Lease Beat

Alcoa Renews Lever House Lease

Lever House.

Alcoa has signed a renewal for its 21,452-square-foot space at RFR Realty’s Lever House at 390 Park Avenue, Commercial Observer has learned.

The global lightweight metals engineering and manufacturing company occupies the entire seventh and eighth floors of the building. The term of the lease was not disclosed. Read More

Lease Beat

ADCO Group Takes High-End Space at 450 Park

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ADCO Group has signed a three-and-a-half-year, 10,800-square-foot lease for its relocation to Somerset Partners’ 450 Park Avenue.

The 33-story, 334,404-square-foot black granite tower with 10,300 to 10,800-square-foot floor plates stands beside such Class A office buildings as The Seagram Building, Lever House and 500 Park Avenue, likewise catering to top-tier boutique firms who covet full Read More

Power Broker

The Trophy Agent: RFR’s Steve Morrows

Credit: Fernando Pereira Gomes

Ten months ago, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, one of the world’s oldest private equity firms, was looking to expand its space at the Seagram Building. Having spent a number of years occupying the entire 18th floor of the iconic building and a portion of the floor above, the firm was on the prowl to take the entire 19th floor.

With four additional tenants sharing space on the floor, complicated negotiations were imminent. Steve Morrows, executive vice president and director of leasing at owner RFR Realty, began devising a solution with his leasing team. The answer involved two lease terminations and two relocations within the building—all at the same time. Read More

R.I.P.

Ada Louise Huxtable, Astute and Feared Architecture Critic, Dies at 91

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Ada Louise Huxtable, who in 1963 became the first full-time architecture critic at an American newspaper, died yesterday in New York at 91-years-old.

Ms. Huxtable was named architecture critic by the New York Times at a time when steamrolling urban planners–most famously Robert Moses–were doing battle in the court of public opinion with members of the burgeoning preservation movement like Jane Jacobs, whose seminal book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, was published in 1961.

Ms. Huxtable sided with the preservationists as she redefined modern architectural journalism. Read More

Midtown

L&L Holdings’ David Levinson on New 425 Park Avenue Architectual Designs

Park Avenue Boundaries.

Lord Norman Foster this month won the contest to design the first new office tower in almost 50 years on Park Avenue, beating three other finalists for the opportunity to make a mark on the row of 30 Class A buildings in the submarket, which already boasts two of the city’s most famous modernist classics.

L&L Holding Co. late last month chose Foster + Partners’ design for an illuminated 41-story tower at 425 Park Avenue, a few blocks north of the Seagram Building and Lever House, 1950s buildings that helped establish the International Style of glass and steel construction. Foster’s tapered steel-frame tower allows for three gradated tiers of column-free floors, separated by tree-lined terraces where employees will take breaks and exchange ideas, as well as a ground-level public plaza. Read More

Lease Beat

Third Point Signs Deal At Lever House

Lever House.

Third Point, the multi-billion dollar hedge fund managed by Daniel S. Loeb, is renewing its office and expanding at the high-end Park Avenue office tower Lever House in what would be one of the most expensive leases of the year on a per square foot basis.

The company, according to sources, occupies two floors and is renewing its hold on that space while adding another floor in a roughly 32,000-square-foot deal with rents around a whopping $140 per square foot. Read More

Power Broker

Richard Baxter Dishes on the Drama Behind the Deals at Casa Lever

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It was lunchtime at Casa Lever, the high-end restaurant in the iconic Lever House, and Richard Baxter was on his BlackBerry negotiating.

It was a busy year for Mr. Baxter and his colleagues at Jones Lang LaSalle. His four-man team comprised some of the city’s most prominent brokers of large-scale commercial office buildings, and as the Manhattan sales market’s post-recessionary thaw continues, Mr. Baxter estimated that the group had tallied an impressive $1.3 billion in deals this year.

Three days before Christmas, however, it wasn’t one particular skyscraper Mr. Baxter was bargaining over from his plum seat at Casa Lever. In a year-end rush, his group had loose ends to tie up, deals to close and transactions still in the works. And so, on this particular Thursday amid a bustling lunch crowd, Mr. Baxter was not negotiating with a buyer or a building owner, but rather one of his own assistants, whom he was asking to stay late to receive critical documents and to help get the team through the rest of the day. Read More

Gilding the Lobby Lily

The frugality fad is fading fast.

Bidders are dropping multimillions on Warhols at Sotheby’s; Goldman Sachs wives are preparing holiday shopping extravaganzas in anticipation of record bonuses; and in the realm of commercial real estate, tenants are spending more than $100 a square foot on office space (in which to hang their newly acquired   Read More