By Sarah Trefethen
2014 leasing is off to a busy start, and Midtown South is still stealing the headlines.
The Manhattan office market saw more than five million square feet of leases and renewals in January, according to data from Cassidy Turley.
Availability in Midtown South is now the lowest it’s been since early 2006 at 7.6 percent, according to the brokerage.
Notable MTS leases in January include Sony’s deal for 520,000 s/f feet at 11 Madison Avenue, Twitter’s 140,000 s/f on 17th and Broadway and MasterCard and Mashable’s combined leases for 96,630 at 114 Fifth Avenue and the announcement that IBM’s “Watson Group” has leased an undisclosed portion of Minskoff’s 51 Astor Place.
CreditSuisse also renewed for 1.2 million s/f at 11 Madison Ave.
Paradoxically, all this activity has caused the average asking rent for Class A space in Midtown South to drop more than a dollar psf since the end of last year to $71.75 psf, as the most expensive blocks of space have been leased.
51 Astor alone was asking $115 psf.
In Midtown, availability spiked to 11.1 percent due to two expected blocks of availability: 817,252 s/f that Conde Nast will vacate in 4 Times Square, and 228,926 s/f at 237 Park Ave. Average asking rent for Class A space in Midtown went up 86 cents, to $80.89 psf.
Downtown also saw an increase in availability in January, to 13.3 percent. Average asking rent for Class A space dropped by 33 cents, to $37.72 psf.
Overall, Manhattan posted a negative absorption of 266,231 s/f in January and island-wide availability stayed constant from Q4 last year, at 10.8percent.
Overall Class A asking rent is $66.34 psf, a year-over-year increase 8.6 percent, according to Cassidy Turley.