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NEW YORK CITY-Locally based Somerset Partners LLC, which previously acquired 85 10th Ave. in an all-cash transaction, secured a $200-million fixed-rate mortgage on the Chelsea property. The 600,000-sf site was the first office acquired by Somerset, which has a $250-million portfolio of more than 3,000 apartments, mostly in the southeast and southwest.

After a bidding process, the private real estate investor chose to work with Wachovia Securities on the mortgage. Somerset’s team was led by Keith Rubenstein and Marshall Allan. The team is actively pursuing additional investment opportunities. “The property marks a new phase in our ongoing investment strategy,” says Allan, who is the co-founding partner of Somerset Partners. “While we still are actively pursuing multifamily assets nationwide that fit our core investment profile, our first investment in the Manhattan office market proves that Somerset Partners will be an active investor whenever the right opportunity presents itself.”

Built in 1913, 85 10th Ave. is a former Nabisco Factory. In 1999 it was completely repositioned through a nearly $250 million of capital improvements program by Level 3 Communications, which had leased the entire property and added an 11th floor before the bottom dropped out of the telecom market. With 12 building generators providing two megawatts of backup power each, the building can fully function on its own without public power or water for up to 30 days.

The building is currently 100% leased with no rollover for 10 years to the US government, Lehman Brothers, Moet Hennessy, College Sports Television and New York State. Two restaurants–Craft Steak from chef Tom Colicchio and Del Posto from chef Mario Batali–are set to open. Somerset acquired the property from a partnership of Angelo Gordon & Co., Belvedere Capital and Irwin Cohen of ATC Management. The seller was represented by Douglas Harmon of Eastdil Realty LLC, while Somerset was represented by legal counsel Dennis Hellman of Rosenberg & Estis PC.

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