Turning a Staid Government Building Into Trendy Downtown Office

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How do you transform a government office building into a hip destination for tech and finance tenants? AmTrust Realty is trying to figure out the answer with its renovation of 250 Broadway, a 1960s office tower across from City Hall in Lower Manhattan.

AmTrust has to fill 200,000 square feet of office space on the second through eighth floors — vacated by a city agency — and is planning to create a building within a building to do it.

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The company plans to renovate the building’s main lobby on Broadway and a secondary one on Park Place, and rebrand the property “One Park Place.” The side street lobby will expand — via reclaimed retail space on the ground floor — and include a new escalator to the second floor. Work on the lobby will add a massive LED display wall behind the reception desk, which can be programmed to display any image or piece of art.

Roughly 18,000 square feet on the second floor will become a new amenity space, dubbed “The Overlook,” with a coffee shop that offers grab-and-go food options, lounges and conference rooms. Another 14,000 square feet of basement space will become a fitness center with locker rooms, showers and two small indoor courts for basketball, squash or pickleball.

The top two floors of the 31-story building will become “executive suites,” with a 3,000-square-foot landscaped, wraparound outdoor terrace. The building has a few setbacks, which are currently unused or filled with mechanical equipment but could be transformed into terraces for tenants in the future.

The designers want the new amenity spaces to have a hospitality feel, with light wood walls and marble floors. They hope the renovation will attract new kinds of tenants and bring employees back to the office.

“State-of-the-art technology will be woven with rich natural finishes,” said Benita Welch, an architect at Gerner, Kronick + Valcarcel (GKV Architects) who’s overseeing the design of the renovation. “In a post-pandemic world, we’re all trying to find spaces for gathering and healing. We get together for the energy that can happen in collaborative work areas.”

Construction began in January and is expected to finish in 18 to 24 months.

Jonathan Bennett, the president of AmTrust, explained that some of the amenities — like the downstairs courts — could be “could be left open a little bit for what the tenant would like to see there.” Pickleball, he noted, is a “a great corporate activity people can do together.”

He added that 250 Broadway is just one of several buildings that AmTrust is renovating and improving in the hopes of bringing tenants back to the office.

“We are doing this across the portfolio,” Bennett said. “In all of our buildings, we are renovating tenant lounges, adding food and beverage options that will be unique, distinct and interesting, and physical fitness. We’re trying to curate a meaningful experience when they’re coming to the office.”