Kevin Cathcart, the executive director of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, takes no credit for timing the market. But he may end up benefiting from it if he locks in a new lease soon.
Average asking rents Downtown peaked in September 2008 at $50.35 per square foot, and have now fallen 24 percent to $38.20 per foot, CBRE figures show. And unlike the other two Manhattan districts, asking rents have continued to drift lower — falling in September 10 cents a foot from the prior month.
Cathcart’s group occupies about 21,000 square feet at 120 Wall Street overlooking the East River, information from CoStar shows. He noted some nonprofits in the building had to sign new leases in early 2008 before the market turned downward. “I am happy I did not sign a lease in the beginning of 2008. But I can’t claim any prescience or crystal ball,” he said.
With its lease expiring in about a year, Cathcart said Lambda is looking for about the same amount of space.
He would not comment on whether the group was going to renew or move, but said it had been on tours of other spaces beginning in the summer with its representative agency, Cassidy Turley.
His group moved to the building in the mid-1990s, when nonprofit tenants were receiving tax incentives to keep them in New York City. Lambda grew to occupy two floors, and Cathcart wants to get it back onto one.
His goal will not be as difficult to obtain Downtown, which since June has had the highest availability rate of the three Manhattan markets. It now stands at 14.3 percent, compared with Midtown South at 13.1 percent and Midtown at 13 percent.
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