Manhattan leasing activity was up 24 percent year-over-year in May to 2.08 million square feet, up from 1.68 million square feet in May 2012, according to CBRE’s latest Manhattan Marketview Snapshot. The three largest new leases were from tech firms, including Facebook’s new lease at 770 Broadway, the report noted.
Tech leasing was led by Yahoo!, which snapped up 176,201 square feet at 229 West 43rd Street, the former headquarters of The New York Times. Yahoo!’s lease led the Midtown market, where leasing was up 26 percent over the five-year average of 1.17 million square feet.
When The Commercial Observer profiled 229 West 43rd Street (the former New York Times Building) earlier this month, leasing agent Brian Waterman of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank said “a bunch of larger tenants [were] hanging around the rim.” Mr. Waterman declined to name names, but unconfirmed reports suggest interest among some big, usual suspects from the tech and media sectors.
When the information database developer 10Gen was on the hunt for office space last year, it initially focused its search around Midtown South’s tech-industry hotbed. In December, the company inked a deal for 29,400 square feet at 229 West 43rd Street, the old New York Times headquarters.
The deal suggested a shift among youthful companies that for years had sought nontraditional loft-like offices in and around the Flatiron District, Union Square and Soho.
A post-recession spike in activity and rents was welcome, but even more encouraging was the fact that cutting-edge tech and new media firms were generating significant activity in the prime neighborhood so often associated with starchy law firms and corporate users. The fact that the former headquarters of an archetypal old media giant was drawing new media (and tech) blood was an intriguing development.
Bad breath. Body odor. Too many columns.
Al Jazeera reportedly eyed the former New York Times building at 229 West 43rd Street as a potential headquarters for its expanding U.S. operations, but the news agency may have been turned off when it saw “too many columns,” The Wall Street Journal reported today.
Though the building has drawn interest from numerous tech and creative firms, which place great value on lofty, open workspaces, even a single column can pose a big problem for large TV studios.
“Most studios require large areas of column free space, in addition to high ceilings,” Jason Schwartzenberg, a corporate managing director at Studley who focuses on creative tenants, told The Commercial Observer.
Brian Waterman’s 27 years at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank sprang from a 90-second interview with NGKF Chief Executive Officer Barry Gosin in 1986.
Mr. Waterman, now a vice chairman at NGKF, was fresh out of college and considering a career in law. His mentor, Saul Katz, Sterling Equities’ co-founder and president, shot from the hip and said there were already enough lawyers in the world, and that Mr. Waterman should look into real estate, the field that had minted Mr. Katz’s fortune.
Mr. Katz put Messrs. Waterman and Gosin in touch.
Not quite two minutes into the job interview, Mr. Gosin told Mr. Waterman he was hired, and to immediately start canvassing. “It was my first and only job interview,” Mr. Waterman said.
The Year in Review
This past February, 10Gen, developer of the computer system database MongoDB, was in search of new office space, specifically in tech- and media-rich Midtown South.
The company needed a large open layout for its workers, with an option for more space to allow the firm to grow—plus an option to terminate. Unfortunately, the ultra-tight market Read More
Information database developer, 10Gen, was looking to become the latest technology firm to set up shop in Midtown South but found a more attractive option further north, taking 29,400 square feet at 229 West 43rd Street—the old New York Times Building—and was offered an asking price between $70 and $80 per square foot. The five Read More
Midtown is starting to matter again.
At least that’s the view to take from commercial real estate deals like Japanese financial firm Nomura Holding’s $60-per-square-foot, 20-year lease for a plush 47-story headquarters at 825 Eighth Avenue.
The arrival of a Japanese multinational at the Worldwide Plaza property embodies the roller-coaster ride of the Midtown office market over the past five years. It was bought by Harry Macklowe for $1.7 billion in 2007, only to be sold at a 60 percent discount two years later in a fire sale that saw George Comfort & Sons snatch it up for $600 million in 2009 when the building was half vacant.