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Expanding a rock-solid legacy

By Angelo Romualdez
-    Jul 05, 2014
Credit : GMI Post

A New York landmark: 1221 Avenue of the Americas

Nearly 25 years after Japan’s Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd. made its initial investment in The Rockefeller Group, the U.S.-based real estate company has grown its flagship New York property holdings into a sprawling global development and investment management enterprise.

Today, The Rockefeller Group’s strength is anchored on an ownership interest in about 6 million sq. feet of prime office space developed in the modern expansion of Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center to the west side of Sixth Avenue — properties that include iconic addresses such as 1221 and 1271 Avenue of the Americas.

“The Rockefeller Group as a company has always had a family like culture wherein the employees and executives have strong team bonds and work closely together,” explained Atsushi Nakajima, who serves as president and chief executive officer of The Rockefeller Group and another subsidiary, Mitsubishi Estate New York.The solid performance of those investments has in recent years fueled an expansion of the firm’s development business to office and industrial properties in major U.S. markets and into investment management. In the last 18 months, 1221 Avenue of the Americas has attracted new leases for more than 700,000 sq. feet.


The Rockefeller Group and Mitsubishi Estate New York Chief Executive Officer Atsushi Nakajima

The partnership has proved a good fit for the company and its Japanese shareholder given their similar corporate cultures. In 1997, The Rockefeller Group became a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Estate. Those strong bonds have propelled the company’s growth in new markets and new businesses.

In 2010, the company made a strategic investment in the European property fund manager Europa Capital.

In 2013, The Rockefeller Group formed a U.S. property fund with equity raised from institutional investors in Japan and Europe and co-investment equity from Mitsubishi Estate New York.

Earlier this year, the property fund acquired 28 State Street in Boston, an investment that increased its portfolio value to around $1 billion and Class A assets to 1.9 million sq. feet in Boston, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

“There is growth for the company beyond Manhattan,” said Nakajima.

With the United States negotiating free trade agreements with Europe and Asia, industrial property is a focus, particularly in port markets in Southern California and on the East Coast.

The Rockefeller Group is also focused on office development, with projects planned or underway in cities such as Bellevue, Phoenix and of course, New
York.

 

- Originally prepared by The Rockefeller Group for The Japan Times Special Report on the East Coast 2014

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