Rechler Said to Buying 49% of New York’s Worldwide Plaza

Developer Scott Rechler’s RXR Realty agreed to buy a 49 percent stake in Manhattan’s Worldwide Plaza for about $660 million, more than its owners paid for the entire office tower in 2009, said two people briefed on the deal.

The agreement gives RXR an option to buy the rest of the West Side property, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are private. The owners are a partnership led by New York-based George Comfort & Sons.

The deal is another indication that New York office prices are approaching the boom levels reached in 2007, before a credit meltdown caused values to plummet. Comfort, in a partnership including RCG Longview and the Feil Organization, paid $590 million for Worldwide Plaza in July 2009 after developer Harry Macklowe turned the property over to lenders after the market crash. Macklowe had paid $1.74 billion for it the year before.

Worldwide Plaza, a 49-story tower on Eighth Avenue between West 49th and West 50th streets, has 1.8 million square feet (167,000 square meters) of space. Adam Spies and Doug Harmon of Eastdil Secured LLC are representing the tower’s owners.

Telephone calls to Rechler; Peter Duncan, Comfort’s chief executive officer; Michael Boxer, a RCG Longview founding partner; and Jeffrey Feil, Feil Organization’s CEO, weren’t immediately returned.

The agreement was reported yesterday by Real Estate Alert, a newsletter that covers commercial-property sales.

In 2011, Nomura Holdings Inc. agreed to move its offices to Worldwide Plaza from the World Financial Center downtown, filling a large vacancy and increasing the building’s cash flow. Other tenants include the law firm Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP.

For Rechler, the deal would continue a buying spree that began in 2010, when commercial-property values started climbing again. As of February, RXR had acquired or had deals to buy $4.3 billion of New York real estate, making it the biggest post-recession buyer of Manhattan commercial properties after SL Green Realty Corp., the city’s biggest office-building owner.

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