The Award for Most Interesting 2013 Manhattan Submarket Goes to…



…It was definitely a close call. During the vote for the 2013 Most Interesting Manhattan Submarket Award (of which I was the only voter), it came down to the NGKF submarkets of World Trade or Penn Station (home of “greater” Hudson Yards). There was consideration to open it up to all of New York City so Brooklyn could be included. But cooler heads prevailed–a gain, just mine–and without getting into all that Brooklyn promotion, I kept the selection to one borough. I’m pleased to announce that this year’s MIMS Award goes to…World Trade!

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In making my decision, I considered not just the happenings of the past year but what is on the horizon. Certainly, we’ve heard a lot of hype regarding the chosen submarket. But there is a lot of substance behind it, as well – amazing for an area that includes just 10 office buildings (for the time being). So without further ado, here are some of the reasons why World Trade can proudly refer to itself as the most interesting submarket.

The completion of 4 World Trade Center: It boosted the World Trade inventory to 17.6 million square feet though also increased availability in the submarket by 1 million square feet. Furthermore, the average asking rent jumped by over $3.50 per square feet to $64.62 a foot.

The topping out of 1 World Trade Center: With Conde Nast about ready to shift its headquarters to this iconic tower from Midtown, it will bring along a whole new cadre of employees that haven’t been a major part of the Downtown Manhattan worker mix. It also will add another 1.3  million square feet of vacant space to the market when it opens in the first few months of 2014, taking the World Trade submarket availability rate up to 28.4 percent.

Westfield Group’s acquisition of the remaining interest in the retail portion of the World Trade Center: The nearly 500,000-square-foot was sold by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Retail is what many say Downtown Manhattan has lacked, but it’s about to get plenty of it.

The name change of the World Financial Center to Brookfield Place: Downtown Manhattan has morphed into a much more mixed-use neighborhood and no longer is all about finance. Another factor: the complete renovation of the common areas for the complex including the upscale retail and restaurant mix (yep – more retail).

The landing of another Midtown tenant, this time to Brookfield Place: Jones Day leased just over 330,000 square feet at 250 Vesey Street, definitely nothing to sneeze at.

CME Group’s sale of One North End Avenue to Brookfield Office Properties: This essentially gives Brookfield control of all office properties in Battery Park City. (CME will retain a presence in the building.)

The re-start of the 82-story Four Seasons Hotel & Condominiums at 30 Park Place: The project, which includes 189 rooms and 157 apartments, was placed on hold during the last recession.

The partial sale of the Verizon building at 140 West Street: Redevelopment of the tower portion to residential use is planned.

The imminent move of GroupM to lower Manhattan from Midtown: The approximately 500,000-square-foot lease–announced late last month–will kick-start 3 World Trade Center.

The sheer amount of infrastructure going into the entire area: While not limited to the World Trade submarket, it includes various transportation components which are too numerous to mention as I’m running out of space.

So there you have it. Our (or I should say “my”) pick for the 2013 (into 2014) Most Interesting Manhattan Submarket. Good luck next year to the other 17 NGKF submarkets. And Happy New Year to all!