NYC’s 10 most valuable office leases of 2020
Facebook’s deal at Vornado’s Farley Post Office tops the list
The pandemic has drastically slowed Manhattan leasing since March, curbing not only the number of deals, but also their dollar value.
The Real Deal, using data compiled by Compstak, ranked Manhattan office leases signed in 2020 by the amount of rent scheduled to be paid over the life of the deal. The sum of the top 10 was $3.12 billion, down about 60 percent from the 2019 sum, $7.85 billion.
The drop was reflected in the lack of mega deals. The only 2020 lease that exceeded the $1 billion mark was Facebook’s $1.18 billion pact at Vornado Realty Trust’s Farley Post Office redevelopment.
In 2019, there were three such deals, including WarnerMedia’s $1.97 billion lease at 30 Hudson Yards, Google’s $1.5 billion deal in Hudson Square, and law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore’s $1 billion lease at 2 Manhattan West.
Another notable difference between this year and last: In 2019, all top 10 deals checked in at more than $300 million, while only two did in 2020.
The full list of Manhattan’s 10 most valuable office leases of 2020:
1. Facebook | 421 Eighth Avenue | Times Square South | High $100s psf | $1.18 billion
In August, Vornado Realty Trust announced Facebook’s 730,000-square-foot lease deal at the 900,000-square-foot Farley Post Office building, named for the nation’s 53rd postmaster general, James Farley. The deal gave the city’s real estate industry hope at the time when many offices looked to be empty indefinitely. Facebook, which will occupy all of the office space on site, has said its move-in date will be late 2021. The Farley building will also include commercial space and a new train hall linked to Penn Station.
2. BNP Paribas | 787 Seventh Avenue | Columbus Circle | High $70s/Low $90s psf | $558 million
The French international banking group renewed its lease at the 1.7 million-square-foot Axa Equitable Center. BNP’s 20-year renewal was for 323,000 square feet, nearly 30 percent smaller than the space it had occupied for the past 34 years. The building is owned by CommonWealth Partners and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, which bought it for $2 billion in 2016, according to Commercial Observer.
3. SEC | 100 Pearl Street | Financial District | Low $60s psf | $288 million
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission inked a 241,000-square-foot deal at the building formerly known as 7 Hanover Square, which is undergoing a major renovation by the new owners, GFP Real Estate, Northwind Group and TPG Real Estate Partners. The 27-story, 963,000-square-foot office will be ready for occupancy by fall 2022, according to the U.S. General Services Administration.
4. TikTok | 4 Times Square | Times Square | High $100s psf | $237 million
ByteDance, the parent company for the popular video-sharing app, inked a 232,000-square-foot deal with the Durst Organization at One Five One, formerly known as Four Times Square. News of the lease in late May was celebrated in the real estate industry as Manhattan’s first six-digit office lease since the onset of the pandemic. The company will take seven floors at the 48-story building — five at the top and two at the base — leaving the property with about 326,000 vacant square feet.
5. AIG | 28 Liberty Street | Financial District | Low $60s psf | $207 million
American International Group has leased 220,000 square feet in the 2.2-million-square-foot tower owned by Fosun International. The insurance giant has been reshaping its real estate strategy and is said to be in contract to sell its 31-story headquarters at 175 Water Street in the Financial District to Metro Loft. The company is also taking 325,000 square feet at 1271 Avenue of the Americas and 230,000 square feet at 30 Hudson, according to Commercial Observer.
6. iHeart Radio/Katz Media Group | 125 West 55th Street | Sixth Avenue | Low $60s psf | $169 million
The radio and podcast company renewed a lease for its 259,000-square-foot office at the Avenue of the Americas Plaza owned by JPMorgan Asset Management. The landlord was reportedly looking to sell the 23-story office tower built in the late 1980s, sources told The Real Deal in January.
7. FTI Consulting | 1166 Avenue Of The Americas | Sixth Avenue | High $70s psf | $141 million
The consulting firm signed a 120,000-square-foot lease at Edward Minskoff’s 44-story office tower. FTI plans to relocate and consolidate several Manhattan offices at the location, the landlord told TRD.
8. MDC Partners | 1 World Trade Center | Low $60s psf | $115 million
The holding company of marketing and communication firms signed a 199,000-square-foot lease at the 94-story, 2.9-million-square-foot tower owned by the Durst Organization and Port Authority. MDC’s office will span floors from 64th to 69th floors, according to the New York Post.
9. Refinitiv | 28 Liberty Street | Financial District | Low $70s psf | $114 million
The London-based financial markets data firm inked a 109,000-square-foot lease at Fosun International’s office tower. Refinitiv will relocate from the Reuters Building at 3 Times Square to take three floors in the 60-story tower.
9. Fortress Investment Group | 1345 Sixth Avenue | Midtown | Mid $140s psf | $114 million
The hedge fund renegotiated its lease at the Fisher Brothers–owned 50-story building, shrinking its 200,000 square feet down to 132,000. Fortress, which went private in late 2017, made a decision to downsize because it didn’t need the extra space to house personnel who worked on SEC filings, Crain’s reported.