The Plan: 5 Bryant Park Gets a Little ‘Edgy’


With glassy and sleek newcomers like 7 Bryant Park and 1 Bryant Park, it may be intimidating for a gritty 1958-building like 5 Bryant Park to compete for the cool tenants (like, say, the technology, advertising, media and information, or TAMI, tenants)—but sometimes gritty is good.

The 34-story, 640,000-square-foot building between West 40th and West 41st Streets is nearly completely leased except for its only full-floor vacancy (ninth floor), which landlord Equity Office dressed up with a little “edge,” revealing some of its original features and hopefully, exposing enough leg to lure in the creatives.

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Equity Office brought in branding company Pace, a subsidiary of WPP, to reimagine its 27,391-square-foot ninth floor in December. Pace stripped down the columns to expose the steel beams and filled the empty columns with books (a nod to the main branch of the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue across the park).

On the raw concrete floor, it added quotes about New York City from celebrities ranging from Woody Allen to members of the Beastie Boys. The walkway of words is reminiscent of Library Way, the pathway of quotes on East 41st Street that leads to the NYPL main branch. The statements inscripted in 5 Bryant Park lead to the windows along Avenue of the Americas and views of Bryant Park.

“I like to categorize it as corporate yet edgy,” Zachary Freeman, a vice president at Equity Office, told Commercial Observer. “We wanted to accentuate the bones of the building.”

To increase the treasured views of the park and lighting onto the expanse, the old double-hung windows in the space were swapped out for windows with one full pane.

Pace also added historic photos of Bryant Park and a large mural on the walls.

So far, the space has generated a lot of attention from creative companies but also the traditional financial service tenants that are interested in a location next to the park with good transportation, Mr. Freeman said.

“Eighty percent has been creative, and 20 percent financially oriented [tenants],” he said.

Mr. Freeman and Scott Silverstein of Equity Office are marketing the space along with a Newmark (NMRK) Grubb Knight Frank team.

Another point about the older building that will distinguish it from its younger (but taller) brothers near the park is its asking rent of $69 per square foot.

“It is nice to be in the same location and asking 50 percent of what they are asking across the street,” Mr. Freeman said.