Michael J. Werner
is a partner in the Real Estate Department, resident in Fried Frank's New York office. He joined the firm in 2005 and became partner in 2015.
Mr. Werner represents clients in the acquisition, disposition and development of office, retail, residential, hotel and mixed-use properties; high-profile commercial leasing; mezzanine and construction financing; joint ventures; and debt restructurings. He routinely counsels prominent owners, developers, financial institutions, institutional investors, REITs, and corporations in all aspects of commercial real estate transactions.
Recent representations include high-profile projects such as:
- Google in its US$2.4 billion acquisition of Chelsea Market in New York City, the second largest price ever paid for the purchase of a single building in the US, and previously in connection with multiple lease expansions at the property; the anchor tenant's lease of approximately 250,000 square feet at Pier 57; and its 200,000 square foot lease at 85 Tenth Avenue. Mr. Werner also represented Google in its US$1.8 billion acquisition of 111 Eighth Avenue to serve as Google's New York headquarters, which at the time was the largest ever US real estate purchase by a tenant.
- Host Hotels & Resorts in its 20-year master lease with Vornado Realty Trust for the retail portion of the New York Marriott Marquis (which allowed Vornado to redevelop the retail and signage components of the hotel), its acquisition of fee title to the property from Empire State Development pursuant to Host's exercise of its purchase option under its ground lease, and ultimately, its US$442 million sale of the retail and theater condominium units of the property to Vornado.
- Tishman Speyer in its US$438 million acquisition of a full city block stretching from West 34th Street to West 35th Streets and from 10th Avenue to Hudson Park Boulevard where Tishman Speyer is constructing the Bjarke-Ingels designed “The Spiral” on the development site; and its US$380 million construction financing for its Studio Gang designed luxury residential development in Brooklyn known as 11 Hoyt.
- Global Holdings in its US$565 million acquisition and related US$410 million financing of 1250 Broadway, an office tower located in “NoMad” Manhattan; its US$415 million acquisition and related financing of Washington Harbour in Washington, DC; its US$280 million construction financing for the development of a luxury residential condominium tower at 50 UN Plaza; its US$153 million construction financing for the development of a luxury residential condominium tower at 180 East 88th Street, which upon completion will be the tallest building north of 72nd Street; and joint venture agreements in connection with the above and other projects.
- BlackRock, as tenant, in connection with its 850,000-square-foot lease for its planned headquarters relocation to 50 Hudson Yards in New York City. This was the largest office lease in Manhattan of 2017
- A joint venture led by Taconic Investment Partners LLC and including BFC Partners, L+M, and the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group in connection with its US$260 million loan for the development of 202 Broome Street in the Essex Crossing development.
- 21st Century Fox and News Corp. in their non-binding agreement with Silverstein Properties (SPI) to locate each company's corporate headquarters (approximately 1.4 million square feet in the aggregate) at a new building to be developed by SPI at 2 World Trade Center. 21st Century Fox and News Corp., which ultimately decided not to consummate the transaction, would have anchored a state-of-the art tower designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) to house studios, newsrooms and teams from across both companies' businesses.
- Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in its US$340 million sale of the iconic Watchtower building located at 25/30 Columbus Heights in Brooklyn, New York to CIM Group, Kushner Companies and LIVWRK.
- Brookfield in its US$200 million acquisition of One North End Avenue (the headquarters building for New York Mercantile Exchange) in downtown Manhattan. As part of the acquisition, Brookfield leased back to NYMEX 450,000 square feet of office, trading floor and support space with provisions for NYMEX's consolidation into the lower 222,000 square feet of the building after two years.
- RFR in its US$273 million sale of 275 Madison Avenue, a 329,000 square foot landmark skyscraper office building in Midtown Manhattan; its US$360 construction financing for the development of a luxury residential condominium tower at 150 East 53rd Street (f/k/a 610 Lexington Avenue); and its US$245 million refinancing of 350 Madison Avenue, a 400,000-square-foot office building located near Bryant Park and Grand Central Terminal.
- Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Management Group as tenant in its renewal and expansion of over 110,000 square feet at 399 Park Avenue, a first-class office building located in Midtown Manhattan.
- Beacon Capital Partners as landlord in the 71,000 square feet renewal and expansion of Barneys New York's headquarters lease at 575 Fifth Avenue, a first-class office building located in Midtown Manhattan.
- Vornado Realty Trust in its US$260 million sale of the Beverly Connection shopping center located in Los Angeles to Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation; its US$48.3 million sale of the South Hills shopping center located in Poughkeepsie, New York to DLC Management Corporation; and its US$31.2 million sale of 99-01 Queens Boulevard to Blumenfeld Development Corp.
- Imperial Companies in its $104 million construction financing for a mixed-use luxury residential tower at 509 West 38th Street that will feature both market rate and affordable units.
- SL Green Realty Corp. in its sale of condominium units located at 180 Broadway and 33 Beekman to Pace University to be used as student housing.
- Criterion Real Estate Capital in its US$75 million acquisition and subsequent US$105 million sale of 627 Greenwich Street, a former factory building located in Manhattan's West Village that is being converted into condominiums.
In addition, Mr. Werner is actively involved in real estate industry current affairs and is regularly asked to speak on industry topics. Most recently, he moderated a panel at the 2018 CREtech New York Venture Conference titled, “Tech Savvy Landlords.” Mr. Werner was also a panelist at the Realshare:New York Growth State of Mind conference discussing “Breaking Down NYC's Mega Deals” and lectured at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. In addition, Mr. Werner authored a recent article titled Representing the Borrower in a CMBS Loan
published by Lexis Practice Advisor.
Mr. Werner previously served on Israel Bonds Real Estate New Leadership Division, where he served as Co-Chair and Vice-Chair of the cabinet. He serves as a member of the Attorney Development Committee of Fried Frank.
Honors & Awards
Mr. Werner was selected by Law360 as a 2016 “Rising Star” in real estate, an honor that recognizes top attorneys under the age of 40.
In 2019, Mr. Werner was admitted as a member to the American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL), a premier organization of US real estate lawyers.
Member, American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL)
Member, CRE Finance Council
Member, Real Estate Board of New York
Member, International Council of Shopping Centers