19 percent of southern Plaza district Class A space up for grabs

By Adam Pincus | May 04, 2009 01:12PM

Nearly a fifth of the 15 million square feet in Class A buildings in the southern portion of The Plaza submarket is available for lease, according to commercial tenant advisory firm Studley.

Nearly 3 million square feet, or 19.3 percent of the total Class A
available space in Manhattan, was on the market in the neighborhood between
Fifth and Second avenues and 50th and 54th streets, according to the
firm’s first-quarter leasing report. The northern half of The Plaza District is defined as Fifth to Second avenues between 54th and 60th streets.

Overall in Manhattan, the firm predicted the availability rate for all types of office space could hit the same level.

“By now, severity has become a foregone conclusion — rents are likely to fall by 20 percent to 40 percent and the availability rate could eventually approach 20 percent,” the report says.

The report calls the current downturn a “Class A recession,” noting that 198 blocks of space larger than 20,000 square feet, totaling 11.5 million square feet, were made available for sublet in Midtown since October.

The highest availability rate was in Downtown Class A space, which was at 19.8 percent in the first quarter. The tightest significant submarket was Class A buildings Downtown south of Vesey and Fulton streets, with a rate of 7.1 percent.

The highest asking rents in Manhattan were $101.14 per square foot for Class A Midtown South buildings, while the lowest was $42.09 per square foot in all classes of the southern portion of the Downtown market, which is south of Vesey and Fulton streets, the report said.