JPMorgan Chase to tear down Midtown HQ, build massive tower

New development at 270 Park to stand 1,200 feet tall

270 Park Avenue and JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon
270 Park Avenue and JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon

JPMorgan Chase plans to tear down its headquarters at 270 Park Avenue and build a new, 70-story office tower in its place.

The new building will stand around 1,200 feet tall, compared to the existing 52-story, 700-foot tower, the New York Times reported. It will also create around 1 million square feet of additional office space for the bank, which is the richest in the country with about $2 trillion in assets under management.

The financial institution plans to buy air rights from nearby properties under the Midtown East rezoning passed last year, which would require it to pay around $40 million for public improvements, according to the Times.

“This is our plan for East Midtown in action,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told the Times. “Good jobs, modern buildings and concrete improvements that will make East Midtown stronger for the tens of thousands of New Yorkers who work there.”

JPMorgan has renovated the property, which was built in 1961 and houses around 6,000 of its employees, several times. But it has also made no secret about wanting to move elsewhere. In 2014, it tried to build a $6.5 billion headquarters on Manhattan’s Far West Side, but ditched the plans after it failed to land $1 billion in additional subsidies from the city.

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The bank has been in talks to lease space at nearby 390 Madison Avenue and 237, 245 and 277 Park Avenue to house its employees during construction, the Times reported. Demolition is expected to start next year, with construction of the new tower expected to finish about five years later.

Beyond its own ground-up ambitions in Midtown, JPMorgan has emerged as one of the one of the most aggressive lenders in New York City commercial real estate, handing out massive loans to Extell Development for Central Park Tower and Macklowe Properties for the conversion of One Wall Street. The bank is also taking on riskier construction loans by shifting them from its commercial lending arm to the investment banking side.

JPMorgan was the top CMBS issuer in the U.S. in 2016, underwriting $12 billion worth of loans.  [NYT]Konrad Putzier

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