The Barrow Group Moving to Bigger Digs at 520 Eighth

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Performing arts organization The Barrow Group (TBG) — which once counted Academy Award winner Anne Hathaway among its members — is expanding and moving within the Penn Plaza area.

TBG signed a 15-year lease — with two, five-year options —for 13,155 square feet on the ninth floor of 520 Eighth Avenue near West 37th Street, for a venue and performing arts program that will allow TBG to expand from its current 10,000-square-foot space a few blocks away at 312 West 31st Street. Asking rent was in the mid-$40s per square foot.

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The New York Times first reported news of TBG’s move.

The new facility was previously occupied by improv comedy troupe The Upright Citizens Brigade for its training program, which shuttered along with its New York City theater in 2020. 

TBG will be able to expand its artist development and training programs with additional studios, office space and a high-quality 60-seat performance venue at 520 Eighth.

“One of The Barrow Group’s central purposes is to empower artists through simple, clear, spontaneous storytelling, whether it be in an off-Broadway production, a reading or a virtual workshop,” said Robert Yu Serrell, executive director of The Barrow Group. “This purpose and our commitment to accessibility, inclusion and excellence has guided us through the pandemic and is the backbone of our new performing arts center.”

“With our new home, our vision is to help revitalize New York City’s cultural landscape by enriching the lives of thousands of diverse artists through our in-person and online arts programs,” he added. 

The Barrow Group was jointly represented in the transaction by Stephen Powers and Lindsay Ornstein of OPEN Impact Real Estate, and Jake Cinti of Transwestern Real Estate Services.

“The performing arts are a large part of what makes New York City great, and they have been struck especially hard by the effects of the pandemic,” said Powers. “We are proud to help TBG expand after such a difficult year by securing a sustainable new home within 520 Eighth Avenue. The location will support expanded training, administrative staff, a flexible performance space, and gathering space for this creative community steps from the Broadway theater district.”

The owners of 520 Eighth, GFP Real Estate, handled the deal in-house with Matthew Mandell as negotiator.

Arts and non-profit organizations already located at 520 Eighth include The Alliance of Resident Theaters, The Shubert Organization, Theatre Development Fund, American Symphony Orchestra League, The Dramatist Guild Fund and the Theatre Communications Group

“As a fervent supporter of New York’s arts and entertainment community, it is important to ensure organizations like TBG have a first-class location to execute their mission,” said Jeff Gural, chairman of GFP Real Estate.

TBG anticipates moving to its new location in the spring. 

The Penn Plaza submarket of Manhattan encompasses 68.5 million square feet of office space and had an 8.9 percent vacancy rate as of fourth-quarter 2021, with average office asking rents pegged at $66.91 per square foot, according to Transwestern.