Leases  ·  Office

WeWork, Fidelis Sublease 64K SF From MetLife at LIC’s Brewster Building


Insurance giant MetLife continues to sublease out its significant office footprint at the Brewster Building in Long Island City, with health insurance provider Fidelis Care taking more than 21,000 square feet right below where coworking firm WeWork is slated to open a new 43,000-square-foot location, Commercial Observer has learned.

Fidelis, also known as the New York State Catholic Health Plan, agreed last month to take the entire 21,463-square-foot 11th floor at the 13-story, 700,000-square-foot office building at 27-01 Queens Plaza North, sources told CO. WeWork also signed a 42,926-square-foot sublease last month for the entire 12th and 13th floors at the property between 27th and 28th Streets in the western Queens neighborhood. The Queens Chronicle first reported the news of WeWork’s new LIC location.

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Asking rent and length of lease in the deals were not provided, though MetLife’s direct lease at the Brause Realty-owned, former automobile assembly plant-turned-office building is due to expire in 2023.

MetLife signed a 20-plus-year lease for the entire property in 2001 as part of a much-hyped, heavily-incentivized move of its Manhattan operations across the East River to Long Island City. But that move that was largely abandoned five years later, when the insurer decided to relocate most its employees back to 1095 Avenue of the Americas, also known as 3 Bryant Park. (MetLife has since consolidated its New York City operations at 200 Park Avenue, the iconic former Pan Am Building that now bears the MetLife name on its facade.)

The insurance company has subsequently looked to sublease its considerable space at the Brewster Building to subtenants like airline JetBlue, which keeps its corporate headquarters at the LIC property, advertising and public relations firm Publicis Groupe, the Long Island City Partnership and Schweiger Dermatology Group—which recently agreed to take the entire 10th floor at 27-01 Queens Plaza North, as CO first reported last month.

Representatives for WeWork declined to comment on the transaction, while those for Brause Realty did not return requests for comment. Representatives for Cushman & Wakefield, which handles subleasing at the Brewster Building on behalf of MetLife, and Fidelis did not provide comment on the matter.

WeWork is slated to open its new location at the Brewster Building in February, the Queens Chronicle reported earlier this month. The space is expected to hold more than 600 people and will be the coworking giant’s second location in Queens, following its 60,000-square-foot shared office space in 3537 36th Street in Astoria.

Fidelis, meanwhile, acquired 95-25 Queens Boulevard—the 11-story Rego Park, Queens office building that houses its headquarters—from landlord LeFrak for just under $140 million in March, The Real Deal reported earlier this year.