By Holly Dutton
Boston Properties’ long-awaited midtown tower is nearing completion, and the developer is close to signing another big tenant.
Robert Selsam, SVP and regional manager of Boston Properties’ New York office, said at an Association of Real Estate Women luncheon Oct. 2 that the company is working on a “major lease” at the base of 250 W. 55th Street, but would not clarify who the future tenant will be.
So far, law firm Morrison and Foerster, which signed a 15-year lease in March 2011 for floors 17 through 23 totaling 180,000 sf, is the only confirmed tenant. An additional 25,000 sf, floor 24, was added to the agreement in June.
Morrison & Foerster currently has more than 200 attorneys and 150 professional staff at its current New York location, at 1290 6th Avenue. Globally, the firm employs 1,000 attorneys in 15 offices.
Leasing agent CBRE said in a New York Law Journal article that asking rates range between $80 and $100 psf in the building.
Selsam spoke about the trials and tribulations of developing the building and detailed the progress the building has made since 2007, when initial plans were set in place. Those plans were scrubbed following the financial collapse of 2008.
The building was designed specifically with law firms in mind, Selsam told the audience at Club 101 at 101 Park Avenue, in an attempt to draw big firms as tenants. It worked; law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher signed on for 200,000 sf in the building in until construction came to a halt during the recession.
Construction resumed last year after Boston Properties paid $12 million in to the firm in 2010 to terminate their original lease. The law firm instead stayed in its current space in the MetLife building at 200 Park Avenue.
The building, located on 55th Street near 8th Avenue, is 40 stories, has 1 million sf and is projected to open in 2014, according to architect Skidmore, Owings and Merrill’s website. The development firm has spent $1.05 billion constructing the building, according to Bloomberg News.
Selsam said he “wouldn’t put a high likelihood” on a tech firm becoming a tenant in the building but that he “wouldn’t rule it out.”
“We’ve got about 25,000 square feet of retail space,” he said, regarding the street level space in the building. The company is marketing for a restaurant there and has received interest from banks and pharmacies but the retail space “will probably be the last place to lease” because tenants like to see the finished product, said Selsam.
He said he expected the top floors of the building to be single-floor leases.