The Plan

The Plan: Lester Schwab Katz & Dwyer

Black floors off-set the predominantly white design of the office for a clean, and highly modern look. “It’s a beautiful space for lawyers,” said Mr. Spector, “who are not used to beautiful space." (Photo: Ben Gancsos)

When law firm Lester Schwab Katz & Dwyer made the barely five block move from 120 Broadway to 100 Wall Street they took it upon themselves to adopt a radically new aesthetic for their two-floor, 40,000-square-foot space. The 40-year-old litigation firm turned to the Spector Group for an open-plan office that looks more Silicon Valley than big law.

“It’s a beautiful space for lawyers—who are not used to beautiful space,” said Spector Group principal Marc Spector. Read More

Construction Beat

Exterior to Be Unveiled at WeWork’s Soho Digs

Old rendering of 175 Varick Street from the exterior architect on the project, Spector Group. Architect Marc Spector said the building is now more industrial and tech friendly.

The scaffolding will soon come down at WeWork‘s offices at 175 Varick Street, Marc Spector, a principal at Spector Group, told Commercial Observer, and the façade work will be completed by the end of March.

Spector Group was charged with creating an entirely new base to the exterior façade at 175 Varick Street for the national collaborative workspace provider. The upgrades include a dark grey grid façade and large portals of glass with black window mullions. Read More

Sales Beat

Yeshiva University Flips Two Buildings in Latest Sell-off

Yeshiva's main campus:  500 W 185th St

Yeshiva University’s selling spree continues with the announcement that ClearRock Properties and Juster Properties have purchased two of the school’s Midtown Manhattan office properties for $29 million and plan to redevelop them.

One is a 93,700-square-foot, 12-story block-through office building at 9 East 38th Street; and the other is a 7,400-square-foot commercial townhouse at 14 East 39th Street with 22,200 square feet of air rights.

ClearRock announced that it has launched a $10 milion capital improvement program to reposition the properties with the help of architectural firm Spector Group, which will create new lobbies and upgrade façade, storefront, elevators, tenant corridors, restrooms and windows.  A “high-end pre-built program” will be implemented and a roof deck is also being considered.

“The redevelopment will add substantial value to the property, and give companies wanting to be near Grand Central a polished, boutique option at reasonable pricing,” said ClearRock Properties Managing Principal Steve Grant, in a statement. Read More

Cover Story



Two years ago, Bruce Ratner sought to ease a shrinking budget and appease swarms of critics who lambasted the original rendering for a residential tower at Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn as a “Lego-like” atrocity.

Like a frustrated schoolboy, he punted the plans to erect a set of oddly arranged giant blocks, shoving designer Frank Gehry Read More

The Plan

Check Out Pernod Ricard’s New Offices

Pernod Ricard

After signing an 82,000-square-foot deal for three floors—not to mention an option for a fourth—at 250 Park Avenue in May of last year, wine and spirits company Pernod Ricard’s new flagship space consolidated Pernod Ricard USA and Pernod Ricard Americas, which owns brands like Absolut Vodka and Jameson Irish Whiskey.

With the deal, the company now occupies floors 16 through 18, with a focus on the 17th floor, where an open layout and exposed, distillery-like environment commingle with a lounge and conference rooms.

“We’re loving this space—it came out so great,” said Scott Spector, principal of the Spector Group, which designed the space. “It’s one of the coolest spaces we’ve ever worked in on Park Avenue. Some will likely argue that the finished product is even cooler.”

After the jump, Mr. Spector reviews the furniture plans with The Commercial Observer and explains what, exactly, drew Pernod Ricard to 250 Park Avenue. Read More

Lease Beat

The Spector Group Drafts New Headquarters at 183 Madison Avenue

183 Madison Avenue

The Spector Group,  an architecture, interior design, and master planning firm, will be moving from their headquarters at 19 West 44th Street to 183 Madison Avenue.

The new space at 183 Madison will span 13,000 square feet, with an emphasis on keeping an open floor plan.

“It brings about a connectivity, an interaction, that I feel is necessary in a creative environment, such as what we are in,” said Scott Spector, principal of Spector Group. Read More

Lower Manhattan

Downtown Manhattan on the Up and Up

Downtown Manhattan.

For much of the past decade the only hope for a broker looking to make money off of Downtown office space was to do a deal like 70 Pine Street: Take a lavish 62-story Art Deco headquarters that was once owned by a spectacularly failed financial firm like AIG and turn it into opulent apartments where bankers would rather live than work.

Deals like 70 Pine Street, which instantly wiped off one million square feet from Downtown’s commercial real estate inventory when it was sold for $200 million in 2011, have been propping up statistics for the neighborhood’s office space market for years. Ever since large banks and financial companies started fleeing offices in the financial district, an influx of young families and bankers wanting to live Downtown, rather than just work there, have kept the vacancy rate from tanking even further by reducing the math on the supply end.

Now, say the brokers who have long suffered the horrors of Downtown’s commercial market, those residential conversions are starting to also pay off on the demand side. A flurry of infrastructure and amenities building to keep up with the new residents in the neighborhood is also making the area more enticing for large corporations to move in.

“It’s a chicken-and-egg scenario,” said Mark Shapses, executive managing director at Studley. “Downtown is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.” Read More

The Sit-Down

The Winter Garden and Quirky.Com: Scott Spector Designs New York City

Scott Spector. Spector Group

Since breaking into Manhattan in 1998, the Spector Group has immersed itself in some of the city’s most notable design projects, including a series of assignments for NASDAQ, office designs for Internet start-up companies and some of the area’s earliest initiatives for data centers and telecom hotels, some of which are now being converted back to office use. Principal Scott Spector, 49, spoke to The Commercial Observer about one of his family-owned company’s biggest assignments, rebuilding the Winter Garden, as well as ongoing work for NASDAQ and what may be his most imaginative job yet—designing eclectic office space for with repurposed bowling alley materials. Read More