Development

Nowhere But Up: Michael Cohen Considers Expansion on West 23rd

The owners of 28-46 West 23rd Street are exploring an expansion of the building amid a hot streak in the Midtown South office district that has driven down vacancy and pushed rents up, The Commercial Observer has learned.
28 30 west 23rd Nowhere But Up: Michael Cohen Considers Expansion on West 23rdMichael Cohen, chief executive of the brokerage company Colliers International and an owner of 28-46 West 23rd Street, told The Commercial Observer that he and other owners of the property were contemplating an expansion that would utilize unused air rights. The plan, which is still being envisioned, would likely seek to add space to the top of the building and refurbish upper floors.

Mr. Cohen said the building was landmarked, so the expansion would be done in a way to avoid interferring with key components of the property. Most likely, he said, the expansion space would be constructed in an area of the property that wouldn’t be directly visible from the street.

“We would be redeveloping the top of the building to make something very special,” Mr. Cohen said.

The project would mirror other developments in the area in recent months and years.

In Midtown South’s western precincts near the High Line and in the Meatpacking District, a number of boutique commercial buildings have been built or are in the process of being raised. Closer to 28-46 West 23rd Street of course is 200 Fifth Avenue, an building that was acquired by L&L Holding Company in 2007 and renovated into an acclaimed office location in the neighborhood that has attracted a number of prominent tenants at previously unseen rents in the area.

28-46 West 23rd Street is best known as the home of the clothing label Ecko and also for its ground floor retail tenant The Home Depot. Ecko still has the lease for several floors in the property but shrunk its presence there during the recession when the company verged on bankruptcy. Since then, the building though has gained in popularity among tech tenants, a much-talked about burgeoning sector of the city’s economy and leasing market and one of the drivers of Midtown South’s popularity.

Last year the online marketing company Big Fuel Communications took about 40,000 square feet at the property and more recently Zaarly, another tech company, took space as well.

Mr. Cohen said it was too early to say how big the possible expansion will be, but hinted that it would be in the tens of thousands of square feet, not hundreds.

Dgeiger@Observer.com

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