The Real Deal New York

Itau Unibanco leaving top-floor office at GM Building: report

Latin America’s largest bank looking for cheaper Manhattan HQ
May 09, 2016 12:00PM

General Motors Building in Midtown (inset: CEO of Roberto Setubal

General Motors Building in Midtown (inset: CEO of Itau Unibanco Roberto Setubal

Brazilian banking giant Itau Unibanco is set to leave its office at the General Motors Building in Midtown and find a new Manhattan location for its New York City headquarters.

The largest bank in Latin America will vacate its pricey space — reportedly worth nearly $200 per square foot, on the top floor of Boston Properties’ 50-story skyscraper at 767 Fifth Avenue — as part of a global initiative to cut business costs.

According to CoStar, Sao Paulo-based Itau leases about 30,000 square feet at the GM BuildingTRData LogoTINY, which is located on the southeastern corner of Central Park and features some of the highest rents in Midtown. Boston Properties owns the 2 million-square-foot tower in partnership with Beijing-based Soho China and the Safra family.

Itau is currently searching for a new, cheaper location to house its New York office, with currently economic and political uncertainty in Brazil having affected the bank’s business, according to Bloomberg. The company reported a 10 percent drop in first-quarter profits last week.

There were three office leases signed at the GM Building in 2015 at rents over $200 per square foot. Office rents in the submarket surrounding the GM Building, known as the Plaza District, ranked as the highest in Midtown in the first quarter — just under $91 per square foot in the first quarter, according to JLL.

The property’s street-level retail space, located in the Upper Fifth Avenue retail corridor, also commands a pretty penny — with Nike in talks to take toy store FAO Schwarz’s former location at the building, right next to the Apple store and its iconic cube entrance, as The Real Deal reported last month. [Bloomberg] – Rey Mashayekhi