Fortress Investment Group is building its presence in Times Square. In February, it collaborated with other entities to purchase the historic Palace Theater, which is across the street from the under-construction Marriott EDITION hotel at 20 Times Square.
The existing hotel that houses the Palace Theater was sold beforehand for renovation. Recently, Fortress Investment Group partnered with Maefield Development and bought the 20 Times Square property as well.
Details Of The 20 Times Square Deal
To complete the deal, Fortress Investment Group and Maefield Development bought out their partners – Howard Lorber’s New Valley, Ian Schrager, Steve Witkoff and Winthrop Realty Trust. According to the details of the deal, the property value for 20 Times Square was $1.53 billion at closing. In the past, the partners only owned what a Winthrop representative called an interest-only share in the property. This deal granted them full ownership.
In 2012, the group of investors bought the property for $430 million, and Steve Witkoff led that transaction. At the time, 20 Times Square was the site of an office building. Although the investors announced their plans to build a luxury hotel that same year, they did not break ground until 2015. There were multiple obstacles along the way that slowed construction plans. The upscale Times Square EDITION has more than 450 rooms and is 39 stories tall. In addition to the guest rooms, there are other spaces that the owners can lease to retailers. At the time of the deal’s closing, Maefield was looking for additional financing for construction. The partners planned to seek $1.3 billion to cover construction costs for their multiple Times Square property purchases. They cited plans to elevate the Palace Theater, expand the hotel and add a large outdoor sign screen.
This was not the first recapitalization for Fortress Investment Group. It has served as a capital partner to many other companies in the past. Fortress serves private and institutional clients to create credit, private equity, capital investment and real estate strategies. The company was purchased by Japan’s SoftBank Group in 2017 for $3.3 billion. However, it is still headquartered in New York.
In 1998, Randal Nardone, Wesley Edens and Rob Kauffman founded Fortress Investment Group. As the company expanded into hedge funds, its investments grew rapidly. Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs were the underwriters for the company’s IPO when it went public in 2007. It is distinct for being the first publicly traded large private equity firm in the United States. Fortress Investment Group manages more than $70 billion in assets today. It won the 2014 Hedge Fund Manager of the Year Award and several other awards including Management Firm of the Year.
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What Does The Future Hold For Times Square?
Times Square is one of the most popular places for tourists to visit in New York City. It is also a popular place for events, and people who attend events prefer to stay nearby. Since there are plenty of other historic sights and shopping opportunities in the borough, the posh new hotel at 20 Times Square will likely be a popular choice among business and pleasure travelers. The luxury venue has more than 5,000 square feet of performance space and four levels that are available for events or public use. There is a meeting studio, a state-of-the-art fitness club, a restaurant and a beer garden with a patio that overlooks Times Square. The venue’s all-day dining area offers terrace seating that overlooks Times Square as well.
The hotel has 76,000 square feet of retail space that it plans to lease. According to recent reports, the National Football League has already reserved 25,000 square feet of space for a new store. The Times Square EDITION has not announced its other retail space renters yet. On the hotel’s website, online booking is now available for reservations after the middle of October. Since the hotel will bring more tourists directly to Times Square, this is good news for neighborhood businesses.
To avoid confusion, the investors call the retail, hotel and theater project that spans two properties TSX Broadway. They recently told Chinese investors that they expect the value of the completed project to be $4.2 billion by 2023. When construction first started, the project’s estimated worth was about $3 billion. Its estimated worth upon completion is expected to be about $3.9 billion. This shows a significant jump in value, which several real estate experts agree with since the new luxury venue, its attractions and its retail partners will make the area even more popular.
Phillip Ginsberg is a real estate appraiser who is familiar with the project. He said that the investors could likely sell the property soon for whatever they claim it is worth. While they show no signs of making such plans, the assessment shows how much power the new project has for the area’s overall value. The Times Square property is currently one of the four top properties in the area in terms of value.
The Times Square EDITION is expected to be the more popular venue between the two hotels for luxury travelers. Although the Marriott hotel is new, the DoubleTree Suites building across the street that houses the Palace Theater is under renovation and has more space. There will be 700 rooms, multiple meeting spaces, an event space and other amenities. It will also offer retail space to attract more shoppers. Additionally, the partners plan to add an enormous outdoor LED screen. The collaborative project includes the elevating of the Palace Theater. In addition to being raised 29 feet, the Palace Theater will be restored, preserved and improved. The lobby will also be renovated and updated with modern technologies. Fortress Investment Group and Maefield Development are excited about the opportunities that the finished project will provide for New York residents, retailers and tourists.