The Madison/Fifth Avenue submarket has the most expensive office space in Manhattan and the highest vacancy rate in Midtown, as the owners of its trophy buildings hold out for top-dollar rents.
“The reality is that for tenants who want to have [a] premier office environment with premier views of the city, there’s no such thing as pre-recession or post recession,” said Scott Panzer, vice chairman of Jones Lang LaSalle, who has the task of signing up tenants for one of the biggest vacancies in the city, at 9 West 57th Street. The owner of that building, Sheldon Solow, is looking to get rents as high at $200 a square foot, more than twice the average for the district and more than three times that for all of Manhattan.
The 50-story tower, known for its concave-sloping black glass façades and the fat red numeral 9 on the 57th Street sidewalk, is about one-third vacant, according to JLL’s website. Available spaces range from 3,210 to 247,400 square feet.
If Don Draper still ran an advertising agency, he’d have a very different Manhattan life. Instead of a dozen martinis and oysters at Grand Central every night after work, it’d probably be a quick Peroni and antipasti at Eataly before hitting the gym.
He might even be home early enough to kiss Betty and read a book to his kids. And, of course, he’d work in a fabulous open-plan office in Manhattan’s most desired commercial real estate market, Midtown South.
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.