Cove Property, Baupost plan 150K sf expansion of 441 Ninth

Owners-to-be will overhaul large office building near Hudson Yards

441 Ninth Avenue on the Far West Side with the old and new windows and Kevin Hoo
441 Ninth Avenue on the Far West Side with the old and new windows and Kevin Hoo

The new owners of a former warehouse-turned-office building on the Far West Side are planning an overhaul of the property that includes adding an additional 150,000 square feet in order to attract tenants who want to be close to Hudson Yards.

Kevin Hoo’s Cove Property Group plans to gut renovate the 423,000-square-foot building at 441 Ninth Avenue the company acquired with the hedge fund Baupost Group for $330 million.

The property’s seller-to-be, health insurer EmblemHealth, is set to vacate the building within a year.

Cove Property is drawing up a plan to revamp the building by constructing an additional 150,000 square feet of space, a source with knowledge of the site told The Real Deal. Hoo couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

The property, located at the northwest corner of West 34th Street and Ninth Avenue, got a boost in floor-to-area ratio when the city rezoned the West Side in 2005. Cove can also purchase additional building bonuses from the Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corporation.

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The plan could also include converting portions of the ground floor to retail use. Images believed to be from marketing materials show a retail option with large two-story windows on portions of the building currently clad in the former warehouse’s characteristic bands of gray bricks and dark windows.

CBRE’s [TRDataCustom] Stephen Siegel, who declined to comment, will lead the effort to market the property to new office tenants.

The building sits on a stretch of 34th Street that is transitioning as Midtown shifts west toward the greater Hudson Yards neighborhood and Midtown.

Just on the other side of Ninth Avenue to the east, Vornado Realty Trust has inked a handful of major tenants to its renovation of the 735,000-square-foot 330 West 34th Street. And to the west, there are projects like the first phase of the Related Companies’ 17 million-square-foot Hudson Yards megadevelopment and office towers planned by Tishman Speyer and the Moinian Group.

Cove’s building was originally constructed as a warehouse in 1953 and turned into office space during the 1980s by developer Harry Macklowe. Emblem’s predecessor picked it up for $30.7 million in 1994.