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RFR Fetches $560 Million for Upper East Side Property

| Commercial Real Estate News, Deals, Featured, Office| Views: 0

Aby Rosen’s RFR Holding recently sold 980 Madison Ave. — a mixed-use building on the Upper East Side known for its art galleries — for more than half a billion dollars. The buyer is Michael Bloomberg’s Bloomberg Philanthropies, which intends to convert the property into a family office.

Lawyer David McCabe of Willkie Farr & Gallagher closed the deal on behalf of Bloomberg.

This move comes amid financial difficulties for RFR. The company faces roughly $2.5 billion in maturing loans and has defaulted on mortgages for other properties. Although it secured $238 million in refinancing for 980 Madison in 2021, another loan tied to the building became delinquent in 2022.

RFR originally acquired the five-story building in 2004 from the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation. The company followed its $126 million takeover with a major overhaul of the property. At present, 980 Madison includes a 48,064-square-foot showroom, along with roughly 10,000 square feet of retail space.

Notably, 980 Madison has had a reputation as a hub for the New York art scene since the Gagosian Gallery first moved in around 1987. Since then, Gagosian has occupied a substantial portion of the property at a rate of $117 per square foot. The existing lease is set to expire in April 2025, and the current tenants were informed in October that they would need to vacate the premises as Bloomberg Philanthropies had secured a sizable 30-year lease for 115,824 square feet at $185 per square foot.

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