Aby Rosen unloads 980 Madison office and land for $560M

RFR recently inked major lease with Bloomberg Philanthropies 

RFR's Aby Rosen, 980 Madison Avenue (Getty, RFR)
RFR's Aby Rosen, 980 Madison Avenue (Getty, RFR)

Months after leasing up the lion’s share of 980 Madison Avenue in a single deal, Aby Rosen’s RFR Holding has unloaded the art gallery, office and retail building and the land under it for $560 million, according to property records.

The Upper East Side building, which Rosen listed early this year, was bought by an entity affiliated with Michael Bloomberg, PincusCo reported. Lawyer David McCabe of Willkie Farr & Gallagher signed for the new owner. He did not return a request for comment in time for publication.

An RFR spokesperson declined to comment.

Last year, RFR landed an anchor tenant at the distinctive building, leasing 86 percent of the space to Bloomberg Philanthropies, according to Morningstar Credit.

The new tenant is expected to take over space leased to the Gagosian Gallery, which occupies 42 percent of the building at $117 per square foot through a lease set to expire in April 2025, Morningstar Credit reported in January.

The fresh ink was a boon for Rosen’s nearly $200 million CMBS loan on the property. The loan failed a debt service coverage ratio test in September 2022, signaling that Rosen’s building wasn’t earning enough revenue to assure his loan servicer he could make his payments.

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The recent sale seemed to assuage Rosen’s servicer, which removed the debt from its watchlist later last year. 

The $560 million sale comes at an opportune moment for Rosen, whose bills have been piling up at other properties.

The $105 million mortgage tied to the office building at 90 Fifth Avenue went to special servicing in March after Rosen fell behind on property taxes. A few days later Rialto Capital Partners sued RFR, alleging that the developer failed to pay off $39 million in promissory notes tied to the Signature Bank loan sale. 

In April, former RFR Holding President Jason Brown sued Rosen, alleging that Rosen failed to fork over a promised $20 million payment. And last month, RFR defaulted on an $80 million loan backed by a multifamily project in Gowanus.

Rosen has also managed some workouts of late. Notably, his firm and co-owner Kushner Companies managed to refinance a four-property Dumbo office portfolio for $480 million after defaulting on the debt last year.

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