CBRE picks up Soho leasing assignment

Just weeks after its leasing assignment was ended at the 2.8-million-square-foot Empire State Building, full service commercial real estate firm CB Richard Ellis told The Real Deal it has clawed back some of that space by inking a deal to represent 101 Sixth Avenue on the border of Soho and Hudson Square.

CBRE picked up the leasing assignment for the 430,000-square-foot building at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Watts Street Oct. 7, said Peter Turchin, executive vice president at CBRE.

The 23-story office building is owned by a partnership between the Andalex Group and Edward J. Minskoff Equities, and was built in 1991.

The entire building is leased by the influential Service Employees International Union local 32 BJ, whose 20-year lease expires Dec. 31, 2011.

Local brokers said it was a plum assignment that several firms vied for, in part because of the expiring lease. Insiders said the union was looking at other locations, but might also stay.

“I think this is a fantastic assignment,” Turchin said. “You can’t find any 1990s buildings in Midtown South. You can barely find them in Midtown.”

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The owners are looking for a creative positioning of the building, which is equipped with commercial kitchens, an auditorium and terrace space, he said.

Despite the tough leasing market, Turchin said it was a good time to start marketing the building to large users, including those that were unable to consolidate when the market was tight. This building gives them that opportunity.

“This is a branding opportunity,” he said. CBRE did not disclose an asking price.

CBRE is the leasing agent for about 57.4 million square feet of office property in Manhattan in 110 buildings, data from Costar Group shows.

The Empire State Building account was taken over by Newmark Knight Frank, which has been on a leasing agency growth spurt, picking up 1065 Sixth Avenue and 100 Church Street in recent months.