Lehman brothers making millions from One Times Square building

How Lehman Brothers Made Millions from An Un-rentable Building on One Times Square

One Times Square was originally constructed as the headquarters of 'The New York Times' in 1904.

The New York Times faced bankruptcy and left the building leaving it vacant that year.

During the time after, the empty building had a speakeasy in one of the basements. During the Second World War, the FBI was holding pistol practice in the basement and using the 7th floor office to trap German spies.

Fast forward to  1995, Lehman Brothers purchased One Time Square from the bankrupted New York Times for $27.5 million.

They quickly discovered that renting out the building was extremely difficult with a long time commitment to secure a tenant.

Lehman Brother transformed the whole 25 floored building into a billboard and earned 400% profit in 2 years.

They then sold the property to Jamestown Properties for $110 million in 1997.

It currently generates $23 million annually since 2012 and makes up 85% of its revenue.

The rest of its revenue is derived from a Walgreens pharmacy located on the first 3 floors.

The billboards are not even paid out of their own pockets. From 1996, Panasonic and CNBC put up their own television during that time, paying $2.4 million a year in rent.

They essentially made millions of dollars from an empty building by sticking boards around it. 

Takeaway: The greatest disasters always have an opportunity. We're always standing in our own acres of diamonds. If your business has a down turn, it could be the blessing you needed to take your business to the next level. It all depends on how you look at it.

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