619 Broadway
Brookfield Asset Management's Bruce Flatt and 1619 Broadway (Brookfield, Google Maps)

The Brill Building is swinging once again — this time to a new owner.

Bruce Flatt’s Brookfield Asset Management has transferred control of the former big band jazz haven in Midtown to its lender, the family owned and operated Mack Real Estate Group, in a transaction valued at $216.1 million.

The transaction is an entity-level transfer, meaning Mack bought the LLC that owns the property, not the property itself. The deal was first reported by PincusCo. Mack had provided a $145 million consolidated mortgage in 2018.

Brookfield acquired the building for $213.2 million in 2017 after foreclosing on a $60 million mezzanine loan. The previous owners were Allied Partners, Brockman & Associates, New York’s Conway Capital and an Israeli pension fund. They had hoped to lease the retail space to Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant, but the deal didn’t materialize.

Located at 1619 Broadway, the Brill Building has a long, storied history in music and pop culture. After its opening in 1931, the property became an epicenter of big band jazz composition, producing charts for the Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey jazz orchestras.

Benny Goodman
Benny Goodman (Getty)

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That was only the beginning. By the end of the 1950s, the property was so synonymous with a particular slice of pop music that the subgenre was coined “the Brill Building sound.” Merging pop with a Latin feel, its examples include Bobby Darin’s “Dream Lover,” Neil Sedaka’s “Calendar Girl” and Connie Francis’s “Stupid Cupid.”

Musicians who were headquartered at the Brill Building include Liza Minnelli, the Ronettes, the Shangri-Las, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and Dionna Warwick. The building was also home to a number of record companies. It was designated a landmark in 2010.

Today the distinctly Art Deco Brill Building is an 11-story retail and office property with 24 units and 158,000 square feet. The ground floor retail tenant is CVS.

Both Brookfield and Mack Real Estate Group declined to comment. 

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