Millions of SF of office space in evacuation zone

In Lower Manhattan, Brookfield closes WFC and 1 New York Plaza

Oct.October 29, 2012 05:30 PM

Mayor Bloomberg has not minced words when it comes to evacuating residential buildings in the city neighborhoods most vulnerable to flooding. But in addition to the hundreds of thousands of New York residents ordered to leave their homes, tens of millions of square feet of commercial real estate in Manhattan is also within the evacuation zone. And that has some major landlords closing up their buildings.

The largest landlord in Lower Manhattan, Brookfield Office Properties, has sandbagged openings at the World Financial Center and at One New York Plaza. Brookfield also removed outdoor furniture and brought elevator cars to upper levels, a company spokesperson said.

One tenant at the office building 40 Rector Street, in the Downtown evacuation zone, said he was told yesterday that the building would be closed today. “It’s a mandatory evacuation,” the tenant, Eli Tabak, a principal with real estate investment company Bluestone Group, said.

He said he took the basic precautions as a tenant, like backing up the company network systems.

And it was not just office workers and residents who were impacted. Many tourists were moved out of their Lower Manhattan hotel rooms to other more central locations.

An employee at the 169-room World Center Hotel said all guests were moved last night out of the hotel, located at 144 Washington Street between Albany and Cedar streets, to other Manhattan hotels owned by the same company.

But not all landlords were closing up shop as the storm approached.

“All of our buildings are open. It’s up to our tenants if they want to open their offices,” a spokesperson for Durst Organization, which owns buildings such as 1 Bryant Park, which is well outside the evacuation zone, said.

And SL Green Realty, which owns property throughout Manhattan, said its buildings were open and staffed, but very few tenants were in them. The company does own two adjacent buildings in the evacuation zone. An SL Green spokesperson said that those buildings were effectively closed today by their major tenant, Citibank.

SL Green’s 388 and 390 Greenwich Street in Lower Manhattan, occupied by Citibank, are separated from the Hudson River only by a park and West Street. The bank had only a skeletal staff on hand today.

Joseph Thanhauser, chairman of Midtown brokerage Byrnam Wood, said he did not believe the hurricane would lead office tenants to shun the city’s coastal properties — despite this being the second evacuation ordered in just over a year. “People have very short memories,” Thanhauser said. “I don’t think it will have much impact unless it is a truly calamitous [event],” he said.

Related Articles

The Daily News Building at 220 East 42nd Street and SL Green CEO Marc Holliday (Credit: Getty Images)

SL Green puts Daily News building up for sale

SL Green snags private-equity firm at One Vanderbilt

SL Green snags private-equity firm at
One Vanderbilt

SL Green’s locks in big bank lease at Hudson Yards redevelopment site

SL Green’s locks in big bank lease at
Hudson Yards redevelopment site

From left: Attorney Robert Abrams, Robert Durst and Durst spokesperson Jordan Barowitz (Credit: Abrams via Abrams Fensterman; Durst by Robyn Beck-Pool/Getty Images; Barowits via Durst Organization)

Durst Org accused of defamation by lawyer who sued Robert Durst

Robert Durst appears in court for during opening statements in his murder trial on March 4, 2020 in Los Angeles (Photo by Etienne Laurent -Pool/Getty Images)

Robert Durst murder trial could be suspended as LA courts shutter over coronavirus

From left: 1155 Sixth Avenue; One World Trade, Douglas Durst and 733 Third Avenue (Credit: Tdorante10 via Wikipedia Commons, Durst Organization, Getty Images)

Netflix inks short-term lease at Durst’s 1155 Sixth Ave

1185 Sixth Avenue (Credit: Google Maps)

3 workers test positive for coronavirus at 3 SL Green office towers

Several major office landlords are enhancing cleanup efforts as COVID-19 is on the rise (Credit: iStock)

Landlords aim to keep offices squeaky clean as coronavirus spreads