767 Fifth Ave takes on a new billionaire sublessor.

Billionaire J.C. Flowers’ firm takes 18K sf at GM Building

January 14, 2014 04:40PM By Hiten Samtani

J. Christopher Flowers and the GM Building at 767 Fifth Avenue

J. Christopher Flowers and the GM Building at 767 Fifth Avenue

J.C. Flowers & Co., the firm of billionaire private equity giant and avid real estate speculator J. Christopher Flowers, is taking 18,134 square feet at the GM Building, The Real Deal has learned. The deal is one of many recent subleases at the iconic 767 Fifth Avenue property.

J.C. Flowers & Co. will pay rents in the mid-$80s per square foot for the partial 23rd floor until 2019, CompStak data show. Studley’s Joseph Genovesi represented J.C. Flowers, while the landlord — a partnership between Boston Properties, Brazilian billionaire investor Moise Safra and the family of Chinese real estate mogul Zhang Xin — was represented by a CBRE team led by Lewis Miller. Both Miller and Genovesi declined to comment.

The firm will relocate from its current 16,300-square-foot digs at the 26-story 717 Fifth Avenue, where it was paying rents starting in the mid-$140s per square foot, according to CompStak.

The GM Building — which after a recent 40 percent stake sale for $1.4 billion became the most valuable office tower in the country — saw several recent sublease deals, including three floors that General Motors subleased in the final months of 2013. Rents paid on those subleases were also in the $80s per square foot, as The Real Deal reported.

J. Christopher Flowers is well-known in the Manhattan residential market as an active investor, though perhaps an unlucky one. In 2006, he broke townhouse sale records by forking out $53 million for the Harkness Mansion at 4 East 75th Street, and then sold the property to art mogul Larry Gagosian for just $36.5 million in 2011. And in February 2013, Flowers put his six-bedroom, seven-bathroom spread at 66 East 79th Street on the market for $18 million. That’s $1 million less than what he paid in 2006.