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NEW YORK CITY-Continuing its quest for high-end retail properties, SL Green has entered into two separate joint ventures with Jeff Sutton, a borrower in the firm’s structured-finance program, totaling approximately $162.5 million. The first venture involves two adjoining retail buildings, 1551 and 1555 Broadway, and a retail and commercial building at 21 W. 34th St. The second venture involves a mixed-use property at 141 Fifth Ave.

The deals are a “significant expansion of our high-end retail” initiative, according to SL Green’s chief investment officer Andrew Mathias. “We see retail as an area we want to continue to expand,” said Mathias during the firm’s second-quarter earnings call. SL Green sees strong rental potential in the sector and will also continue to explore additional joint ventures with Sutton, he added.

In the first venture, which closed in the second quarter, the JV acquired the fee interests in 1551/1555 Broadway and in 21 W. 34th St. The Times Square properties were built in 1890s and were most recently occupied by a Howard Johnson’s restaurant, which closed in the beginning of July after 46 years at this location. They have 71 feet of retail frontage along Broadway. “1551/1555 Broadway are located in the center of Times Square on the corridor of Broadway and 46 Street,” according to the company. “The location is regarded as one of the world’s highest profile retail corners.” The project was financed through a new acquisition facility provided by Eurohypo.

The 34th Street property is a five-story retail and commercial building that features 50 feet of retail frontage on 34th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues near Herald Square.

In the second joint venture deal, which is scheduled to close during the third quarter–possibly August, SL Green and Sutton will acquire 141 Fifth Ave., a retail/office building at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 21st Street, for $60 million. The Flatiron District property was built in 1902 and totals nearly 100,000 sf. The building is 90% occupied, according to SL Green.

“These transactions represent a significant initiative to partner with Sutton on under-performing retail opportunities,” Mathias says in a statement. Sutton’s experience in the Manhattan retail sector includes the repositioning of 609 Fifth Ave. with American Girl, of 40 West 34th St. with American Eagle and of 720 Fifth Ave. with Abercrombie and Fitch.

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