Citibank has renewed its nearly 500,000-square-foot office lease at 601 Lexington Avenue.
Merrill Lynch, a subsidiary of Bank of America that has an asset management office at the iconic slant-roofed skyscraper, also just renewed its lease at the property, for all of floors 46 and 47, which total about 60,000 square feet.
Citibank’s decision to renew at the property appears to be a sharp about-face from previous efforts to dispose of the space. During the economic downturn, several real estate executives familiar with the location said that Citibank had quietly made the real estate market aware that it was interested in divesting itself of the space. It never actually went through with efforts to shed block of offices however.
A spokesperson for Citibank said that it was consolidating a total of seven locations in midtown into 601 Lexington, its largest Manhattan facility, and also another office building across the street that it has long occupied as its world headquarters, 399 Park Avenue.
“Citi is consolidating some of its midtown Manhattan offices as part of our ongoing efforts to manage expenses and increase operating efficiencies,” Anu Ahluwalia, a spokeswoman for the bank wrote in an email to The Commercial Observer.
Both 601 Lexington Avenue and 399 Park Avenue are owned by the real estate investment trust Boston Properties, a large landlord in the city that holds a collection of top tier, trophy skyscrapers.
Among the locations that Citibank is leaving in order to backfill staff into 601 Lexington is 666 Fifth Avenue, a Midtown tower where it bases its private banking operations (Jared Kushner, owner of The Commercial Observer is an owner of 666 Fifth Avenue).
Robert Alexander, a top executive with the real estate services company CBRE, represented Citibank in the deal with a team of CBRE executives. A leasing team from the real estate services firm Jone Lang LaSalle, led by top company executives Frank Doyle and Peter Riguardi, manages leasing at 601 Lexington Avenue. Andrew Levine a top leasing executive at Boston Properties is also responsible for overseeing leasing at the property. None could be reached for comment.
The Citibank deal is one among a number of recent transactions in which a large office tenant has decided to stay put. Morgan Stanley recently signed an over one million-square-foot office lease to remain at One New York Plaza. Viacom, the media conglomerate, also reached an agreement that was first reported by The Commercial Observer in recent weeks to remain at 1515 Broadway in a record 1.6 million square foot transaction.