Brokers were bullish on the future of commercial leasing in Lower Manhattan, the slowest market in the city, at the 2012 Celebration of New York Real Estate Development at 7 World Trade Center.
Despite the flurry of commercial space coming on market in the next few years, Mitchell Konsker, who was the recipient of angel sponsor Jones Lang LaSalle’s “most innovative deal of the year award” at the same ceremony, said that spillover from the red-hot Midtown South submarket is decreasing downtown vacancy.
Konsker and Alexander Chudnoff, of Jones Lang LaSalle, took the award for the 594,000-square-foot deal for Hong Kong-based trading company Li & Fung at the Empire State Building.
Konsker said schools were among the main drivers of rent growth in Lower Manhattan, as large institutions look to move their administrative offices out of the pricy Midtown and Midtown South regions. “There are quite a few [such] tenants who will be making commitments in the next six months,” Konsker said. “As the market continues to firm up, we will see large blocks absorbed,” he assured the crowd.
Brokers said that the only missing component downtown is retail and restaurants on par with the rest of Manhattan. “Downtown has become a 24-hour zone,” Konsker said, due to the increased residential presence.
Janno Lieber, of Silverstein Properties, mentioned that Lower Manhattan also has the highest median income per household.
The charity event, which benefited American Friends of Rabin Medical Center, a U.S. group that fundraises on behalf of a hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel, was hosted by Jones Lang LaSalle President Peter Riguardi, the brokerage’s vice chairman Yoron Cohen, and Silverstein Properties, landlord at 7 World Trade. Attendees were treated to close-up views of 1 World Trade, the rising Fulton Transit Center and the reflecting pools at the 9/11 Memorial. Guests also had the opportunity to take a guided tour of the memorial before the event, but many said the heat of last week kept them from partaking.
Riguardi did not make the event, which organizers apologized for. But brokers from his company as well as those from other sponsors, such as Ariel Property Advisors, Malkin Properties, TerraCRG and Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, dined, drank and enjoyed the view.