The Real Deal – 11th May 2020
British billionaires recently paid $170M for Fifth Avenue retail condo
The billionaire British investors who recently snapped up a pricey Fifth Avenue property are aggressively looking for more deals in New York. Reuben Brothers — the investment firm of brothers David and Simon Reuben — is one of the more active players now looking to capitalize on falling prices due to the coronavirus pandemic, several sources told The Real Deal.
“They have several billions of cash available looking for opportunities,” said one person familiar with the brothers’ plans. “I think they see opportunities to buy marquee assets that might otherwise not be available but for the distress.”
The Reubens, reportedly the second-wealthiest family in the United Kingdom, last month paid $170 million to buy a Fifth Avenue retail condo leased to athletic apparel company Puma from SL Green Realty. Earlier this year, they lent $65 million to Michael Fascitelli’s Imperial Companies and Thor Equities against 56 residential condos at the Apthorp on the Upper West Side.
Sources said the Reubens recently bid to refinance SL Green’s office tower at 10 East 53rd Street — a deal on which they lost out to Wells Fargo, which provided a $220 million loan last month. They’re also looking to acquire the $200 million construction loan SL Green’s made to Joseph Chetrit and David Bistricer’s Clipper Equity on their residential condo conversion of the former Cabrini Medical Center in Gramercy Park.
A representative for the Reubens did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and a spokesperson for SL Green declined to comment. The brothers are self-made billionaires who cut their teeth investing alongside the likes of Roman Abramovich in post-Soviet Russia. They own trophy real estate assets in London such as the Burlington Arcade shopping center and the 33-story Millbank Tower office skyscraper.
In New York, the Reubens used the threat of foreclosure in 2016 to compel Subrata Roy’s Sahara India Pariwar to sell its stake in the Plaza Hotel to pay back the $500 million in debt the brothers held on the famed property.