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NEW YORK CITY-Tomorrow’s the day when the board of Reckson Associates Realty Corp. votes on the much-publicized acquisition by SL Green Realty Corp., and despite varied attempts to derail the buy-out, the Reckson board yesterday urged its shareholders to approve the deal.

In a statement, officials of the company stated that the board, “by a vote of its independent directors, has reaffirmed its recommendation of Reckson’s pending merger with SL Green.”

But even before the added firepower of Reckson performance, SL Green is chalking up a banner 2006. Even without the merger, the company will have completed $1.05 billion in real estate transactions in 2006, according to president and CEO Marc Holliday.

Shareholders will receive an 84.1% return on investment this year. The three-year return to shareholders is almost 290%, with the five-year return at 451%. The strength of the company was further illustrated yesterday when SL Green increased ownership in two Midtown class A properties.

The company invested $285 million on the office property at 800 Third Ave. SL Green will hold a minority ownership in the property in a partnership with Joseph P. Day Realty Corp. and the Eastate of Norman Levy. The 40-story, class A property is 93% leased, and located in the Grand Central submarket, the company’s sweet spot according to Andrew Mathias, chief investment officer. “This acquisition was an 18-month top-secret transaction,” Mathias said of the off-market investment.

SL Green will now have an 87% ownership interest in 485 Lexington Ave, another class A office property in the Midtown market. SL Green, with CIF and the Witkoff Group, acquired the property in 2004, and has since brought occupancy to 88%. CIF and the Witkoff Group sold some of their shares of the building to SL Green. The company also recapped 521 Fifth Ave., a property SL Green manages and leases.

Company executives spoke about SL Green’s positive 2006 year and look forward to an equally strong 2007. During the conference, Holliday specifically addressed the main topic on everybody’s minds: the pending merger with Reckson. “Obviously at this point it may be out of our control which way it goes,” he said. Holliday was referring to a new bid, entered that morning by investor Carl Icahn. Holliday said entering into the agreement to acquire Reckson was a major highlight of the year, but once the emotional aspect of the deal is stripped away, it is still “a business opportunity and an asset trade.”

He confirmed that SL Green would not increase its bid for the company to match Icahn’s $49 per share bid because the transaction was not worth the additional money. “We don’t chase deals that don’t make sense. We don’t do bidding wars. We just don’t believe the value is there, I think the withdrawal of Macklowe and Mack-Cali shows that.”

Holliday went on to say he sees the merger as a win-win situation, even if Reckson does go to another bidder. He referenced the $100-million break-up fee that SL Green would receive if Reckson went with another suitor. “We are in a very good position which ever way this deal turns out, we are very comfortable with that,” he said.

Later in the presentation, CFO Gregory Hughes said, “Holliday can’t bring himself to pay one nickel more than he thinks an asset is worth. I think it was on point particularly in the market we have been operating in during the last two to three years.”

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