No inflation? Google buys Manhattan building for 100 times 1996 price


Google to Buy Manhattan Building for 100 Times 1996 Price

By Joshua Chaffin
Financial Times, London
Thursday, May 23, 2019

Google has agreed to pay $600 million to acquire a historic building in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District -- a hundred times what it was sold for in 1996 -- in a deal that reflects the tech company's growing footprint in New York City.

For Doug Harmon, one of the agents who brokered the sale, it represents a career milestone: Mr Harmon has sold 450 West 15th St. -- also known as the Milk Building -- five times in a career that has spanned New York’s latest real-estate boom.

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"Longevity is a brutal competitive advantage!" quipped Mr. Harmon, the chairman of capital markets at Cushman & Wakefield.

The first time he sold the building, in 1996, the cobbledstoned neighbourhood was a gritty outpost with a reliable supply of transgender prostitutes and illicit drugs. It went for $6 million to Moishe Mana, an Israeli immigrant who grew wealthy after founding a local moving company, Moishe's Moving, and his partner, Erez Shternlicht.

Under their ownership, the eight-storey industrial building led the neighbourhood's turn toward trendy fashion and media companies, including their Milk Studios.

In 2004 Mr. Harmon helped them sell the building to investment firm Angelo Gordon for $55 million, and then flipped it four years later to Stellar Management for $161 million, which then shifted it -- with his assistance -- to Jamestown, a developer, in 2013 for $284 million.

Now comes Google, whose $2.4 billion purchase of the nearby Chelsea Market last year reinforced the neighbourhood's status as New York City's technology capital. It also helped to cement Mr. Harmon's standing as one of two uber brokers in a real estate-obsessed city. ...

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