Carlyle sells 650 Madison for $1.3bn

In the largest single-asset purchase in the US in more than two years, the Washington DC-based private equity firm has sold a trophy office and retail tower in midtown Manhattan to a joint venture between Crown Acquisitions and Highgate.

Washington DC-based private equity firm The Carlyle Group is selling 650 Madison Avenue in midtown Manhattan for $1.3 billion in the largest single-asset property deal in the US in two-and-a-half years. 

Crown Acquisitions, an owner-operator that specializes in retail properties, and Highgate, a real estate investment firm, are under contract to acquire the 27-story glass-and-steel office and retail tower. A report from the Commercial Observer noted that this purchase is the largest single-asset sale in the US since Google acquired 111 Eighth Avenue from Taconic Investment Partners in 2010 for approximately $1.8 billion. 

“This is a great outcome for our investors and validates our opportunistic approach,” said Robert Stuckey, managing director and head of US real estate at Carlyle. 

Added Carlyle managing director Andrew Chung: “We had a strong conviction in the underlying value of this property when we acquired it during the Great Recession, and we are pleased to capitalize on the success of our active repositioning and leasing plan.” The firm initially purchased the 600,472-square-foot property in 2008 on behalf of its $3 billion opportunistic real estate fund, Carlyle Realty Partners V. 

Originally built in 1957 as a 10-story corporate headquarters for the CIT Corporation, 650 Madison was redeveloped in 1987 by Hiro Real Estate, which added 17 floors to the building. The property, which currently is 92 percent leased, serves as the global corporate headquarters for Polo Ralph Lauren.