According to Mr. Davis, employees need to be able to shuttle back and forth from the office to the venue, sometimes multiple times a day. The Time Warner Center of course has office space as a component of the complex but Mr. Davis said that Jazz at Lincoln Center never really looked too hard at vacancies there because it is high-end, expensive space.
“The office rents here are a little bit above my pay grade,” he joked.
The requirement to preserve proximity created something of a challenge. Though Time Warner Center helped solidify the area as a commercial district, there are only a handful of office buildings in the neighborhood.
“It is kind of a niche market,” Harly Stevens, an executive at CBRE who represents Jazz at Lincoln Center with colleague Jim Robbins, said. “There aren’t a lot of buildings and what properties there are are often full like the Hearst Building and a number of buildings in the area that are leased by Fordham University. We knew from the beginning that we were really staring at a small selection.”
One property that had jumped out to everyone as a possible candidate of course was 3 Columbus Circle, an office that, though it’s not as close as 33 West 60th Street, is still only a few blocks away. The building seemed like a perfect fit, save for the inconvenient fact that Joe Moinian, the property’s landlord, was nearing foreclosure to debt holders on the building, a group spearheaded perhaps ironically by the Time Warner Center’s developer Stephen Ross.
At the 11th hour, however, Mr. Moinian was able to recapitalize the project by bringing in SL Green, the city’s largest commercial landlord, as a partner.
Having taken over the leasing effort from Mr. Moinian, SL Green executives moved to lure Jazz at Lincoln Center to the property, which had been gut renovated by Mr. Moinian.
“We were jazzed to get them, pun intended,” Steve Durels, SL Green’s leasing director, joked. “We absolutely loved their brand and wanted to have a tenant with that kind of name recognition in the property.”
A deal was drawn up but as it was in process, SL Green reeled in a much bigger fish. The advertising company Y&R, reached a deal in recent months to take about 350,000 square feet of the 750,000 square foot building’s space. With such a large anchor in place, Jazz at Lincoln Center executives for a moment worried that SL Green might tighten its rents for the remaining space as landlords sometimes do when they have a building largely leased.
“SL Green were total gentlemen,” Mr. Stevens said. “All the rents and terms we had agreed to before they landed Y&R were honored, even though the deal required us to bumped to another floor.
Mr. Stevens and Mr. Davis pointed out that the Y&R transaction was actually fortuitous for Jazz at Lincoln Center.
“We were pushed from the third floor to the 12th,” Mr. Davis said, noting that the office can look into the organization’s performance venue from 3 Columbus and vice-versa. “We now have a much better view.”
Jazz at Lincoln Center will also be able to consolidate its offices on one floor when it moves to the building in about six months.
“We’re going to have a piano and a mini performance space right when you come into the lobby of the office,” Mr. Davis said. “How’s that for collaboration?”
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