Iconic 980 Madison Avenue Building Sold for $560 Million

Iconic 980 Madison Avenue Building Sold for $560 Million

Viktoriya Ivanovski
2 min read

RFR Holding Sells Iconic 980 Madison Avenue to Michael Bloomberg-Linked Entity for $560 Million

RFR Holding, under the leadership of Aby Rosen, has concluded a major deal by selling the iconic 980 Madison Avenue building, in its entirety, to an entity connected to Michael Bloomberg for a whopping $560 million. This transaction comes on the heels of the leasing of 86% of the building's space to Bloomberg Philanthropies, thus replacing the Gagosian Gallery as the primary tenant. The sale has significant financial implications for RFR, particularly in light of the recent default on an $80 million loan for a multifamily project in Gowanus. Despite these challenges, RFR has also managed to navigate financial hurdles by successfully refinancing a four-property Dumbo office portfolio for an impressive $480 million in collaboration with Kushner Companies.

Key Takeaways

  • RFR Holding sells 980 Madison Avenue for $560 million to an entity affiliated with Michael Bloomberg.
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies to take over space from Gagosian Gallery, which pays $117 per square foot until 2025.
  • Sale alleviates concerns over RFR's $200 million CMBS loan, previously failing a debt service coverage ratio test.
  • RFR faces financial challenges with other properties, including a mortgage sent to special servicing and lawsuits over unpaid debts.
  • Despite financial strains, RFR and Kushner Companies successfully refinance a Dumbo office portfolio for $480 million.


The sale of 980 Madison Avenue to a Michael Bloomberg-linked entity not only mitigates RFR's immediate financial distress but also aligns with the expansion plans of Bloomberg Philanthropies. This strategic move, along with the successful refinancing of a Dumbo office portfolio, signifies RFR's adept asset management amidst financial adversity. The transition from commercial art to philanthropic use could potentially enhance the property's value and community impact. However, RFR's broader financial issues, such as loan defaults and legal disputes, indicate persistent operational risks. While the sale may stabilize RFR's short-term liquidity, the long-term sustainability hinges on addressing these systemic financial strains.

Did You Know?

  • CMBS Loan (Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities): A type of mortgage-backed security that is backed by commercial mortgages rather than residential real estate. CMBS loans are commonly utilized by businesses to finance commercial properties. They are pooled and sold to investors, serving as a source of capital for commercial real estate financing.
  • Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR): A financial metric representing a company's capacity to meet its debt obligations with its operating income. A DSCR of less than 1 signifies negative cash flow, indicating that the entity is not generating adequate income to cover its debt payments. In the realm of commercial real estate, lenders often mandate a minimum DSCR to sanction a loan.
  • Special Servicing: Refers to the process where a commercial real estate loan is transferred to a specialized servicer due to potential default or other issues requiring intensive management. This scenario arises when a borrower is unable to fulfill their loan obligations, and the servicer intervenes to address the issues, which may encompass restructuring the loan or assuming control of the property.

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