By Al Barbarino
The new lobby at 452 Fifth Avenue’s HSBC Tower is an airy portal through which its high profile tenants can catch a breath before ascending into office space bliss.
It was once “low, dark, and narrow,” said Ehud Elizur, president of PBC-KOOR USA LLC, a subsidiary of IDB group, the Israeli property owner that bought the building for $330 million in April of 2010.
Now it features an open glass façade, a newly elevated ceiling, Italian marble floors, French limestone and Jerusalem stone walls, complimented by oak and glass paneling.
“We’re a new player in the market, so we wanted to do this the right way,” Elizur said, as he paced through the new lobby, pointing out the new features.
IDB Group is new to Manhattan, but with the help of a CBRE leasing team, the company has managed to lease 14 of the available 15 floors of the building — gutted after IDB purchased the property – within the past six months.
Upstairs, the tower’s floors offer up to 55 feet of column-free space, and tenants of the 30-story, 861,121 s/f trophy building are surrounded by panoramic Manhattan views.
Elizur points out every notable landmark, his voice remarkably calm for someone in the midst of a new venture of this magnitude. It’s perhaps the same calm he exhibits when sitting face-to-face with prospective tenants, examining their financials and business strategies, making sure they are a good fit.
“We want every tenant to be our ambassador,” he said. “Financial stability is important, but it’s also important for us to feel that the new tenant will add value to the building – that they will make the building more desirable to other tenants.”
Rents in the tower start in the mid-80s and in some cases Elizur said he was forced to turn prospective tenants away, urging them to find more affordable space — despite their insistence that they could afford the going rate.
A CBRE team made up of Craig Reicher, Howard Fiddle, James Ackerson, Zachary Freeman, Sinclair Li and Greg Maurer-Hollaender serve as the property’s exclusive leasing agents, working hand-in-hand with PBC-KOOR USA LLC.
“Our style is very hands-on,” Elizur said. “There are a lot of owners who hire a property manager and they come once every three months and say, ‘Show me the report,’ and that’s it. In our case, we’re sort of embedded with the CBRE people and we work together.”
Alicia Popper, vice president of commercial leasing with PBC-KOOR USA LLC, added, “The tenant appreciates the owner-occupied building. We entertained and we honored special requests to accommodate them.”
In addition to the new lobby design and views, IDG offered those tenants that did work out flexible lease terms and floor plans, bathroom designs, energy and dining needs. Some tenants even requested bathroom showers. They hail from buildings as prestigious as the Lever House, Rockefeller Center, 712 5th Avenue and 520 Madison Ave.
The tower will continue to serve as HSBC’s North American headquarters. The banking and financial services company occupies the first 11 floors of the building, for a total of 600,000 s/f, under a new ten-year lease. New tenants include Man Group, RW Pressprich & Co., NCH Capital Inc., Wood Mackenzie, VTB Capital, as well as Baker & McKenzie, one of the largest law firms in the world.
“They bought a good building, they made it great,” said Craig Reicher, at CBRE. “The tenants who came are great tenants from all the best buildings in the city. It’s a great success for them [PBC-KOOR USA LLC] and they deserve it.”