Real Estate Finance and Investment | 01.29.18

By Kaitlyn Mitchell — January 29, 2018

GHC Development and Clarion Partners are seeking retail or entertainment tenants for 123 Greenwich Street, the original home of the American Stock Exchange, touting the building’s unique location, provenance, and structural and architectural features to potential tenants. “With four floors of façade, this property has buyer identity written all over the building,” said Allan Fried, CEO of GHC.

The column-free buildings mean the property’s ground floor would be a good fit for an experiential retail tenant that is looking for a flagship space. The building would be suitable for a range of tenants that could include Nike or even a high-end car company like Maserati. A performing arts company like Cirque du Soleil might also be interested in the space. “No
obstruction from columns lends itself well to a theater facility,” he added. “It’s hard to replicate 60-foot ceiling heights that are column-free in Manhattan.”

The partners could garner rents in the range of $15m to $20m on an annual basis for the retail component. “The flavor of Downtown Manhattan has changed, with new fashion and media office tenants like Conde Nast and Spotify,” Fried added. “This is not your grandfather’s Financial District – now there’s a nightlife, 15m tourists, 60,000 residents, and 500,000 workers
providing different demand drivers for different types of products and services.”

For the tower portion of the building, GHC has received inquiries from traditional office users, as well as WeWork-type users and hotels. The 1921 vintage, three-floor property has about 80,000 square feet of space spread out over three different levels, including two 25,000 square foot column-free floorplates, each with unique entrances fronting both Greenwich Street and Trinity Place. It currently serves as back office space for the American Stock Exchange.

GHC Development acquired the property and the adjacent 22 Thames Street development site from the American Stock Exchange for $65m in 2011. “We bought the property during the downturn – it was a risky purchase of a very large development site,” Fried said. “People didn’t appreciate what my asset would become. This is a standalone building with its own history and unique face – it’s a destination.”

The deal had its share of complexities. GHC worked with Landmarks Preservation Commission to separate 123 Greenwich Street at 22 Thames Street, transfer air rights to the development site at 22 Thames, secure approvals for adaptive reuse, and increase the size and number of windows in the American Stock Exchange Building to make the property a retail site for different types of users.

In 2012, GHC Development sold the development site, which today is being built as 125 Greenwich Street. “The marketplace was somewhat heated at the time, which gave us an opportunity to realize future assets,” Fried added. “This allowed someone else to assume the risk and reward and downside in an uncertain market, and gave us more strength to develop the American Stock Exchange Building.”

Redevelopment costs are expected to be $65m. GHC Development has hired the retail leasing team of Dan Harroch, Matthew Seigel and Payal Doshi as exclusive agents for the property.