NEW YORK CITY-Following earlier, unconfirmed reports that the 76-story New York by Gehry at Eight Spruce Street apartment tower was being recapitalized, Forest City Ratner Cos., TIAA-CREF and National Real Estate Advisors made it official just before the Christmas holiday. The three organizations announced that TIAA had acquired a 49% equity ownership in the residential portion of the 898-unit high-rise in Lower Manhattan, currently the tallest apartment tower in the US and valued at $1.05 billion in the recap. It’s the highest valuation ever for a US multifamily property, according to Real Capital Analytics.
Original partners FCRC and NREA are retaining stakes of 26% and 25%, respectively. Before TIAA entered the picture, FCRC was 51% equity owner, while NREA controlled 49%.
In a statement, Bruce Ratner, chairman and CEO of FCRC, says the valuation of New York by Gehry is “the result of a tremendous amount of planning and care, with respect to everything from site selection to the building’s world-class design and top-tier amenities and management. Our goal has been to bring condominium-quality living to the luxury rental market, and it is clear today that we have succeeded.”
From the standpoint of TIAA-CREF, making a sizeable investment in the multifamily sector—citing unnamed sources, the Wall Street Journal reported two weeks ago that the asset manager was paying $250 million for its 49% stake—was a safe bet. Judging by the NCREIF NPI Index and individual sector indices, the apartment sector outperforms the total NPI with a higher frequency than any other sector on a quarterly basis since its inception in the first quarter of 1978, at 64% of the time.
“We believe that high-quality multifamily assets in cities with the strongest demographics, such as New York, can be powerful additions to our well-diversified real estate portfolios,” Phil McAndrews, head of real estate transactions and joint ventures at TIAA-CREF, says in a release. The opportunity to invest in state-of-the-art, high-rise urban apartment complexes can be rare and we look forward to working with Forest City to maximize the value of this asset for our clients over the long-term.” As of this past Sept. 30, TIAA-CREF owned more than $19 billion of properties in the office, retail, industrial and multifamily sectors across the US, Canada and Western Europe, out of a total of $495 billion worth of assets under management.