545 Madison Avenue
There have been worse times than September 2008 to put 140,000 square feet of space catering to financial services firms on the market. But not many.
Back in 2006, hedge funds were setting record rents in the Plaza district, David Sigman of landlord LCOR explained to The Commercial Observer. No one questioned the wisdom of gut-renovating a 50-year-old tower and turning it into a shiny, glass-encased tower with trendy LEED certification.
That was then. Now, after two years, the building has finally hit half-full, with four financial services firms finalizing 30,000 square feet of deals signed in the past month. In a new deal, BHR Capital signed a five-year, 8,800-square-foot lease for the entire 10th floor.
Moreover, after a couple of years signing a mix of tenants, including the Home Shopping Channel, the building is back to luring financial firms. Where rents were once in the mid-$60s, now they’re in the mid-to-upper-$70s.
At the beginning of 2010, the building was only 15 percent leased, but Mr. Sigman expects it to be full by the end of 2011. “As the market’s been picking up,” he said, “we’ve seen a lot more velocity in terms of brokers bringing tenants.”
With financial markets and the office market alike still turbulent, tenants’ needs are pretty much the same. “We found a brochure from 1955 talking about the location and how good the air-conditioning was,” said Mr. Sigman. “Nothing has really changed since then.”
In the BHR Capital deal, CB Richard Ellis‘ Sloane Rhulen, Gregg Rothkin, Robert Flippin, Paul Milunec and Kerry Powers represented the landlord, LCOR. Cynthia Wasserberger and Randy Abend of Jones Lang LaSalle represented the tenant.