By Adam Pincus | The Empire State Building, Joe Sitt (Sitt photo courtesy the Brooklyn Paper)
Retail-focused real estate investor Joseph Sitt, CEO of Midtown-based Thor Equities, has become the latest bidder for the Empire State Building, topping an earlier offer of $2.1 billion, his representative Jason Meister, a broker and vice president at commercial firm Avison Young, told The Real Deal.
Meister submitted the all-cash offer via email at about 4 p.m. to Thomas Dewey, a partner at the law firm Dewey Pegno & Kramarsky, which represents Malkin Holdings, the company that controls the tower, he said.
Sitt is at least the third individual or group to offer to purchase the iconic 102-story tower at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 34th Street.
The first publicly announced bid was from Rubin Schron, president of Cammeby’s International, for $2 billion on June 18. That was followed with a $2.1 billion bid from a joint venture between of Joseph Tabak of Princeton Holdings and Philip Pilevsky of Philips International, revealed yesterday. The building has about 127,256 square feet of retail that fronts Fifth Avenue and 33rd and 34th streets.
The current tenants are coffee chain Starbucks, discount apparel store Strawberry, restaurant Heartland Brewery, drugstore Walgreens and others. The Malkin family’s Malkin Holdings is leading an effort to convert the Empire State Building and other properties into a real estate investment trust. The proposed REIT, Empire State Realty Trust, has gained the votes of approximately 90 percent of investors of the Empire State Building.
Thor Equities owns a string of properties along Fifth Avenue, and many others in the Meatpacking District, Soho and Brooklyn.
Sitt, in a telephone interview with The Real Deal, declined to comment on the bid, or elaborate on who his partners could be.
Meister, who also represented Schron in his bid, would not comment directly on Sitt’s offer.
But, he said, “It makes sense. [The Empire State Building] is one of the most iconic buildings in the world and Joe owns a lot of retail along the Fifth Avenue corridor. It’s a logical asset for Joe to buy.”