But everybody knows that Midtown will need its money men to survive. One glimmer of hope came in the form of Blackstone Group, which took 600,000 square feet off the market last April at 229 West 43rd Street, the old New York Times Building. The $160 million purchase of the top 12 floors worked out at roughly $276 per square foot.
The deal was one of only a handful in Times Square, which continues to cause brokers heartburn.
“The one submarket I really worry about is Times Square,” said Cassidy & Turley’s Mr. Sammons. “It makes me a little nervous.”
Viacom’s lease at 1515 Broadway expires soon, which has Mr. Sammons thinking it might be time for the entertainment company to think about leaving its home, where Broadway crosses Seventh Avenue at the busiest intersection in America.
“I can’t help but think they might look elsewhere because of how crazy it is at the bow tie,” he said.
The new 1.1-million-square-foot office tower at 11 Time Square is also struggling to find tenants. Completed in the summer of 2011, the 40-story building landed white-shoe law firm Proskauer Rose for 406,000 square feet in 2010, but has struggled since then to find big tenants.
The National Basketball Association reportedly took a look at the property and passed.
In December, SJP Properties, looking to expand its field of possible tenants, filed paperwork with the city to convert some of the property to condos.
Mr. Sammons believes that the largest, most prestigious firms that used to dot Times Square have become reluctant to subject their office workers to the hordes of tourists and overpriced food.
“I think it makes a high-end tenant kind of nervous,” Mr. Sammons said.