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NEW YORK CITY-SL Green Realty Corp. said Thursday it will buy 600 Lexington Ave. for $193 million, a higher price tag than the $180-million figure published reports had stated earlier this week. The REIT is also assuming about $50 million of debt maturing in 2014 on the 303,515-square-foot office tower, which it’s buying from a joint venture led by Hines US Core Office Fund. The purchase price comes out to approximately $636 per square foot, according to a release.

Marc Holliday, SL Green’s CEO, says in a statement, “Recent improvements in New York City office fundamentals, coupled with improvements in the credit markets, have resulted in the New York City real estate market beginning to open up after two years in which there has been a dearth of institutional quality offerings.” Holliday says the company has “worked hard” to build its cash position “in order to be able to take advantage of opportunities quickly as the market recovers. With that in mind, we moved aggressively to lock up this opportunity, and there exists a strong likelihood that we will be able to attract a joint venture partner on this asset.”

The 36-story office tower is currently 93.6% leased, primarily to boutique full-floor tenants ranging up to 11,700 square feet, SL Green says. Over the next three years, about 54% of the space will come up for renewal, and its new owner plans to take advantage of what it believes will be gradually rising rents. The REIT says in a release that it will mount a targeted leasing and marketing campaign.

SL Green was represented in negotiations by law firm Greenberg Traurig. CB Richard Ellis represented the Hines-led JV. When the sale was first reported earlier this week, Robert Knakal, chairman of Massey Knakal Realty Services, commented that it represented “a positive sign for the market.” Two other high-profile office properties, Broadway Partners’ 750,000-square-foot 340 Madison Ave. and Shorenstein Realty Services’ 596,773-square-foot 125 Park Ave., are also drawing strong investor interest.

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