The Real Deal New York

Bowery snags first tech office space

Caspi Development in contract to buy 161 Bowery for nearly $13M
April 15, 2014 12:25PM

UPDATED, 3:18p.m., May 22: Westchester-based developer Caspi Development, in partnership with Ultimate Realty, is in contract to purchase a seven-story office building at 161 Bowery. The firm intends to turn the property into the neighborhood’s first office space for modern technology tenants.

Caspi will pay $12.75 million for the 15,984-square-foot building between Broome and Delancey streets. Joshua Caspi, a principal with the firm, told Real Estate Weekly that the property is slated to be renovated into full-floor office lofts and ground-floor retail.

“Our goal is to lure high-end tech tenants,” Caspi told REW. “We are planning to come off the heels of 245 West 17th Street or 40 Thompson Street and create a boutique version of these buildings.”

Jeffrey Znaty of Kassin Sabbagh Realty represented Caspi in the deal, while Lip Fei Jiang represented the seller.

Though the Bowery, long known more for punk and grunge than gleaming new office spar, has reemerged as a destination for restaurants, galleries and hotels in recent years, industry insiders are skeptical about the neighborhood following Midtown South as a tech office hotspot.

The Bowery’s current zoning, which permits converting office buildings into residential space, offers far higher returns, Michael DeCheser, vice president of sales at Massey Knakal, told REW. And while renovating to modern office space may be cheeper, the move in most cases may appear far less lucrative.

“There is more demand for residential,” DeCheser told the news site. “Therefore, it is easier and more lucrative to build residential. And residential is easier to finance.” [REW]Julie Strickland