Bank of America’s Bryant Park expansion is bigger than you thought

Financial giant took 127K sf at Grace Building along with HBO’s space

1100 Sixth Avenue and Bank of America's Brian Moynihan
1100 Sixth Avenue and Bank of America's Brian Moynihan

Bank of America’s got the market on Bryant Park cornered.

The financial giant signed a lease for 127,000 square feet at the Grace Building overlooking the Midtown oasis, sources told The Real Deal. That, along with its deal next door at the HBO building, puts the bank’s expansion along the northwest corner of the park at more than 500,000 square feet.

BofA signed a 20-year lease for floors five through seven in the 50-story tower at 1114 Sixth Avenue owned by Brookfield Property Partners and the Swig Company, according to CompStak. The starting rent was in the high $70s per square foot, according to the data company.

A representative from Bank of America confirmed it signed the lease. A spokesperson for Brookfield could not be reached.

The deal is on top of the 386,000 square feet the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank locked up next door late last year. Bank of America inked a deal in late December to lease the entire building at 1100 Sixth Avenue, as the New York Post originally reported.

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The longtime home of HBO, 1100 Sixth sits across the avenue from Bank of America’s corporate headquarters at the Durst Organization’s One Bryant Park, and the expansion will allow the financial institution to consolidate other offices in Midtown into a corporate campus centered around the corner of 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue.

Brookfield and the California-based Swig Co. – not to be confused with Kent Swig’s New York-based Swig Equities – bought the long-term leasehold on 1100 Sixth in early 2017 from Eugene A Hoffman Management. The owners are planning a major renovation of the building coinciding with HBO’s move to 30 Hudson Yards in 2019.

Companies in the financial services, insurance and real estate industries – known by the acronym FIRE – drove leasing activity in the office market in 2017 on the heels of strong job growth.

Those companies saw employment in New York City grow 3.7 percent year-over-year in 2017, finally pushing the sector’s employment figures above the pre-recession peak, according to CBRE. By contrast, companies in the technology, advertising, media and information sectors – which had driven office-leasing activity through most of the economic recovery – saw employment gains taper off to 1.6 percent last year, down from the robust annual growth rate of 3 to 4 percent seen earlier in the expansion.

At least some of the job gains in the FIRE sector, however, appear to be tech-related jobs instead of traditional banking ones. JPMorgan Chase, for example, inked a 300,000-square-foot deal last year at Brookfield’s 5 Manhattan West to expand its financial technology group.

Elsewhere, JPMorgan is in talks to lease the remaining 400,000 square feet at L&L Holding Company’s 390 Madison Avenue, though it’s not clear what job functions will be housed in the space.