New York Post
June 14, 2005
AGGRESSIVE investor Kent Swig beat out a host of eager bidders to win 25 Broad St., the 21-story landmark
former office tower that was converted to rentals in 1997 and now looks ripe for condo conversion.
His company, Swig Equities, just signed to buy the building from Bruce Menin’s Crescent Heights for north of
$200 million – “very expensive,” Swig said. The deal is expected to close next month.
In 1994, Menin and a partner bought 25 Broad for $5 million. Menin pumped in $55 million to convert it to apartments
and renamed it The Exchange.
Swig owns some 3.4 million square feet of commercial space downtown, and he recently bought the Sheffield
apartment tower on West 57th Street. But 25 Broad is his first residential buy downtown.
“I’ve been looking at downtown residential, admiring it, and waiting for an opportune time,” Swig said. “This is a
wonderful, renovated building.”
Swig says too many New Yorkers don’t appreciate Lower Manhattan’s strengths – including “one of the highest
per capita income and education levels in the country, some of the best transportation, and its still-great commercial
Swig wouldn’t say whether he’d convert the tower’s 346 apartments to condos, but added that both “the rental
and condo markets” were currently extremely strong.
“My guess is that he bought it to convert. Every developer in the market now is looking at the future,” Prudential
Douglas Elliman CEO Dottie Herman said.
The sale to Swig was brokered by CB Richard Ellis’ Darcy Stacom, who did not return calls. Menin’s office was
closed yesterday and a voicemail message was not returned.
Meanwhile, a lease signed at 25 Broad just before Swig’s purchase contract will bring a large, mainstream restaurant
run by seasoned pros. Bobby Van’s Steakhouse has taken 16,000 square feet, including the space that
was formerly Vine.
CBRE’s Loren Baron and former CBRE broker Joshua Gettler repped both sides.
Miki Naftali’s Elad Properties, busily converting the landmark former O’Neill Department Store at 655 Sixth Ave.
into condos, has sold the building’s store space to the Laboz family’s United American Land company.
The Labozes paid more than $20 million for the retail condo, which includes 16,000 square feet of street-level
space plus 11,000 feet in the basement.
The deal was brokered by Cushman & Wakefield’s Yoav Oelsner with Jon Epstein and Charles Kingsley. Oelsner
said, “The beauty of the deal is that it covers the whole Sixth Avenue blockfront” between 20th-21st streets, now
occupied by Men’s Wearhouse and a few smaller stores.
Elad is spending a fortune to convert the building under Landmarks Preservation Commission oversight, and
even restoring its original gold domes taken down 50 years ago. Why would Elad give up control of the store
space, an important factor in the value of the apartments?
Oelsner said the contract calls for “high-end” retail use only and allows no restaurants, thus eliminating any danger
of fast food.