The Real Deal New York

Vornado mulls resi conversion of 20 Broad Street

NYSE's imminent departure prompts thoughts of luxury apartments

August 10, 2015 08:04AM

From left: 20 Broad Street in the Financial District and Vornado chairman Steven Roth

From left: 20 Broad Street in the Financial District and Vornado chairman Steven Roth

Residential property is so hot that even the titans of commercial property are getting in on the action.

Steven Roth’s Vornado Realty Trust is weighing the possibility of converting the 27-story tower at 20 Broad Street in the Financial District into luxury residential, though a complicated ownership structure could sully plans.

Vornado hatched the plan in response to a decision by the New York Stock Exchange, by far the building’s largest tenant, to decamp next year. The NYSE, whose main trading facility is located around the corner at 11 Wall Street, currently leases almost 400,000 square feet of the 473,00-square-foot building, Crain’s reported.

The building has a uncommon tiered structure, with smaller floors near the top, which is likely to complicate a conversion. The building is also ground-leased by Vornado from NYSE, which means condo buyers wouldn’t own their apartments in perpetuity.

But sources told Crain’s that Vornado could buy the building outright, or demolish and replace the existing structure.

Alchemy properties pursued a somewhat similar office-to-residential conversion with the upper floors of the Woolworth Building. And China Oceanwide Holdings, which purchased 80 South Street last week, currently home to a nine-story commercial building, is planning to develop a large residential tower on the plot.

Vornado is primarily known for its dozens of commercial property holdings in the city, but has recently made a major foray into residential with 220 Central Park South on 57th Street, the so-called Billionaires’ Row. [Crain’s]Ariel Stulberg