Downtown’s Newest Redevelopment is Turning Heads
David Cosentino Nov. 15, 2015, 8:31 p.m.
It was a “180” that New Yorkers may not have expected, but are now hard-pressed to ignore.
180 Maiden Lane ascended into the consciousness of Lower Manhattan and the NYC commercial real estate community this fall, firing on all cylinders with a series of new leases, an auspicious grand opening celebration exclusively for the real estate community attended by over 450 top brokers, and a swanky photography exhibition by famed photographer Russell James. As the competitive landscape of Lower Manhattan office space continues to evolve, the building’s new owners have embraced the innovation of Downtown’s creative renaissance by developing a vertical campus environment, with three floors of amenities ranging from indoor “park” spaces with trees, green lawns and collaborative seating, to curated art galleries, conference facilities and high-end fitness studios. An inclusive and interactive community is born.
180 Maiden Lane — prominently located on East River waterfront at the newly-trending Seaport District and offering some of New York’s best views — is owned by Clarion Partners and MHP Real Estate Services, with Cushman & Wakefield and MHP spearheading the leasing efforts. The Clarion-MHP partnership acquired the property at the beginning of the year, and immediately embarked on an ambitious and innovative $30 million capital improvement plan that includes extensive lobby and atrium plaza renovations, new elevator cab finishes, and in-building hospitality services – providing tenants with corporate event planning, daily lunch service, and ongoing tenant appreciation events — and an all-inclusive amenity package that features TRX and spin studios by ChaiseFitness, a boutique Manhattan wellness and fitness operator, state-of-the-art conference facilities, and a gourmet cafeteria. The lobbies have been reimagined as open public atrium plazas, with planted trees, organic bench seating, a green lawn with park seating and a cinema projection screen, along with professionally curated rotating art galleries. In early 2016, a gourmet coffee roast, juice bar and gelato stand will also be opening along with the building’s new main entry.
As the capital improvements took shape this year, the feedback from tenants, brokers and industry professionals has been overwhelmingly positive. “I knew the building had incredible views with the waterfront location, but the true differentiator was how impressive the renovations and amenities are,” said a recent tenant prospect that toured building. “It gives off that ‘wow’ factor that’s tough to achieve these days, and everything just has a very positive vibe. It doesn’t feel like a regular office building, and that is a huge part of the appeal. It’s great to see ‘new’ actually mean ‘new’ in a broader sense.”
Cultural enthusiasts have also embraced the building. “It was really the perfect space for Russell James’ photography,” noted Ronni Anderson, curator of the Anderson Contemporary Gallery at 180 Maiden Lane. “The building’s new public plazas have a larger-than-life presence, and the openness of high-end event space, and the new surrounding Seaport District has the same urban, authentic vibe of West Chelsea and the Meatpacking District before emerging as the art and culture destinations they’ve become today. Mr. James’ exhibition was phenomenal, and I expect that the building’s versatile spaces will continue to attract a variety of different event types in the near future. It works perfectly with what’s going on at the Seaport.”
The South Street Seaport is experiencing a makeover of its own, as the Howard Hughes Corporation is transforming the Seaport area from its previous tourist-oriented persona into a new residential, cultural and recreational destination acutely attuned to the “live-work-play” philosophy embraced by the diverse array of businesses gravitating to the area. The $1.5 billion Seaport master plan includes a giant iPic Entertainment theatre , opening in 2016, along with a widened esplanade, boutique shops, art studios, nightlife, restaurants, and a new Jean-Georges marketplace. The centerpiece of the Seaport District is the re-imagined Pier 17, which is scheduled for completion in 2017. The new Pier 17 will serve as the area’s primary attraction for fashion brands, recreation and entertainment events, taking full advantage of the open waterfront location and the rapidly-growing residential population of Lower Manhattan.
Since January seven new leases have been signed and several more are being negotiated, with a massive surge in inquiries following the highly-successful broker event on October 21st. “When you get over 450 people to a building opening event, and they stay until you have to turn the lights on, you’ve created an asset that’s going to generate tremendous interest,” remarked Norman Sturner, CEO and founder of MHP Real Estate Services. “The amenities, views and location – 180 Maiden truly has it all. We’ve already seen a substantial increase in activity since the event and the completion of the renovation plan, and we only expect demand to rise as the word spreads.”
“The center core floor plates combined with the 360° views, delivering an extraordinary amount of light, are ideal for today’s tenant requirements. As companies are highly densifying their layouts, they want to select properties that otherwise enhance their office environment, which 180 Maiden Lane distinctively provides. We don’t expect the 600,000 square-foot contiguous block to last long given the demand we’ve seen after introducing the completed capital plan. The building, and the entire Seaport District, with the iPic theater and Jean-Georges restaurant, has really done a 180 and tenants have certainly taken notice.”