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Deals & Dealmakers

McGraw Hill renewal at 55 Water St. the biggest leasing deal since 2014

In the biggest leasing deal since 2014, McGraw Hill Financial, owner of Standard & Poor’s Rating Services, has renewed its 900,027 square foot lease at 55 Water Street in the Financial District.

The multi-year renewal is for the entire 34th through 46th floors—along with a portion of the concourse and 52nd floor.

The company is the largest tenant 55 Water Street. Owned by New Water Street Corp., it is the largest office building in the city by square footage, with a total of 3.6 million square feet of space.

The 687-foot tall skyscraper has two public parks/plazas, a 600-car indoor parking garage as well as an on-site tenant cafeteria and advanced infrastructure that includes emergency power.

“This lease renewal is the culmination of our efforts to upgrade 55 Water Street via a significant capital improvement plan,” said Bruce Hodges Jr., director of leasing and tenant relations at New Water Street Corp.

New Water Street Corp. is in the process of upgrading the building lobby, has completed upgrades to the café and has invested over $100 million in the property since Superstorm Sandy to ensure that the operation of all major building systems are not interrupted by a future event. The building now has a new flood barrier system and critical systems have been relocated above grade. Other systems have been located in what Water Street calls “submarine like waterproof enclosures.ˮ

A CBRE team led by Howard Fiddle, vice chairman, Dave Caperna, Brad Gerla, Evan Haskell and Mary Ann Tighe represented the landlord. “This agreement is just another example of how Lower Manhattan’s continued resurgence has made it a highly attractive place for many of New York City’s greatest companies, and how well positioned buildings like 55 Water Street have benefited from this resurgence,” said Fiddle.

Mitra Meshgin-Poosh, senior vice president of Global Real Estate Services at McGraw Hill Financial, said, “McGraw-Hill Financial is excited to renew our lease for 55 Water Street.

“We will use this opportunity to upgrade our floors into cohesive, state-of-the-art work environments that encourage collaboration and include upgraded Wi-Fi, telecommunications, and electrical systems. We will also continue to renovate and upgrade our conference rooms to enable video conferencing.

“In this new configuration, we are placing like teams together and making the best use of available space while eliminating existing vacant real estate.”

CBRE’s Cara Chayet, Michael Liss, Ken Meyerson, Paul Myers and Ramneek Rikhy, represented McGraw Hill Financial in the transaction.

Fried Frank acted as counsel to New Water Street Corp. The Fried Frank team included real estate partners Meyer Last and Jennifer A. Yashar and real estate associate Mallory Beberman.

Other tenants at 55 Water Street include Hugo Boss, Emblem Health and Liberty Mutual. The building is owned by New Water Street Corp., which is a wholly owned entity of The Retirement Systems of Alabama, one of the larger public pension funds in the United States.

Standard & Poor’s has occupied space at 55 Water Street since 1999. McGraw Hill moved 250 employees to the downtown building in 2014 after paying a $60 million lease termination fee to the Rockefeller Group, owner of what was then called the McGraw Hill Building at 1221 Avenue of the Americas.

Law firm White & Case, one of New York’s oldest law firms, with operations in 26 countries, will relocate to 440,000 s/f in 1221 Avenue of the Americas in 2017.

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