Discounted Trade Opens Door to Another Planned Downtown Office-to-Residential Conversion

Columbia Property Trust, now a part of Pacific Investment Management Co., has agreed to sell the approximately 235,000-square-foot office building at 101 Franklin Street, (formerly known as 250 Church Street) for $100 million. The pending sale to the partnership of private equity firm TPG, Cannon Hill, and Skylight represents a roughly 51% discount of the $205.5 million that Columbia Property Trust along with Normandy Real Estate Partners paid in December 2019 according to city records. The building that spans the entire Church Street blockfront between Leonard and Franklin Streets formerly served as the home of the New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) and Department of Social Services (DSS) in 215,622 square feet, but in mid-2017 a 20-year lease was signed to relocate the city agencies to a 193,281-square-foot space at 375 Pearl Street. Since becoming vacant, proposed plans for the building included a 2017 filing for an office-to-residential conversion with 107-units and ground level retail space by the owner at the time; and in 2019 reported intentions of a boutique office space redevelopment. However, neither project moved forward and now for the second time, the latest buyers are planning a conversion to residential use, likely hoping to take advantage of the high apartment rents in Lower Manhattan which reached a median price of $4,100 according the Q1 2024 report by the Downtown Alliance.