TH Real Estate and Australia’s sovereign wealth fund have sold a New York City office to Japan’s Unizo Holdings for $467.5m (€395m).
TH Real Estate acquired the 31-storey 685 Third Avenue office, which was virtually vacant, as a value-add investment in July 2010 from Pfizer for $190m. Australia’s sovereign wealth fund, Future Fund, acquired a 49.99% interest in the property at the same time.
“Taking a creative approach to unlocking value in New York City office buildings is a fundamental capability for us,” said Giacomo Barbieri, TH Real Estate’s managing director and regional head of New York Metro Investments.
Between 2011 and 2013, TH Real Estate repositioned the building through renovations, improvements, and service additions. This lead to a number of new tenants, bringing the overall occupancy level to 93%, according to manager.
The redevelopment resulted in “multiple offers from a mix of foreign and domestic institutional investors,” Barbieri said. “We believe this is a testament to the continued demand for well-positioned New York office assets, despite the maturity of the cycle.”
Japanese investors have been increasing their purchases of New York City property over the past several years.
This transaction is the sixth acquisition in the city for Unizo, which focuses on prime income-generating office and commercial property in Tokyo and has recently been expanding into the US.
The company owns five other office assets in New York City and eight office assets in Washington. Unizo also invests in hotel property in Japan.
Unizo began acquiring property in Washington, DC in early 2016, according to local property media reports. Unizo’s most recent prior US acquisition was the purchase in August of an office and commercial property in Washington for ¥22.4bn (€169m).
According to the company’s medium-term management plan, Unizo intends to invest ¥161bn over the three years to 2020 in additional office and commercial property assets in Japan and the US, which would bring the value of the its portfolio to ¥800bn.
Future Fund’s portfolio stood at AUD133bn (€88.5bn) at 30 June 2017, with property comprising 6.2% of assets.