Which Major REIT Gets a Patriotic Leasing Deal?

650 Fifth Ave., by Kevin Hagen for the Wall Street Journal


The Wall Street Journal reports that a five-year U.S. government court fight led to a venture between SL Green Realty Corp. and retail investor Jeff Sutton signing a 49-year lease at 650 Fifth Avenue.

The 52nd Street space is considered prime retail space; the article notes out that retail space in neighboring 666 Fifth Avenue was sold for more than $8,000 per square foot in 2012.

The lease deal was signed by a court monitor, according to the story, which is overseeing the building the U.S. government alleges is secretly owned by the Iranian government. The court battle, the story says, has created high vacancy rates in the property.

The WSJ says the lease was signed Thursday, and an announcement is slated for today. It also reports that “SL Green declined to comment on financial details of the deal, but a court document last month said the long-term lease would bring the building more than $30,000 a day in additional revenue,” tallying that the lease would yield more than $10 million annually.

The former Piaget building, the government alleged in federal court charges five years ago, were run by a foundation and a company that both were “fronts for the Iranian government that had violated sanctions against Iran, including some dating back to the Clinton administration, and that both were engaging in money laundering.” 

A September ruling current being appealed, the WSJ says, found that both organizations violated the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and commited money-laundering offenses. That led to the new retail leasing deal led by SL Green, one of NYC's most prominent commercial landlords.

The full story can be found here.

Source: Wall Street Journal, SL Green Realty Corp. Jeff Sutton
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