Vornado, Rudin court Citadel for Midtown supertall

Ken Griffin’s firm eyed as anchor tenant, equity investor in office project

From left: Ken Griffin, Steven Roth and Bill Rudin (Getty Images, iStock)
From left: Ken Griffin, Steven Roth and Bill Rudin (Getty Images, iStock)

Vornado Realty Trust and Rudin Management are in conversations with Ken Griffith about his investment firm Citadel becoming an anchor tenant and an investor in the developers’ supertall office tower planned for Park Avenue, sources said.

The 1,450-foot-tall, 1.68-million-square-foot tower is getting closer to reality but is still years away from opening. Vornado owns the office building at 350 Park Avenue, which takes up the entire blockfront from East 51st to East 52nd streets and would be razed to make way for the unnamed tower.

Vornado’s partner in the ambitious project, Rudin Management, owns the building behind it at 40 East 52nd Street, which has an entrance on East 51st Street as well. Also known as the BlackRock building, it would also be demolished.

The two developers have the land, the zoning and plenty of experience building office towers, but Citadel has something that would surely help: $50 billion in investment capital, according to its website.

Along with deep pockets, Citadel has shown itself willing to pay record-high rent for office space: The $300 per square foot it agreed to pay at unbuilt 425 Park Avenue in 2015 was believed to be an all-time high in the city.

Vornado and Rudin declined to comment.

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After the Midtown East rezoning, the two firms began talking about a collaboration at the Park Avenue and East 52nd Street site, as the New York Post reported in April 2019. A brochure found by YIMBY revealed drawings by Foster + Partners of the prospective tower.

The Griffith entity Citadel Securities was already both a sublease and direct tenant of Vornado, using 120,000 square feet at 350 Park Avenue while it awaited the completion of 425 Park.

Griffin took the top floor of the 47-story 425 Park for his own office, which boasts 38-foot high windows looking toward Central Park. But even at 680 feet above ground, he can’t see his $238 million quadplex apartment at Vornado’s 220 Central Park South — something that should be possible from the upper floors of 350 Park, which could be the city’s third tallest building.

Citadel, which could not be reached for comment, appears to be thinking far ahead at a time when other firms are trying to get a sense of how much space they will need in the post-Covid era.

Griffin’s companies expanded their occupancy at 425 Park with a new deal last month for 84,000 square feet and will now occupy 20 floors and 415,000 square feet. Citadel had been discussing taking space at 550 Madison Avenue before turning back to 425 Park.

It also has a lease at the Bloomberg building, 601 Lexington Avenue, which expires this year, and keeps a global headquarters in Chicago and other offices around the world.

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