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JPMorgan Said to Agree to Acquire Tower for $650 Million

May 7 (Bloomberg) -- JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s asset-management unit agreed to buy the 31-story tower at 425 Lexington Ave. in midtown Manhattan for about $650 million, a person with knowledge of the plans said.

A contract to acquire the 750,000-square-foot (70,000-square-meter) building is likely to be completed soon, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. It’s one of two Manhattan towers being marketed by Houston-based developer Hines, along with 499 Park Ave., designed by I.M. Pei.

New York commercial-property transactions are forecast to climb this year as investors globally see Manhattan as a safe place to buy real estate. Brokerage Cushman & Wakefield last month projected sales of $14.6 billion for the first half of 2013, up from $10.8 billion a year earlier.

Alyson Leiter, a Hines spokeswoman, said the company had no comment on the planned sale of 425 Lexington. Douglas Harmon, senior managing director at Eastdil Secured, who’s marketing the building, and Darin Oduyoye, a spokesman for New York-based JPMorgan, also declined to comment.

Law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, the tower’s primary tenant, with 595,000 square feet on 26 floors, renewed its lease through 2033, Hines said last month.

Hines bought the glass tower, completed in 1987, for $346 million in 2003, according to Real Capital Analytics Inc., a New York-based property-research firm. The building is on the east side of Lexington between East 43rd and 44th streets, just north of the Chrysler Building.

The JPMorgan agreement was reported by Crain’s New York Business on its website earlier today.

To contact the reporter on this story: David M. Levitt in New York at dlevitt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at kwetzel@bloomberg.net

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