By Daniel Geiger
Summit Rock Advisors, a financial consultant and portfolio manager to foundations and wealthy families, has renewed and expanded its office lease at 9 West 57th Street.
The company, which had about 8,300 s/f on the building’s 12th floor, extended its lease for another 7 years and grew its presence on the floor to about 14,000 s/f.
Paul Amrich, an executive at CB Richard Ellis, represented Summit Rock in the deal. He said that the firm’s space didn’t expire until next year but that it wanted to do the deal early because it needed to grow.
Summit Rock will pay rents slightly over $100 per s/f in the pricey tower, which is known as one of the most exclusive office buildings in the city. Floors higher in the 50-story property have sweeping views of Central Park that are obscured in the building’s base by The Plaza across the street. Sight-lines at 9 West come with an even more exorbitant price tag. Top floors in the tower charge rents approaching $200 per s/f.
Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts and Apollo Global Management, recently renewed and expanded higher up in the building. In those deals KKR took about 140,000 s/f and Apollo took about 125,000 s/f for rents hovering in the $140s per s/f, according to sources, making them among the most lucrative deals to get done since the recession started for their combination of size and extraordinary rental rate.
Though hundreds of thousands of s/f of vacancy space festers at the property, Sheldon Solow, the enigmatic landlord of 9 West, has appeared to lock down a core cadre of tenants at 9 West judging by the deals with Summit Rock, KKR and Apollo. Real estate experts familiar with Solow say that he creates a high barrier to entry to 9 West by being extremely selective with tenants and by demanding some of the highest rental rates in the world.
That, combined with a reputation for litigiousness, has driven some potential takers away. Others say that he is a real estate genius with the patience to wait out opportune moments to capitalize on the extraordinary value of his space during high points in the market. Sure enough, the Manhattan office market appears to be in recovery mode, giving Solow an opportunity to get record breaking rents if there is another upturn.