Thor Equities

Last updated
Thor Equities
Type Private Ownership
Industry Private Equity
Founded1986;35 years ago (1986)
Founder Joseph Sitt
Headquarters New York City, New York, United States
Area served
Worldwide
Products Real estate, Hotels, Shopping Centers, Retail, Mixed Use
Total assets $20 billion [1]
Website www.thorequities.com

Thor Equities Group is a leader in real estate investment and development of office, industrial, life science, residential, hotel and mixed-use assets in premier locations worldwide. In addition to real estate, Thor has a robust investment business with divisions including Thor Brands and Thor Ventures where Thor invests in growth companies globally. The company operates in major cities around the globe and has a portfolio totaling $20 billion along with a development pipeline in excess of 50 million square feet. With a strong presence on three continents and offices spread across the USA, Latin America, and Europe, Thor has exclusive insight into markets worldwide and a strong network of international relationships which has been essential in the discovery and subsequent investment in sub-niche asset classes. Thor is the largest developer in Mexico through its Latin American real estate division, Thor Urbana, with a development pipeline of over 18 million square feet. Thor also created an investment platform tailored to institutional investors, Thor Urban Property Funds, which includes investment banks, pension funds, college endowments, and foundations. Thor’s management of institutional capital has seen a strong track record of risk adjusted returns across core, core plus, value-add, and opportunistic sectors. Thor’s flexible capital markets approach is based on strategies that allow the firm to entertain discretionary fund structures, programmatic structures, JV structures, and one-off deals globally in a nimble fashion that pivots and invests strategically in the quickly changing global landscape.

Contents

Background

Thor Equities Group was founded in 1986 by Chairman & CEO, Joseph J. Sitt. His first investment was a property sold at tax auction on East Tremont Avenue in the Bronx, a chronically underserved retail area, where he built a one-story retail structure while studying business at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He proceeded to secure national retailers Rite Aid Pharmacy and Payless Shoes after convincing them of the value of this underserved community. He soon added an industrial property to his portfolio, a 388,000-square-foot industrial ground up development in Dayton, New Jersey, which he financed by pre-leasing it to a manufacturing company.

Ashley Stewart

Ashley Stewart in Roxbury, Massachusetts Ashley Stewart, Roxbury MA.jpg
Ashley Stewart in Roxbury, Massachusetts

From Sitt's early realization of the retail gap that left broad groups of inner city consumers largely underserved by major retailers, he founded Ashley Stewart in 1991, a name inspired by Laura Ashley and Martha Stewart in both name and style. Ashley Stewart sold modern and fashionable clothing to women. Each Ashley Stewart store hired from within the community it operated, and the company was recognized by President Clinton for its contribution to the Welfare-to-work program.

Ashley Stewart quickly grew to over 380 stores in more than 100 cities, which prompted many national retailers to follow suit and helped change the urban retail landscape. Sitt was also part owner of Children's Place kids clothing as well as Marianne Stores, a brand specializing in clothing for Latina women in Florida, Texas, and the Caribbean Islands.

As business matured, Sitt sold his interest in 2000 to concentrate on urban real estate and venture investing through his company Thor Equities Group.

Real estate development activities

Thor Equities is a global full service real estate development and investment company specializing in acquisitions, financial management, development, property management, and leasing. Thor specializes in value-added investments in emerging markets across all asset classes including industrial, life science, office, retail, hotels and mixed-use urban projects.

Today, Thor's portfolio transactions and development pipeline total over 50 million square feet and is valued at more than $20 billion.

Divisions and notable global transactions by sector

Logistics

After investing in the industrial sector for years, Thor formally launched a dedicated logistics platform in the Summer of 2016. Coinciding with the launch and seeing major tailwinds in the last-mile industrial space, Thor proceeded to design a technologically advanced last-mile logistics site at 280 Richards Street in Brooklyn. Thor then acquired its first European industrial property in the Netherlands to redevelop a 400,000 square foot warehouse in the Dutch flower region of Lisse which is occupied by a global flower distributor, Bakker.com.

In December 2019, Thor acquired a portfolio from Segro and sold the asset for £303m in February 2021. Totaling 2.2 million square feet across 7 warehouses, the portfolio’s strong tenant roster included Sainsbury’s, DHL, Clipper Logistics, and British Gas.

Thor also acquired dozens of logistics properties in Southern Europe outside of Madrid, Paris, and Barcelona in strategic locations in Catalonia and Andalusia, for last-mile delivery.

In 2021, Thor announced the acquisition of 2575 El Presidio, a 196,300 square foot warehouse in a key location near the Port of Los Angeles, followed by the acquisition of an Amazon-anchored portfolio in Philadelphia, and acquired multiple well-located industrial assets in key cities including Dallas and Chicago.

Life sciences

After investing in the biotechnology venture industry since 1990, Thor formally launched Thor Sciences, a dedicated real estate platform catering to the life science industry in 2016. Thor quickly amassed a portfolio of R&D assets in established hubs including Boston and Berkeley, as well as multiple properties in emerging life science clusters including New Jersey and North Carolina. In Boston, Thor owns Norwood Medical Center occupied by Steward Health Care, the largest private hospital operator in the United States. In Northern California, Thor owns 600 Bancroft Way.

In Summer 2019, Thor acquired the Center of Excellence for $150 million. Totaling 783,500 square feet, Thor brought the property to full occupancy in under one year with a lease to PTC Therapeutics. The 48-acre campus is anchored by Nestle Health Sciences, Amneal Pharmaceuticals and Ashland among other prominent pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

Thor acquired 130-150 Shoreline Drive for $58 million in 2018 and sold the property for $81 million in 2020. The property is fully leased to Auris Health, a biotech company specializing in robotics recently acquired by J&J for $3.4 billion.

In January 2020 Thor acquired 95 Greene Street, a 350,000 SF property in Jersey City, NJ, for $94.5 million. Thor began construction to reposition the former Colgate-Palmolive manufacturing facility into the first lab-ready facility in urban New Jersey in 2020 and the building is set to be delivered in Summer of 2021.

In October 2020, Thor announced the acquisition of 7 Powder Horn Drive in Warren, New Jersey for $27 million. The 181,000 square foot property is fully leased to Celgene and Bristol-Myers Squibb, its parent company.

In December 2020, Thor acquired The Labs at Research Triangle Park for $20.5 million. Thor’s purchase of the Labs at Research Triangle Park campus includes six existing properties totaling 69,059 square feet, which are 98.5% leased to a variety of life-science firms within North Carolina’s renowned Raleigh-Durham Research Triangle.

Hospitality

Thor continues to be a major player in the hospitality space with a focus on markets with strong fundamentals. In 2015, they developed the Montage hotel in Cabo and the Thompson hotel in Playa Del Carmen which are both boutique luxury resorts in Mexico that have thrived due to their strategic locations. Thor is also on track to complete the Ritz Carlton in Mexico City which rises 58 stories in the heart of the financial center.

In 2021 Thor Equities has now announced the opening of its first-ever in house hospitality brand, Modernhaus, with its flagship at a new luxury hotel in New York's SoHo neighborhood. The 114-room property features an extensive modern and contemporary art collection with pieces from some of the world's foremost names, 11,000 square feet of outdoor space, and a signature restaurant from Michelin-starred chef George Mendes – with a fully retractable glass roof that allows for al fresco dining. Thor has plans to roll out this in house Modernhaus brand and has three other ground up hotel projects in development in Wynwood, Miami, Georgetown, DC, and Arts District, LA. Thor’s strategy relies on timing the execution of their developments in select markets that benefit from demographic, cultural, and lifestyle shifts. Their development plans mirror the needs of each location regarding the proportional blend of hotel rooms, F&B space, and event space.

Retail

Known as an active retail investor before the strong pivot to logistics and life sciences, Thor owned and managed outstanding landmark properties on the most renowned shopping corridors in the world. Tenants at Thor’s properties ranged from luxury brands including Valentino, Tom Ford, Brioni, and more, to high-street retailers including Nike, Sephora, and Godiva.

Commercial areas of operation and notable transactions

United Kingdom

Thor acquired London's iconic Burlington Arcade in 2010 for £104 million, and sold the asset in 2018 for £300 million. The property, located in the West End shopping district, was built in 1819 and is London's first covered shopping street. Thor's London assets past and presently owned also include 1 Dover Street, 151 Wardour Street, and Bond Street House at 14 Clifford Street.

France

Thor acquired several properties in France including assets on Paris’ renowned Champs Elysees, Boulevard Haussmann, and rue des Sevres, as well as Cannes’ Croisette. In Paris, the company acquired and managed assets including 51-53 Boulevard Haussmann, 32 Rue des Archives, 102 Avenue des Champs Elysees; and 65-67 Avenue des Champs-Élysées. The latter property was acquired in 2013 for €250 million and sold for €490 million in 2016.\\

Southern Europe

Thor expanded its European presence in Spain beginning in 2015 with the acquisitions of 5 Puerta del Sol, 9 Puerta del Sol, 11 Puerta del Sol, 16 Fuencarral, and 30 Gran Via, in Madrid; and in Italy with the acquisition of 26 Via della Spiga in Milan. 26 Via della Spiga served as Dolce & Gabbana’s headquarters.

New York City

Thor Equities acquired 693 Fifth Avenue for $142 million in 2010 and sold the asset for $525 million in 2016. Thor made significant renovations to the 20-story property’s retail component which was leased to Valentino’s flagship store and its boutique office tower in 2013 . Thor has assets throughout Manhattan in luxury neighborhoods including SoHo, Flatiron, Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue, and more.  

Brooklyn

Thor purchased the Albee Square Mall / City Point in Downtown Brooklyn in 2001, and made various facility improvements in an effort to attract new tenants. Later in 2005, Thor announced plans to build the first tower at the site also known as City Point. The building was to be the tallest tower in Brooklyn. After the city changed its zoning to permit development of multiple towers on the site, Thor sold the site and development plan for $125 million to a financial company. Thor owns a large portfolio of Brooklyn properties located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Downtown Brooklyn, and Red Hook.

Coney Island

In 2005, the company bought a parcel of land west of the amusement district in Coney Island for $13 million, and sold it 14 months later for $90 million then reinvested in more land on Coney Island along Stillwell Avenue as well as some Boardwalk property including Astroland. In 2006, Thor announced plans for a $1.5 billion Las Vegas-style amusement park resort, which required several zoning changes. The city had a competing vision for Coney Island and attempted to buy Thor's land, but Thor did not accept the city's offer. Astroland ceased operations on September 7, 2008. Interim amusement rides and a flea market opened in the summer of 2009 and closed later that year.

On November 11, 2009, Sitt reached a deal with New York City to sell a smaller part of his 12.5 acres (51,000 m2) of land in Coney Island for $95.6 million so that the city and Thor could jointly redevelop Coney Island together with Zamperla, the Italian amusement ride manufacturer, completing the three-year negotiation. In May 2015, Thor Equities unveiled Coney Art Walls, a public art wall project curated by former director of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Jeffrey Deitch and Thor CEO Joseph Sitt, which was funded by a $4 million charitable donation by Thor. Located at 3050 Stillwell Avenue, the project featured established and new artists. Coney Art Walls returned in 2016 with 21 new murals.

Chicago

Thor was an early investor in Chicago’s Fulton Market District. Thor acquired 905 W. Fulton Market and surrounding assets for $36 million in 2016 and sold the property for $85 million in 2020, a record amount for the district. Thor developed the site into a five story, 98,000 square foot mixed-use space leased to Mondelez International for their global headquarters. Thor then went on to partner with QuadReal on nearby 800 W. Fulton Market, a ground-up mixed-use development at the gateway to the District. Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merril, 800 W. Fulton Market is targeting both LEED Platinum and the WELL Building Standard certification and features of 400,000 square feet of office, retail, and public space with state-of-the art amenities. Thor’s portfolio also includes nearby 942 W. Fulton Market, 1003 W. Fulton Market and 1229 W. Randolph Street. 1229 W. Randolph Street recently received approval for an 8.5 story boutique office building. Thor bought the historic Palmer House Hilton Hotel in Chicago's Loop area in 2005 for $230 million and undertook an award-winning $150 million renovation. The Lockwood Restaurant at the Palmer House was also named a James Beard Award winner. In October 2012, the company refinanced Palmer House Hilton in Chicago for $365 million.

Texas

In Houston, Thor developed the Kirby Collection, a 1.1 million square foot luxury mixed-use project. Located in Houston’s Upper Kirby District, the development features a 25-story, 199-unit residential tower, a 13-story, 185,000 square foot office tower, and 65,000 square feet of retail and entertainment space that Thor recently sold for over $182 million. Thor broke ground on the development in October 2015 and opened the property in 2017. Also in Texas, Thor owns 1005 E. St. Elmo Street in Austin and the Shoppes at Cinco Ranch in Katy.

Florida

Thor recently developed Wynwood Walk, a 63,000 square foot project in the heart of Miami’s Wynwood Art District designed by Oppenheim Architecture. Thor has multiple assets in Miami’s Wynwood, Lincoln Road, and Design Districts, as well as properties in Delray Beach and Fort Lauderdale.  

California

Thor Equities acquired San Francisco’s landmarked Phelan Building, at 760 Market Street in 2008 for $130 million and sold the asset in 2017 for $375 million. After making upgrades throughout the building and reconfiguring the office space, Thor leased space to Starbucks, Orogold Cosmetics, Walgreens, Verizon and Marshalls, as well as Credit Karma and Medium, an online publishing platform founded by Twitter co-founder Ev Williams. Thor received the San Francisco Business Times’ “Real Estate Deal of the Year award” for the noteworthy sale of the property. Thor also owns properties throughout San Francisco including 152 Geary Street and 634 Second Avenue. In Los Angeles, Thor owns 9000 Santa Fe and properties on Robertson Boulevard.

Latin America

Joseph Sitt is Chairman of Thor Urbana, a leading real estate investment and development company based in Mexico. Through a vertically integrated platform, it specializes in the sourcing, development, acquisition, repositioning, leasing and administration of real estate projects including lifestyle retail centers, luxury hotels, condominiums, resorts, and industrial parks, as well as mixed-used assets in Mexico and Latin America. The company has developments that total more than 18 million square feet in locations including Mexico City, Guadalajara, Playa del Carmen, Cancun, Mérida, Metepec, Los Cabos, Tulum, San Luis Potosí, Tijuana, Riviera Nayarit, Belize among many others.

The venture's first project was a full block high-end retail development along Playa del Carmen's Quinta Avenida.

The most notable developments in Latin America include Thor-owned and developed hotels and residences: The Montage Los Cabos; Ritz Carlton Mexico City; Thompson Playa del Carmen; and Four Seasons Caye Chapel, a 260-acre island off the coast of Belize.

Mixed-use developments across Latin America include the award-winning Landmark Guadalajara, which consists of more than two million square feet of retail, tech office and luxury residences, as well as The Harbor Merida, comprising 1.65 million square feet featuring more than 120 international retailers, and Town Square Metepec, which offers 1.7 million square feet of lifestyle retail.

Additional Thor ground-up developments include the Ritz-Carlton, Mexico City, the luxury brand’s first hotel in Mexico City; The Park San Luis Potosi, a mixed-use lifestyle retail center totaling 1.6 million square feet; and Bajalta, a mixed-use development in Tijuana totaling 2.5 million square feet.

Subsidiary companies

Thor Brands

Thor Brands identifies opportunities to acquire, start up, invest, and partner with best-in-class lifestyle brands. Through powerful storytelling and vast resources, Thor has the skillset to act as an accelerator to help brands unlock their full value and connect with their consumers. Thor Brand’s leadership team includes highly experienced professionals with over 100-years of cumulative experience in DTC brands, e-commerce, retail, marketing, international, operations, merchandising, product development, brand management, and licensing. In addition to Thor identifying external opportunities, they have internally created the successful well known inhouse brands such as Madhappy and Brunch. Madhappy is an LA-based DTC brand launched in 2017, and is one of the top cause and fashion brands today. With a focus on mental health, optimism, and inclusivity, Madhappy’s mission is to raise awareness and acceptance around one of today’s most pressing issues and promote positivity. Through innovative branding, partnerships, and collaborations with companies including Colette, Pixar, Headspace, Vans, and Curb Your Enthusiasm, Madhappy has established itself as a true mission-driven brand that included investors such as LVMH Ventures and Tommy Hilfiger. In addition to Madhappy, Brunch is a DTC lifestyle brand that is Thor’s next iteration of an inhouse brand that capitalizes on timing a market sector in demand. Offering the comfort of an indoor slipper with the durability of an outdoor shoe, Brunch is a sustainable slipper hybrid designed to remind consumers of the coveted brunch experience. Brunch has partnered with The Setai Miami, Carrots, and Something Navy, and has collaborations planned with luxury hotels including ModernHaus SoHo in NYC and Casa Tua in Miami and Aspen.

Thor Ventures

Thor Ventures is an affiliate of Thor Equities focused on venture capital investing in technology and transformative businesses globally. Thor invests in all growth and development phases and is dedicated to empowering innovators across all sectors. Thor is strategically positioned in the global landscape through their real estate and brands portfolio which allows them to capitalize on venture investing early on through information that is harvested through their network.

Thor Retail Advisors

Thor Retail Advisors, founded by CEO Joseph Sitt in 2010, is an affiliate of Thor Equities that provides advisory and strategic services to consumer brands. The company specializes in complex advisory services in key markets across the globe, and has offices in New York, London, Paris, and Mexico City.

Nonprofit activities and honors

Global Gateway Alliance

Joseph Sitt is the Chairman and founder of the not-for-profit Global Gateway Alliance (GGA), which was created in 2012 to address the infrastructure challenges that New York's airports face. Sitt made an initial $1 million donation to start the group which strives to make New York’s airports among the best in the world. The group cites the increasing global competition between the world’s cities to win tourist and business travel, and the substantial economic activity and prestige that New York City stands to lose from not maintaining the world class airport system that it once had. In March 2015, Sitt was honored with the City & State Award for Outstanding Leadership for his promotion and advocacy for the improvement of New York’s airports which now successfully receives billions in infrastructure funding. On July 27, 2015, Vice President Joseph Biden and Governor Andrew Cuomo announced LaGuardia Airport will be completely rebuilt by 2021, leading GGA Chairman Joseph Sitt to state this was “an important step in bringing New York’s airports into the 21st century, and a win for the more than 117 million annual passengers that use our airports and for a regional economy that relies on the airports for more than $50 billion in activity.”

Additional nonprofit activities and honors

Joseph Sitt is an active board member of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, a community development organization. He was instrumental in helping restore Restoration Plaza, the neighborhood's Town Square and the BSRC's main asset, and bringing to the area more retail options including its first family sit-down restaurant and supermarket. In 2007, Harvard professor Michael Porter and the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) honored him for his commitment to fostering healthy competitive business conditions and new opportunities in inner city neighborhoods.

Sitt is a board member of Venetian Heritage, a not-for-profit organization that works to restore the Jewish museum and ancient synagogues of the Ghetto of Venice.

Sitt, is a frequent interviewee for primetime news outlets including Bloomberg TV’s Daytime Markets, and Fox Business’ Varney & Co. He is a highly sought-after speaker and often lectures on topics including entrepreneurship, geopolitics affecting business, and urban real estate development at various universities including Columbia University, New York University, Baruch, and Notre Dame.

In 2004, Sitt was profiled by Crains New York in its annual "40 Under 40" issue, which celebrates those individuals in New York City who have achieved success in business before turning 40.

Mr. Sitt has been named by the Commercial Observer in its annual list as one of the Most Powerful People in New York Real Estate.

Lawsuit

In May 2020, Thor 's offer to sell 933 Broadway to Mactaggart fell apart. When they clashed over a crucial deadline in an approximately $24 million Flatiron District retail contract, Thor Equities and Mactaggart Family & Associates pulled out their abacus and calendar according to new lawsuit. [2]

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References

  1. "Thor Equities".
  2. "Thor Equities sues Mactaggart over latest broken deal". The Real Deal. 27 May 2020. Retrieved 17 June 2020.