The GM Building may not be the GM Building for much longer. Naming rights are up for grabs now that the automaker has gone bankrupt. And it's quite an opportunity: "This is the first time since 1968, when General Motors completed construction of the 50-story tower at 767 Fifth Avenue, that the rights to dub perhaps the single most coveted skyscraper in the country—on Fifth Avenue, above the Apple cube, across from the Plaza and Central Park, in the center of what is arguably the country's, if not the world's, most glamorous shopping district—are available." Let's all hope that existing tenant Apple swoops in and lands the deal. Otherwise, the building named after a bankrupt automaker could go back to looking like this, which wouldn't be an improvement at all, now would it? [NYO]
Darcy Stacom, the commercial real estate broker who convinced Mort Zuckerman's Boston Properties to pay $3.5 billion to buy the GM building in 2008, has suggested that Apple cough up a few bucks and pay Zuckerman for the right to rename the tower, so it doesn't sport the name of a bankrupt automaker. Let's hope Steve Jobs sets aside his health issues and moves quickly on this opportunity to plant a glowing white apple at the top of the skyscraper. Considering Zuckerman has already turned the "Citigroup Center" into "601 Lexington Avenue," the GM building may turn into the much blander-sounding "767 Fifth Avenue" if he doesn't. [Reuters]
Citigroup reported $18 billion in losses 2008, has fired some 60,000 employees in recent months, and is currently in the process of dismantling the financial services giant. Earlier this week, the bank announced plans to sell a majority stake in Smith Barney to Morgan Stanley. Today, it revealed plans to divide the bank into two pieces. One person on the sidelines watching his legacy unravel: Sandy Weill, Citigroup's former chairman and chief executive, who built Citi into a sprawling empire based on the belief that "financial supermarkets" represented the future of banking. Except Weill is not on the sidelines, exactly. As Citigroup has unraveled these past few months and hovered on the brink of collapse, Weill has been watching the carnage unfold from one of the most spectacular offices in New York. Offices that Citigroup continues to pay for.
It's not just Ferrari dealerships and private clubs that are feeling the pain as hedge funds wither: Property owners in Midtown are now seeing a record number of finance tenants pull up stakes. Ramius Capital spent $22 million on marble office space at 599 Lexington Ave eight months ago and is now now looking to sublease one of its three floors. Old Lane, which was co-founded by Vikram Pandit and sold to Citigroup in 2007, has put 20,000 square feet at 500 Park Ave on the market. The Carlyle Group's Blue Wave fund is unloading its space at 1177 Sixth Ave. Over at 9 West 57th Street, which is home to Henry Kravis's KKR and Leon Black's Apollo Management, there is 30,000 square feet available on the 26th floor now that the Clinton Group is downsizing. And it turns out that Scott Bommer, the founder of SAB Capital, isn't just looking to dump his apartment at the Ritz-Carlton. His hedge fund is looking to dispose of 9,000 square feet at the GM building, too.
Commercial real-estate history was made this weekend when the debt-inundated Macklowe family saved their rear end by selling the GM Building to Mort Zuckerman's Boston Properties for $2.9 billion, but the juiciest part of the story was the behind-the-scenes battle between Harry and Billy Macklowe. The Wall Street Journal is out with a story this morning about the intrafamilial friction, which basically portrays Macklowe the elder as a past-his-prime loose cannon who irresponsibly bet everything on a $7 billion folly, and Billy as a young genius who heroically saved the family fortune from his father's incompetence.