As Far West Side rises, Times Square suffers

Rents slide as big tenants leave
November 15, 2017 08:00AM

4 Times Square and One Bryant Park at night (Credit: Getty Images)

New York’s tourism boom of the past decade has been great for the real estate industry, but a small subgroup has mixed feelings about it: Times Square office landlords. With more visitors and panhandlers crowding the bow tie, it’s becoming harder to convince big office tenants to stay in the neighborhood.

“It’s not ideal to wind through costumed characters on your way to work,” CoStar analyst Lauren Baker told Bloomberg. “There’s so much noise and commotion.” The problem is becoming more acute amid competition from new office towers on the Far West Side and FiDi.

Earlier this month advisory firm EY announced that it is leaving its 1-million-square-foot space at 5 Times Square to move to Brookfield’s Manhattan West development.

Times Square office rents after concessions fell by one percent per year over the past two years, according to CoStar. Optimists point to its central location and easy access to multiple subway lines.

“We’re not getting the rents we anticipated five years ago, but we’re satisfied with the rents we’re getting,” said Douglas Durst, whose company Durst Organization owns 4 Times Square. But he also added that the neighborhood “has a very big future as an office district.” [Bloomberg] — Konrad Putzier