Youngwoo aims for $2,000 per foot at 70 Pine

By Adam Pincus | October 07, 2009 10:52AM

70 Pine Street, Young Woo, head of Youngwoo & Associates

developer of 70 Pine Street in the Financial District predicts it will
be able to sell residential condominium units in the tower of the
American International Group building for $2,000 per square foot
following a rehabilitation of the 63-story structure.

Developer Youngwoo & Associates bought the Art Deco office tower
and neighboring 72 Wall Street for $150 million, or about $105 per
square foot in August, with financial partner South Korea’s Kumho
Investment Bank.

Young Woo, principal of Youngwoo & Associates, said the key to
getting $2,000 per square foot was to market the building as a premium
product, comparing it to a Louis Vuitton bag or an iPod.

“If we can create that perfect trend lifestyle for this building, for
our targeted audience, we are not afraid to achieve $2,000 a square
foot,” Woo said. He added that units in his West Village condo, the Sky Garage at 200 11th Avenue at 24th Street, a building that includes an elevator for cars, sold for more than $4,000 per square foot.

Woo and firm principal Gregory Carney spoke last night at the New York
University Schack Institute of Real Estate Silverstein Workshop in
Midtown, co-moderated by the institute’s divisional dean James Stuckey
and Robert Shapiro, president of City Center Real Estate.

The company has been reluctant to release details about the mixed-use
redevelopment project, saying the plans remain under development.

As part of a sale-leaseback deal, AIG will vacate the smaller building,
72 Wall Street, at Pearl Street, this year, and neighboring 70 Pine
Street, by Dec. 31, 2010, Carney said.

The firm is considering residential for the tower at 70 Pine Street,
with about 400,000 to 500,000 square feet above the 19th floor, Woo
said, and commercial uses on the lower floors and in the smaller
building. Woo estimated capital costs of about $50 per square foot and
$70 per square foot in tenant improvement costs for the commercial
portion of 70 Pine Street as well as the entire 72 Wall Street, but did
not provide estimated costs for the residential construction.

“I think whatever we do on the office side — that will break even. The whole idea is what to do with the tower,” Woo said.

Carney added: “We think we can get the highest price Downtown.”

To build a higher profile for the AIG building, the developer is
considering options such as lasers or lights on the tower. Also,
several firms have offered to pay for naming rights, Woo said.