SL Green Realty Corp., Manhattan’s biggest office landlord, agreed to buy the HarperCollins Building on East 53rd Street in Midtown for about $265 million, two people with knowledge of the deal said.
The price values the 37-story tower at about $680 a square foot, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations were private. The New York-based real estate investment trust reached the agreement late last week, the person said.
The deal caps a year in which SL Green was the biggest buyer of New York commercial property, according to data from Real Capital Analytics Inc. This year’s transactions include stakes in 3 Columbus Circle, 280 Park Ave. and 180 Maiden Lane, as well as the purchase of retail properties along Fifth and Madison avenues that are occupied by luxury merchants such as Prada, Valentino and Giorgio Armani.
SL Green was involved in the acquisition or recapitalization of about $5.6 billion of properties in 2010, including partial-interest transactions and deals in which it swapped debt for equity, Real Capital said. The total includes $416 million of deals that are still pending.
The price for the 388,000-square-foot (36,000-square-meter) tower at 10 E. 53rd St. was kept down by the expiration of leases for about 80 percent of the building in 2014, according to one of the people. At least $30 million of renovations will be needed to re-lease the space, the person said.
Rick Matthews, an SL Green spokesman, declined to comment.
Among the tenants with a lease expiring is HarperCollins Publishers, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. The book publisher has about 204,000 square feet, more than half the building, according to CoStar Group Inc., a Washington-based real estate information service.
The tower’s owner is New Millennium Estates Ltd. of New York, and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA of Turin, Italy, the country’s largest bank by market value, is a lender to it, according to city property records. The glass-and-steel skyscraper, completed in 1972, was built by brothers Percy and Harold Uris, according to CoStar.
The building is managed by Houston-based Hines Interests LP, the closely held real estate owner whose chairman is investor Gerald Hines.
Alyson Grala, a Hines spokeswoman, and Francesca Palermo-Patera, a Milan-based spokeswoman for Intesa Sanpaolo, both declined to comment. Telephone calls to Richard Anderman, an attorney who has represented New Millennium, and Teri Everett, a News Corp. spokeswoman, weren’t immediately returned.
The tower is half a block east of 666 Fifth Ave., where owner Jared Kushner restructured $1.2 billion of debt earlier this month in a deal that valued the office portion of the building at about $835 a square foot, according to a report by Sandler O’Neill & Partners LP. Vornado Realty Trust, an SL Green rival, gained a 49.5 percent stake in the tower in that transaction.
Other neighbors include St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Rockefeller Center, both about two blocks south.