Institutional investors advised by JP Morgan have acquired a majority ownership of the landmarked 195 Broadway from L&L Holding Company and Beacon Capital Partners.
L&L chairman and chief David Levinson and partners bought the Financial District property for $206 million in 2005. The New York Post reported that the 29-story office tower is currently worth about $500 million.
Completed in 1923, 195 Broadway served as the headquarters for American Telephone and Telegraph and Western Union, and it currently boasts Thomson Reuters as a major tenant. Acquired by L&L Holdings in 2005, the Financial District property has been repositioned to capitalize on retail opportunities on the ground floor.
Marketed by Cushman & Wakefield, the majestic space will be divided for up to three tenants, including a restaurant, with whom brokers are now in discussions with to open an upscale eatery with access to a 30th floor rooftop deck. Located across from the Fulton Street transit hub, 195 Broadway’s retail space is ideally suited for apparel and jewelry retailers. Alan Schmerzler, executive director at C&W, spoke with The Commercial Observer last week about the building’s unique challenges and potential opportunities.
From the outside, 222 Broadway fits the stereotype of the Downtown financial office tower.
But when Bank of America downsized, leaving roughly 250,000 square feet of space vacant, a series of tours guided by its new owner, L&L Holdings, quickly blasted that stereotype away.
Condé Nast committed to 80,000 square feet at the tower in early March. WeWork, which provides collaborative workspace for tech and media companies, was next in line.
The advertising agency Omnicom continued to build on its Lower Manhattan footprint by leasing an additional 26,414 square feet at 195 Broadway, The Commercial Observer has learned. The firm now occupies 295,294 square feet in the 29-story, 1.1-million-square-foot tower, which is now 100 percent occupied.
Lee Feld of Feld Real Estate represented the tenant. David C. Berkey and Andrew Wiener represented the building owner, L&L Holding Company, in-house. Asking rent was $47 per square foot.
Everybody Go Downtown
After the storm, things are looking brighter for the lower Manhattan real estate market.
Even with construction scaffolds clogging the district’s narrow streets in a reminder of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation, Downtown office leasing activity jumped 73 percent in the first two months of the year, according to Cushman & Wakefield.
The collaborative workspace provider WeWork signed a 16-year, 120,537-square-foot lease at 222 Broadway, The Commercial Observer has learned.
David Berkey and Andrew Wiener represented the building owner L&L Holding Company in-house. Mark Lapidus of WeWork and Sean Black of Jones Lang LaSalle represented the tenant. Asking rents at 222 Broadway are in the mid-$50 per square foot range.
WeWork typically provides communal office space to tech and new media companies, making the lease another sign of Lower Manhattan’s growing appeal to that type of firm. Mr. Berkey was quick to point out that tech and media tenants are “nothing new” in the neighborhood.
“I’ve been telling whoever will listen that for two years now we’ve seen nothing but this kind of tenant here and at [L&L's] 195 Broadway,” Mr. Berkey said. “We haven’t seen financial services or law firm tenants. It’s not a new phenomenon by any stretch.”
Despite a fair share of new product hitting the Midtown South market in January, landlords continued to call the shots, seeking ever-growing rents in the city’s epicenter for tech and creative companies, the latest data from Cushman & Wakefield shows.
The data shows that total space increased year-over-year in January by 9.8 percent to more than 4.52 million square feet, yet average rents also increased by 10.7 percent to $50.61 per square foot.
The boost in available product was pronounced among Class A and Class B properties, with 41.03 and 47.1 percent increases, respectively.
“It is still a landlord’s market even though that space has come online,” said Ken McCarthy, C&W’s chief economist. “Anyone adding space to the market is asking higher rents.”
As leasing agent for some of Manhattan’s most iconic buildings, CBRE executive vice president Brad Gerla has access to some impressive real estate—like J.P. Morgan’s former pied-à-terre on the 31st floor of 14 Wall Street or the neo-Gothic inner workings of the Woolworth Building at 233 Broadway.
So it was strange to chat with him one recent rainy morning in a nondescript conference room in an equally nondescript–dare we say blah–office, save for the fact that the conference room was nestled inside the former MetLife headquarters at 11 Madison Avenue.
Lease of the Week
On the first day of March, Havas chief executive officer David Jones joined a conference call and webcast with the press to announce his company’s 2011 financial results.
For Havas, a French marketing services group owned by billionaire Vincent Bolloré, the year was a good one. Its revenue grew 5.4 percent to $2.2 billion, 23 percent of which came from digital and social media activity.
Then, the English businessman told the media and, in effect, the world that beginning on Sept. 1, Havas would be rebranding Euro RSCG, the largest firm in Havas’s portfolio, as Havas Worldwide.
Global marketing and communications company Omnicom Group has taken an additional floor at 195 Broadway, growing the firm’s footprint to 260,000 square feet inside L&L Holding Company co-owned building, The Commercial Observer has learned.
The advertising firm will be taking a full floor, at approximately 39,347 square feet, at 195 Broadway.
Havas is in talks to move a portion of its U.S. advertising operations into 200 Hudson Street, several sources familiar with the transaction told The Commercial Observer.
The French company, which is one of the world’s largest advertising firms, would take approximately 150,000 square feet in the deal, the sources said.