The Real Deal New York

Wall Street spin doctor Sard Verbinnen relocating on Third Avenue

PR firm inks 65K sf lease at Vornado’s 909 Third
By Rich Bockmann | October 16, 2018 03:05PM

Vornado Realty Trust’s Glen Weiss and 909 Third Avenue (Credit: Vornado)

One of Wall Street’s top crisis public relations shops is expanding to 65,000 square feet as it relocates its offices on Third Avenue.

Financial communications firm Sard Verbinnen & Co. signed a lease covering the full 31st and 32nd floors at Vornado Realty Trust’s 909 Third Avenue, sources told The Real Deal.

The 15-year lease comes with a starting rent in the low $70s per square foot, according to CompStak.

Representatives for Sard Verbinnen and Vornado could not be immediately reached for comment.

Lee & Associates’ Alan Friedman, who represented Sard Verbinnen, said the decision to relocate to 909 Third Avenue “really came down to operational efficiencies.”

“We could fit on two floors and meet our current and future needs,” he said.

A Vornado team of Glen Weiss, Edward Riguardi and Ryan Levy represented the landlord in-house.

New York-based Sard Verbinnen has been in expansion mode since its founders sold a 40 percent stake in the company two years ago to San Francisco-based private equity firm Golden Gate Capital for $60 million. The company’s opened offices in Hong Kong and Houston and launched several new practices.

The public relations shop will be relocating about a dozen blocks to Vornado’s 1.3 million-square-foot building at East 54th and East 55th streets from ATCO Properties’ 630 Third Avenue, where it now occupies about 50,000 square feet.

Elsewhere on Third Avenue, WeWork this summer signed a lease for 70,000 square feet a block south of Vornado’s building at Jack Resnick & Sons’ 880 Third Avenue. And right across the street at 875 Third Avenue, Eyal Ofer’s Global Holdings recently signed a handful of sizable deals with tenants like the law firm Epstein Becker Green and DWS Group, the former asset-management arm of Deutsche Bank.

Vornado controls 909 Third Avenue through a long-term lease it signed on the property in 1999 for $123 million that runs through 2041. The real estate investment trust reportedly $1.6 million per year in rent to the fee owner, Mark Karasick’s 601w Companies.

As of June this year, the building was 98 percent occupied with net operating income of nearly $14 million on $27.6 million worth of revenues, according to Trepp.

The largest tenant in the building is the United States Postal Service, which occupies nearly 500,000 square feet, or about 37 percent of the office space.