Wednesday, June 10, 2009

South Koreans Buying AIG Headquarters

In a fitting redux of the Japan real-estate invasion (which Colin Powell had some hilarious comments on at last year's JPM High Yield megaconference in South Beach), South Korean firms Youngwoo & Associates and Kumho Investment Bank have acquired the AIG headquarters at 70 Pine St and 72 Wall St, for a total price in the neighborhood of $100 million, a third of what these could have sold for two years ago. AIG itself will continue occupying the 1.4 million sq. foot space until about 2010 when the company will move to 180 Maiden Lane, made famous by being the name Hank Paulson (and Tim Geithner while at the NY Fed) coined for Bear's bailout vehicle. Additionally, and not too surprisingly, AIG will assume a lease in the building currently held by none other than previous AIG generosity recipient Goldman Sachs (at a seriously above market lease no doubt- after all it is taxpayers paying the rent correct?).

Globe St. had some wishful thinking observations from yet another seriously axed in commercial real estate party:
In the view of Bruce Mosler, president and CEO of Cushman & Wakefield, the 70 Pine deal could signal a return to the days of 2004, when foreign investors accounted for 32% of Manhattan commercial property sales, according to Real Capital Analytics data. "I think we’re coming back to that," Mosler tells "Based on the weaker dollar, the safe haven and the yield that you’ll be able to see, people are going to say ‘that is the risk/reward ratio that I’m absolutely prepared to take.’ The US and other gateway cities around the world are going to be the premier target for that capital investment."
No doubt Bruce. All those Koreans and Euros just can't wait to part with their worthless dollars and buy even more worthless commercial real estate in New York, where every single block on Madison avenue south of 57th street has at least 2 Vacancy and For Lease posting.

In the meantime, the two Korean firms are currently trying to raise financing to fund the transaction. In fact, they would like to use this forum to solicit indications of interest. Once the CLSA has voiced its support for over $1 billion in securitized conduits to finance the $100 million transaction (underwritten by Deutsche Bank, and what, 1000% LTV is rich? Go hide under a rock - you are so not a patriot) the company will be happy to lend at the traditional 2004 interest rate of LIBOR minus 100. Has AIG still not learned not to close a deal with a financing contingency. Oh, wait, Barney Frank was pretty clutch at firing all AIG people who actually had even a remote sense of what they were doing. Fabulous. Sphere: Related Content
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