New York's Helmsley Building sold for $1.2 billion to RXR Reality

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Monday Properties, in conjunction with Invesco Ltd IVZ.N, said on Tuesday it has completed the sale of the landmark Helmsley Building near New York City's Grand Central Terminal for $1.2 billion to RXR Reality.

The 34-story building, which has 1.4 million square feet of office space, was built in 1929 as the headquarters of the New York Central Railroad Co.

The sale marks the departure of the firm from New York’s office building market, said Anthony Westreich, chairman and chief executive of Monday Properties.

“It’s the last of our New York City office buildings. It’s not to say that we’re not going to be back in New York. We just think it’s good time to be a seller in today’s market,” Westreich said in an interview.

The building is 94 percent occupied and home to Swiss Re, Voya Financial, Clarion Partners and Reed Elsevier, among others. It features a one-of-a-kind cupola at the top.

Monday Properties has managed the Helmsley Building since 1998, and entered its venture with Invesco, a financial services company, in 2011, when the building was sold for $740 million. Goldman Sachs GS.N and partners paid about $1.15 billion for the building in 2007.

Net operating income of the building is $45 million, up from $34 million four years ago, Westreich said.

Since 2002, Monday has managed a $200 million renovation of the building, it said in a release. Over the past decade, Monday has completed more than $12 billion in transactions.

While Westreich cited strong real estate prices as the reason for the building’s sale, he did not fault RXR for buying the building.

“Scott Rexler from RXR is more bullish than we are, only time will prove one of us right or wrong. Scott has been right more than he’s been wrong,” Westreich said.

Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Steve Orlofsky