Vornado to Sell Harlem Office-Tower Site for $65 Million

Vornado Realty Trust agreed to sell a parcel near the MetroNorth commuter rail station in Manhattan’s Harlem neighborhood, where it had planned to build an office tower five years ago.

Vornado will receive $65 million plus unspecified additional amounts as “brownfield” credits, which are concessions governments make to developers who clean up contaminated sites, the New York-based real estate investment trust said today in a statement. The buyer wasn’t named.

Chairman Steven Roth, in his annual letter to investors on April 12, said the company would “buy carefully and likely sell more than we buy.” Vornado last year began reducing its investments outside its specialty areas of New York and Washington in an effort to simplify its holdings. The company owns almost 20 million square feet (1.9 million square meters) of Manhattan office buildings.

A plan for the Harlem site unveiled in 2007 called for the neighborhood’s first new office building in more than 30 years, a 21-story, 640,000-square-foot tower to be called Harlem Park. Its location, next to the first Manhattan stop on the MetroNorth rail lines from the northern suburbs, “screams to be an office site,” David Greenbaum, Vornado’s New York president, said at the time.

The MLB Network, a television channel operated by Major League Baseball, was to be the tower’s anchor tenant, the New York Times reported in 2008. That plan unraveled because of disagreements over lease terms, the newspaper said.

Vornado will have a net gain of about $22 million from the land sale, which is expected to be completed by the end of June, the company said.

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