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NEW YORK CITY-Risanamento SpA bought the office portion–floors 10 through 23–of 660 Madison Ave. last August for $375 million from Broadway Partners, who purchased the asset in May 2006 for $216 million. The Risanamento purchase was made through a non-recourse financing of $275 million, as GlobeSt.com reported, and the Milan-based company is now looking to sell the asset.

The 258,000-sf office building–at the corner of East 61st Street–houses the flagship store of Barney’s New York on floors one through nine, however the store is owned separately. Risanamento did not return GlobeSt.com queries by deadline, but according to a prepared company release, “for the sale of the office building of about 24,000 square meters, located in New York, 660 Madison Ave., a mandate to a leading international broker will be served during the next days.”

According to a previous Risanamento statement, the building is managed by Fisher Brothers, who also did not return GlobeSt.com queries by deadline. Tenants in the property, include Gleacher & Co., Blue Ridge Capital, Colony Capital, Corcoran Group, Dolce & Gabbana, Drake Partners, and Lexington Partners, according to MrOfficespace.com.

According to a Q1 2008 report, the firm reported a loss of 39.2 million euros. The report says that “results were strongly influenced by the unfavorable situation of the financial markets which had an impact on the real estate sector above all, which was significantly affected by the reduction of liquid funds available for new investments on the part of the credit system for new investments. Risanamento SpA was particularly affected by this situation as it is a company whose core business is real estate development and furthermore the slow down in the sales program strongly penalized the results for the financial year.”

According to Hugh Finnegan, an attorney in the real estate group at Sullivan & Worcester LLP, this asset is sure to attract many bidders. “The asset is in a great location, with a high-quality tenant roster,” he tells GlobeSt.com.

Finnegan continues that “this will be an interesting test of the market in terms of who bids and how much they bid. The issue will be the debt markets because there will clearly need to be a fair amount of equity here, which will certainly limit the number of interested bidders.” Even so, Finnegan says that given the building and the tenants, he expects bidding to be significant, and suspects that the winning bidder will be an off-shore fund or group.

Cushman & Wakefield’s midyear report made note of the significant foreign buyer interest in the city, noting the lack of supply, coupled with the weak dollar, boosted foreign investor interest and activity in the first half of 2008. “Year-to-date, foreign investment has accounted for more than 48% of investor dollar volume, a notable increase from the 12% to 15% level in recent years,” the report says.

Additionally, in the 2008 annual survey of the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate, the US was deemed the “most stable and secure” country for real estate investment and the country with the best opportunity for appreciation. AFIRE’s survey, conducted in Q4 ’07, also found that New York City had vaulted to the top of the worldwide list of cities for foreign investment, followed by Washington, DC.

As for the “great location” Finnegan refers to, according to a Jones Lang LaSalle market report, office rents in this Midtown area have had solid growth. Class A rents have risen 2.1%, increasing to $95.08 per sf at midyear 2008 from $93.15 per sf in the first quarter of the year.

The assets’ worth has grown over the past five years. Only five years ago, Beverly Hills, CA-based Brener International Group LLC, purchased the property for an estimated $160 million or $640 per sf from a joint venture led by Brickman Associates, which purchased the condominium interest over Barney’s, nearly four years before that, for a reported $108 million. The building is also tied to San Francisco-based Shorenstein Properties LLC, who purchased a $50-million junior mezzanine loan from Deutsche Bank that was collateralized by equity interests in Risanamento.

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