Financial Services Firm Hightower Advisors Nabs 3 Deals for 48K SF in Manhattan

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Chicago-based financial services firm Hightower Advisors is ditching one office for three.

The company inked three deals totaling 47,381 square feet spread out across three different buildings to relocate from similarly sized digs at 505 Fifth Avenue, Commercial Observer has learned. The deals include 30,156 square feet at 300 Madison Avenue, 11,127 square feet at the Chrysler Building and 6,098 square feet at 512 West 22nd Street.

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For its biggest deal, the company took a 12-year sublease at 300 Madison from auditing firm PwC. Coupled with the two other leases, the real estate allows Hightower to have a New York City presence in three locations in key areas near public transportation with new amenities, said Avison Young’s Mitti Liebersohn, who represented Hightower in the deals.

Asking rent for the sublease in Brookfield Properties’ 300 Madison was $90 per square foot, Liebersohn said.

“They wanted a stellar Grand Central location and the building was spectacular,” Liebersohn told CO. “It was a rare occasion that space was available in the building. Space hadn’t become available in a long time.”

Hightower will relocate from its three floors of offices at 505 Fifth for the new spaces around the middle of next year, Liebersohn said. The deal for the largest new office on Madison Avenue, which closed this month, gives Hightower the entire 29th floor at the property between East 41st and East 42nd streets.

Hightower’s deal for RFR Realty’s Chrysler Building, at 405 Lexington Avenue, puts the financial firm on the entire 42nd floor of the tower for just over 11 years. Hightower’s subsidiary Nucleus Advisors — a private wealth management company — snagged 10 years for part of the seventh floor of Vornado Realty Trust’s 512 West 22nd Street, said Liebersohn. 

Asking rent for the Chrysler Building lease was in the $90s per square foot, said Liebersohn, who would not disclose the asking rents for Vornado’s property.

“They love the location,” Liebersohn said of the Chrysler Building. “They love the fact that they could be in an iconic building on a full floor with spectacular views.”

RFR bought the landmarked Chrysler Building from Abu Dhabi Investment Council and Signa Holding GmbH for a shocking $150 million in 2019, nearly $650 million less than the previous owners picked it up for in 2008. That was largely due to the building’s onerous ground lease with Cooper Union.

Rosen originally floated the idea of turning the Chrysler Building into a hotel, but later told Bloomberg he dropped those plans. He’s planning on putting a new observation deck on the 61st floor, bringing back lunch spot the Cloud Club and RFR signed a 5,474-square-foot lease with Banque de France last year.

In addition to Liebersohn, Avison Young’s Keith Caggiano, Roshan Shah, Jeff Burger, JP Krahmer and CBIZ Gibraltar Real Estate ServicesSteven Joseph represented Hightower in all three deals. 

CBRE’s Peter Turchin and Evan Haskell represented sublandlord PwC in the 300 Madison deal. RFR’s AJ Camhi, Paul Milunec and Rob Weller handled the Chrysler Building lease in-house. Jared Silverman and Josh Glick worked on the 510 West 22nd transaction in-house for Vornado. 

CBRE, Vornado and RFR did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

Celia Young can be reached at cyoung@commercialobserver.com.