Vornado nabs Empire Health as tenant for Penn 1 office tower

As Vornado Realty Trust waits on chairman Steve Roth’s dream for a 10-million-square-foot business advanced within the Penn Station space, the REIT is doing simply effective with the proposed venture’s Phase I — three thriving areas it already owns.

Vornado simply scored a win with a brand new, 70,000-square-foot lease at Penn 1, the two.5 million square-foot office tower that’s about midway by means of a serious redesign and repositioning program. 

Although the notoriously tight-lipped REIT wouldn’t touch upon or affirm the deal, we’ve realized from neighborhood sources that Empire Health Choice is relocating from 14 Wall downtown to Penn 1. The tower is present process a transformative capital enhancements program budgeted at  $450 million, in accordance with Vornado’s first quarter 10-Q SEC submitting.

The most distinguished change is an formidable “WorkLife” facilities bundle on the primary three flooring, which Vornado cleared of office tenants. The 200,000 sq. ft of tenant goodies embrace a full-service restaurant referred to as The Landing, a “social stair” resulting in tenant lounges with bleacher-style seats, a 35,000 square-foot health heart referred to as WorkLife Wellbeing, and a 20,000 square-foot conferencing  facility.

Changes additionally embrace a brand new 34th Street foyer, absolutely repainted façade, a multi-color lit crown and new pedestrian plazas on West 33d and 34th streets.

Our sources mentioned the brand new inside options had been a serious draw for Empire Health Choice, a division of well being insurer Anthem, which additionally operates Empire BlueCross and Empire BlueProtect. “Those, plus easy  access to subways, Amtrak, the LIRR and PATH, made Empire’s mind up,” our supply mentioned.

Empire is taking the 35th and 36th flooring of the 55-story tower. It’s anticipated to maneuver in early in  2022. The asking hire was within the mid-$90s per sq. foot. Penn 1 is greater than 90 p.c leased.

Vornado plans an much more formidable repositioning of Penn 2 subsequent door, which can embrace a whole new curtain wall façade.

The “social stair” provides bleacher-style seats for staff who want a respite.

The two Penn towers plus Vornado’s portion of the Farley Building, the place Facebook signed a 750,000 square-foot lease final summer season, characterize the primary section of Vornado’s grand imaginative and prescient for all the Penn district. It hopes to ultimately construct 5 extra towers, referred to as Phase II, as a part of a district redevelopment plan backed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. His proposed Empire Station Complex would yield some 20 million sq. ft of recent places of work in ten new towers.

The most distinguished Vornado-owned Phase II web site is the Hotel Pennsylvania, which Roth mentioned he plans to “permanently close and raze” for a brand new office mega-tower.

However, Cuomo’s plan faces sturdy opposition by neighborhood teams and by some state legislators. Among different points, they object to eminent-domain condemnation of a number of present buildings that stand in the way in which of recent development.

But Vornado’s Phase I, no less than, is clearly heading in the right direction.

A small lease is a serious milestone for Rockefeller Group’s 1271 Sixth Ave. Law agency Latham & Watkins’ addition of round 20,000 sq. ft brings the two.1 million square-foot tower, the previous Time + Life Building, to one hundred pc leased.

Rock Group spend $600 million to redevelop the tower after Time Inc. moved out a number of years in the past, leaving 48 tales empty. The top-to-bottom re-conception included a brand new curtain wall, restoration of the landmarked foyer, new methods, and an expanded exterior plaza with new fountains and public seating.

The redesign drew new tenants together with the biggest, Latham & Watkins with 435,000 sq. ft, and AIG, Major League Baseball, Mizuho Americas, Bessemer Trust and Blank Rome.

The tower has had a storied historical past. Gov. Nelson Rockefeller and Time Inc. founder Henry Luce broke floor in 1957, when Marilyn Monroe opened its development shed.

Both President John F. Kennedy and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro stopped in for visits. Most lately, it was residence to fictional advert company Sterling Cooper Draper Price in AMC’s “Mad Men” sequence.

As downtown begins buzzing again to life, many FiDi eyes are on the vacant former Century 21 store space at 25 Church St.

Landlord Blue Millennium, headed by the Gindy household, which additionally owned the shuttered low cost clothes emporium, is advertising the property by means of a Cushman & Wakefield workforce led by powerhouse dealer and  Real Estate Board of New York retail committee co-chairman Steven Soutendijk.

The three-level, 60,000-square-foot venue with 200 ft of sidewalk frontage on Church Street is being supplied at about $6 million a 12 months. According to Soutendijk,“It can be a true retail flagship for when tourists come back” – a course of that to our eyes has already begun.  He added that curiosity has been excessive particularly prior to now month.  

The five-story constructing – which isn’t a part of the individually owned 22 Cortlandt St. tower it adjoins – might be leased to a single tenant, Soutendijik mentioned. He added, “We are not necessarily looking to fill it with another discounter.”

But it may be “carved up in many ways. The owners are flexible on concessions and ready to make a market deal,” he mentioned.

The C&W Web web site reveals a dramatic new glass façade. Soutendijk mentioned it’s solely “for illustrative purposes” to recommend what might be executed with the property.

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