By Holly Dutton
Newmark Grubb Knight Frank is expanding its downtown presence as the neighborhood ends the year on a leasing high note.
With year-to-date leasing reaching 6.8 million square feet—a 42.5 percent increase year-over-year, Hal Stein, who leads NGKF’s Lower Manhattan office, said, “Lower Manhattan is now a true destination versus simply being the low-price alternative.”
The broker said tenants like Condé Nast, which just moved into its new offices at One World Trade Center, are enticed by the new retail at Brookfield Place, World Trade Center and South Street Seaport, as well as the area’s transit experience.
NGKF has just inked a 10-year-lease on the 29th floor of Brookfield’s One Liberty Plaza, in a relocation to the Class A building it also represents. The 54-story, 2.3-million-square-foot office building, where 500,000s/f is currently available, boasts 45,000 s/f, column-free floor plates, and Stein expects a mix of tenants to fill the space.
Recent deals include engineering firm The AKF Group (57,000s/f) and flexible office provider Regus (23,000 s/f), which join a roster of tenants like Cleary Gottlieb, Zurich, FINRA, Transatlantic Re, and Investment Technology Group.
NGKF handles nine million square feet of agency assignments in Lower Manhattan for top landlords like Brookfield, Savanna, Northwood Investors, CIM Group, AmTrust and the Wolfson Group. It has also completed 36 percent of all leases over 40,000 s/f there since 2008, Stein said.
As this growth continues from representing 2,000 s/f leases to 1.2-million-square-foot mega deals like a recent REBNY Most Ingenious Deal winner on behalf of a global financial services firm—NGKF is tapping new talent to boost its Downtown presence.
Top producer and Downtown specialist Andrew Peretz, and David Malawer and Courtney Adham, joined from Cushman & Wakefield earlier this year. Together, they have decades of experience representing tenants and landlords. “The market is now vibrant with a diverse mix of sectors, including technology and creative firms that want to be close to their employee base,” said Peretz.
The ownership landscape has also changed over the last few years. “Many organizations that have never had a presence in Lower Manhattan have recognized the allure and magnitude of what is transpiring while simultaneously replacing the old-world way of doing business,” Stein said.
Prices for buildings are surging, with 61 Broadway selling for $423 per square foot and One Exchange each selling for $448 per square foot. Savanna and KBS snapped up 110 William Street from Swig Equities for $261 million earlier this year, and NGKF will be assisting the new owners with the leasing campaign, which includes upgrading the lobby and constructing new, creative pre-builts.
Stein said they are confident they will replicate the success Savanna had at 80 Broad Street, where NGKF helped in the repositioning and lease up of over 250,000 square feet in 18 months.