Vornado may now be targeting tech tenants at Farley Post Office redevelopment

Steve Roth said 900K sf landmarked building will be "best creative space in Manhattan"

TRD New York /
Feb.February 12, 2019 03:11 PM

Steve Roth and the Farley Post Office building at 421 8th Avenue (Credit: iStock and Getty Images)

Despite previous reports that it was targeting tenants from the high-growth life sciences industry, Vornado Realty Trust now appears to be broadening its reach at the Farley Post Office redevelopment.

The project, a key part of the redevelopment of the Penn Station complex, will be “the best creative space in Manhattan,” Vornado CEO Steve Roth said on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call Tuesday morning. “It is a horizontal campus in an iconic landmarked building, much like the horizontal campuses favored by our FAANG tenants in the west,” he added, using an acronym for Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google.

One of Vornado’s largest tenants is Facebook, which leases at least 750,000 square feet from the landlord, mostly in Midtown South.

One caller asked if this meant that the company was turning away from life sciences to more “traditional” tech tenants. “Maybe,” Roth responded. “We’re an equal opportunity landlord. When an important tenant at proper pricing comes in, we’re very happy to welcome everybody with open arms.”

The company has seen some interest from science tenants, and more interest from “creative class” tenants, Roth said, and even interest from some “fairly significant” financial firms.

“Once again, this is not a special-purpose building. It’s a building designed to service the entire market,” he concluded.

Vornado, which previously owned a 50 percent stake in the office-and-retail project in partnership with the Related Companies, increased its share to 95 percent after buying much of Related’s ownership in October.

The partners told the Wall Street Journal last April that they were targeting biotechnology, pharmaceutical and other life-sciences businesses as tenants for the 900,000-square-foot Roman classic building. They even developed a brochure titled “Moynihan Research Center at Farley,” outlining design options for office and laboratory space.

During the call, Vornado also announced that it would be able to fund its developments around Penn Station almost entirely from the proceeds of sales at the 220 Central Park South condominium tower, taking on “no or very little” new debt.

“Collectively, the projects we are undertaking at Farley, Penn One and Penn Two are the catalyst to a recreation of the Penn District neighborhood at the epicenter of the new New York,” Vornado New York division president David Greenbaum said.

The New York-based REIT also the announced the signing of a new tenant at 330 West 34th Street, across the street from Farley’s main entrance. Ballast Point Breweries, a San Diego-based brewery and restaurant chain, will have an indoor restaurant and outdoor garden on the through-block lot, its first New York City location. Ballast Point did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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