Spec office development making a comeback?

February 28, 2011 12:15PM

Developer Edward Minskoff , president of Edward J. Minskoff Equities, is hoping to begin construction at 51 Astor Place in July, on what would be the city’s first large new speculative office building since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, according to the Wall Street Journal. Minskoff says he will begin construction without any pre-leasing on a Maki and Associates-designed, 430,000-square-foot tower on the site, just outside the East Village, that he acquired in late 2007. Although most of the city’s modern office space is in Midtown and the Financial District, Minskoff predicted that the building would attract high-tech companies, investment banks and advertising firms. “It’s an area that a lot of young people want to work in,” he said. He plans to charge about $65 a square foot per year. Speculative office development was stalled in recent years as rents and demand dropped and financing became difficult to obtain. But in the past year, occupancy rates and rents have improved somewhat as the city’s economy has expanded. [WSJ]