Liberty Mutual has signed a 10-year, 120,000-square-foot lease at 55 Water Street, a success story to emerge amid a massive renovation project launched in response to a string of misfortunes brought by Hurricane Sandy.
The insurance company doubles its space in the building with the deal, moving from the 18th floor to the 22nd and 23rd floors.
“It’s great news for the landlord and it’s great news for Downtown,” said CBRE’s Brad Gerla, who represented the landlord with Mary Ann Tighe, Howard Fiddle and Evan Haskel.
New Water Street Corp. is putting $200 million into the building after it took on some 32 million gallons of water during the storm. The project includes the transport of key electrical, mechanical and communications equipment to the 3rd floor and storm-proofing to protect against future disasters.
“This landlord went over and above to secure the building and to make sure that something like this doesn’t happen again,” Mr. Gerla said.
For the first time in recent history, the availability rate across Manhattan’s stock of Class B buildings is lower than that of their Class A counterparts, suggesting a flight to value, propelled in part by the latest wave of technology startups and media companies looking for affordable space. Indeed, at 10.6 percent, the current availability rate for Class B space is 170 basis points less than the Class A rate of 12.3 percent, according to Richard Persichetti of Cassidy Turley.
With Cassidy Turley’s help, The Commercial Observer decided to put a spotlight on some of the most dramatic occupancy shifts across Manhattan over the last three years.
On Thursday, Nov. 1, Virgo Business Centers made 27,321 square feet of temporary, furnished office space available at 14 Penn Plaza. Companies displaced by Hurricane Sandy filed in one by one, and by the following Thursday, the space was full.
“Typically, that process takes about a year,” said Pasha Erkin, director of sales at the company. “It’s all about readiness. You could literally bring me 40 people today, and I could have the space ready tomorrow. All you have to do is walk in, flip on a switch, plug in and start working.”
In that building alone, the company took on 177 employees from displaced companies like Coronet, amfAR, Linda Decorato, Ambrose and others located on the eastern tip of Downtown and other areas hit hard by the hurricane.
Built by the Rockefeller family in the 1930s, Rockefeller Center is one of the largest commercial real estate developments to be built in the past century. Initially spanning approximately two dozen buildings, 22 acres and over 8,000,000 square feet, the district has further expanded in recent years to include a few dozen additional buildings along the Sixth Avenue corridor.
“There has also been a significant slowdown of leasing along the Sixth Avenue corridor, particularly Class A leasing, where leasing in the first half of 2012 was about half the long-term average,” said Melissa Bazar, an executive director at Cushman & Wakefield. “Since the Sixth Avenue corridor is dominated by large corporate users and financial firms, we expect leasing to remain sluggish through the balance of 2012, below the long-term average.”
Inventory has increased from 9.3 percent to 10.5 percent this past year, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s third-quarter report.
Robert Half International has inked a deal at 125 Park Avenue.
The world’s largest specialized staffing firm will take 38,026 square feet covering the entire fourth floor and parts of the third floor at SL Green‘s building across the street from Grand Central.
McGraw Hill may put space on the market at 1221 Avenue of the Americas, several sources familiar with the company claim, although the firm itself and leasing executives who work with it on its space needs denied the rumor, albeit on background and on the condition their identities be withheld.
Several brokers and executives who have knowledge of the company however insist it is contemplating releasing as much as 200,000 to 300,000 square feet at the approximately 2.7 million-square-foot office tower, a block of space that it occupies at top of the 52-story skyscraper.
With the Time & Life Building getting a LEED-silver rating in March, the Avenue of the Americas now boasts the highest number of green buildings, with a total of 7 LEED certified towers along its busy thoroughfare, according to a press release sent out by The Rockefeller Group.
Just weeks into the second quarter, brokers are already saying that caution continues to linger in the city’s leasing market.
After one of the slowest quarter in years during the first three months of the year, a number of large transactions that have been
rumored to be in talks for months remain in negotiations and big tenants who do have to lease space have made decisions that reflect a
sense of conservatism.