Glee in Midtown! Office Rents Approaching Pre-Lehman Levels
As hoards of teenagers gathered outside the new New York Observer building, complete with campy concession stand and various fan accessories, the only conclusion we could draw was that they must have heard about this afternoon’s midtown west broker’s event.
While the crowds might have had something to do with the Glee stars rumored to be stopping by the Intercontinental across the street, a crowd of 30 or so commercial brokers were no less gleeful to learn this piece of news: midtown north asking rents could skyrocket past $100 a square foot as early as 2015. So said Peter Kozel, Colliers International’s economic whiz, who explained to the crowd that tourism and entertainment have created a boomlet in the office market on the West Side starting north of Times Square to Columbus Circle.
In our own building, dear reader, Kushner Companies’ 321 West 44th Street, the asking rent is $38 a square foot, with deals being done in that range. Downstairs, a lease is also out for the retail space, said Jared Kushner (The Observer‘s owner) during the event. Over sandwiches and cupcakes, one broker noted the large windows and high ceilings but lamented the lack of air conditioning and locked hallway bathrooms. Indeed. Perhaps he had not heard, however, of our favorite apocryphal tale about the building: John Lennon recorded “Walking on Thin Ice” here on Dec. 8, 1980–the day he was shot.
The midtown north availability rate is likely to remain relatively high, around 10 percent, but that may not reflect the amount of desirable space that’s available. Add that good news to Boston Properties’ planned development at 250 West 55th Street, and it looks indeed like the (north)west may have won.