A Mega Real Estate Deal/Competition Has Begun…Who Will Bring Home The Gold?

Credit Suisse is throwing wide open a competition to lead one of the largest real-estate searches in town.

The Swiss bank has sent out a request for proposals to about 10 brokerage firms to lead its search for some 3 million square feet of office space in the city, according to multiple people familiar with the matter.

$50 Million

Commission a brokerage firm could earn if Credit Suisse were to lease its space.

The company has been represented for more than a decade by CBRE Group Inc. The brokerage firm is still in the running to lead the search but Credit Suisse is simply evaluating different options, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company’s head of real estate, Luther Terry, also recently retired putting leadership of the search further in flux.

Credit Suisse current occupies space in 11 Madison Ave., 1 Madison Avenue and 315 Park Avenue South – all near Madison Square Park. Those leases are set to expire in 2017.

For the winning brokerage firm, that could mean a big payoff: If Credit Suisse were to lease its space, the commission on the deal could be over $50 million, according to a standard formula in the brokerage industry.

The bank is looking for a broker to help them with a process similar to the one being conducted by Time Warner Inc., in which they plan not simply to look for a single new space, but to undergo a complete review of their office space requirements.

While many financial services companies have tended to dwell on Wall Street or in Midtown, Credit Suisse bet on the Midtown South office market more than a decade ago when it was still considered up-and-coming. Today, the area has some of the most sought-after office space in the city.

Much like Time Warner, the bank is likely to be the belle of the ball, as major developers like the World Trade Center and Hudson Yards are hoping to land major leases to help get new office towers off the ground.

Time Warner, which currently occupies about 4 million square feet of space in the city, is expected to narrow down its search to some finalist buildings in the coming weeks, according to brokers and developers familiar with the matter.  (laura kusisto wsj)