On Tuesday, M1 Real Estate, a Monaco-based real estate developer, inked a 99-year leasehold on the 10-story Argonaut Building at West 57th Street and Broadway. The Argonaut is the firm’s first foray into the North American market, and a spokesperson for M1 called the property a “home run acquisition.” M1 is currently evaluating the merits of two other potential deals in New York, which would add to its global presence that includes extensive holdings in London, as well as Paris and Frankfurt.
The Argonaut is across the street from heralded LEED Gold Hearst Tower, and M1 plans to seek an unspecified LEED rating in connection with its renovation of the property’s entire 175,000 square feet. The three lower floors offer 40,000 square feet of retail while the upper floors will boast 135,000 square feet of Class A offices. All of the space is currently unoccupied; it was previously the home to Hearst prior to the publisher’s move into its new headquarters.
M1′s renovation effort should take between 14 and 18 months and cost approximately $45 million; the developer is aiming for at least partial occupancy by the close of 2008 and expects at least three or four retail tenants, though the office space could let to a single firm. Details on green features aren’t presently available, though GVA Williams will partner with M1 on the renovation. The project’s most sustainable feature, of course, is the Argonaut’s age; it was initially built in 1909 and served as the headquarters for General Motors prior to Hearst, and the building’s name actually comes from that of GM’s holding real estate holding company. The neo-Gothic, terra cotta tower was landmarked by the city back in 2000.