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Jerry Speyer buys Rockefeller Center for $1.85 billion Jerry Speyer of New York's Tishman Speyer Properties teamed with the Crown family of Chicago to purchase the famous Rockefeller Center. The complex had been on the market since the spring of 2000.

Speyer beat out Saddle River, N.J.-based Vornado Realty Trust, New York-based Fisher Brothers, Boston Properties of Boston and Chicago's Equity Office Properties.

Boston Properties and Equity Office came the closest when the bidding was done. Boston's final offer was $1.675 billion, which was actually lower than the company's original offer of $1.7 billion. Equity put up $1.8 billion and gave the Rockefeller Center board less than 12 hours to respond. At the last minute, some bidders tried in earnest to put up a joint offer, but that never happened.

Industry experts contend that the bid is more than the famed 12-building Rockefeller Center is worth, and some wonder why Speyer paid the high price that is expected to bring only a minimum cash flow.

Local media reports state that most of its rents are below market and only 35% of the building's leases roll over during the next decade, which means the return on equity would only be 6% to 8%.

Speyer contends that he is neither concerned about an economic downturn affecting his expected returns on the property, nor will he be content with the single-digit returns that many expect. The sale is expected to close this spring.

One million sq. ft. of Class-A tech space coming to Reno Reno, Nev., is going to be the recipient of a 1 million sq. ft. Class-A office park called Reno Tahoe Tech Center. Reno-based Tanamera Commercial Development has acquired 75 acres of prime commercial land for the immediate development of the office campus. The park will be located within the South Meadows Business Park in south Reno. Construction is expected to begin this May with initial occupancy expected for October 2001.

Plans call for a series of buildings, ranging from one to four stories of leasable and "for sale" office space. Along with the Class-A space, individual pads will also be available for other uses such as restaurants, banks and limited retail use.

And the prized New York trophy goes to...RFR Holding RFR Holding LLC wanted it and got it. The New York-based company acquired the Seagram Building from TIAA-CREF of New York for an estimated $375 million. Arguably one of Manhattan's most revered office towers, RFR beat out many of the city's largest and most prominent real estate owners.

The 38-story, 820,000 sq. ft. landmark building is located at 375 Park Avenue between 52nd and 53rd streets and was designed by architects Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson in the 1950s.

Current tenants include Joseph E. Seagram & Sons Inc., Alleghany Corp., Montgomery Securities, NASCAR, Exxon-Mobil and DaimlerChrysler.

According to ONCOR International, demand for space in 2000 hoisted occupancy levels to new heights of annual performance, pushing vacancy rates for premium space below 10% in 71% of the markets. However, ONCOR forecasters predict sustained growth in 2001 will be marginal at best.

Rental rates also had a strong year and rose to double-digit percentage gains. Absorption in 2000 was 134.7 million sq. ft., shattering 1999's 81.3 million sq. ft. by 66%. More than 70% (two-thirds) of the increase occurred in Class-A buildings, which was lower than 76% in 1999. ONCOR's three-year review of rental rate trends indicated an increase in CBD rates in 92% of North American markets.

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