Old office towers get $2B in facelifts as tenants flock to younger buildings

Properties are competing with older towers that don't have upgrades

Nov.November 10, 2016 08:30 AM

Several Manhattan office towers are getting facelifts — to the tune of $2 billion.

At least 11 towers are getting upgrades as tenants increasingly flock to flashy new office buildings, like those at Hudson Yards and the World Trade Center, the New York Post reported.

The competition is fierce: since 2010, 74 percent of completed or planned tenant relocations (in spaces of more than 186,000 square feet) were to new towers, according to CBRE TRData LogoTINY.

Brookfield Properties, for example, pumped $200 million Into 450 West 33rd Street, giving it a glassy facade and renaming it 5 Manhattan West. Other renovations include Vornado Realty Trust’s 90 Park Avenue, which underwent a $70 million overhaul, and Jack Resnick & Sons’ 315 Hudson Street, which is currently undergoing a $65 million renovation.

“In the past, it was not uncommon to upgrade a lobby. But this is a relatively new phenomenon where buildings that are not that old are being completely rebuilt,” developer Douglas Durst told the Post.

Even with the redesigns, these postwar towers can’t really compete with the column-free, high-ceiling spaces opening at new office buildings. According to the Post, though, that’s not really the point. The upgrades are intended to give the buildings an edge over other old towers.

“If you’re in a 1960 building that hasn’t had a comprehensive upgrade and you need to move, you’re not going to a different 1960 building that hasn’t had one either,” said Mary Ann Tighe, head of CBRE’s tristate office. [NYP]Kathryn Brenzel

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