The “New” Grand Central District?

With the announcement last week that a new tower in the Grand Central District is back on the front burner, I thought it a great time to take another gander at this prime commercial area of Midtown Manhattan. The building, with the working name of One Vanderbilt, will sit adjacent to Grand Central Terminal and potentially be 65 floors comprising around 1.6 million square feet.

Since the focus is on a new trophy tower, let’s stick with Class A statistics, shall we? Within the Grand Central District there is currently 45.4 million square feet of inventory in 77 buildings, which makes it the largest of the six NGKF districts in Midtown by a relatively close margin (Sixth Avenue/Rock Center is second with 42.9 million square feet in 46 buildings). The current Class A availability rate is the second highest in Midtown at 14.7 percent, while the Class A average asking rent is the second lowest in Midtown at $65.91 a foot.

Now this is where it gets even more interesting (at least to a research nerd like me!). Presently, the average size of a Class A building in Grand Central is 620,000 square feet (645,000 square feet for Midtown and 723,000 square feet for Manhattan), and the average age is 61. For all of Class A Midtown, that average age drops to 54 but is one year older for all of Class A Manhattan.

Of course, one new trophy tower in a district the size of Grand Central is not going to change these statistics that dramatically. For the district alone, it would bring the average size up to 635,000 square feet (just 15,000 square feet more than today), while bringing the average age down by one whole year! But my feeling is that more important than the tower itself, is how the tower would transform an area that has long been considered staid (dare I say dowdy). Viewed as part of a bigger picture—which would include a refined East Midtown rezoning plan—the tower could be a much-needed private sector kickoff to improved transit, tied to the spectacular Grand Central Terminal.

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