Big banks ramp up Manhattan office leasing

After years of downsizing, many are searching for new space

60 Wall Street And 452 Fifth Avenue
60 Wall Street And 452 Fifth Avenue

New York City’s largest banks are primed to dive into the real estate market after years of laying low in the wake of the financial crisis.

Deutsche Bank AG is looking for 1 million square feet, according to Bloomberg, as it considers whether to stay or leave its headquarters at Paramount Group’s 60 Wall Street, the building that it fully occupies and once owned. Its lease runs until 2022.

HSBC Holdings is seeking up to 700,000 square feet for its primary New York Office, as it faces a 2021 expiration of its lease at 452 Fifth Avenue, and Wells Fargo needs 300,000 square feet to house some of its top investment bankers. BNP Paribas SA also has a lease expiring early in the next decade at 787 Seventh Avenue.

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The burst of activity comes as media and technology companies have taken financial institutions’ place as the top office tenants, and banks are looking to shrink their footprints, consolidate employees and update outdated spaces.

“Coming out of the crisis, what we saw were banks giving up dollops of office space,” said Michael Cohen, tri-state regional president for Colliers International. “Today we’re seeing that stabilizing. We’re seeing them cope with a new regulatory environment and finding ways to stay profitable.” [Bloomberg News] — Tess Hofmann