Doings South of Chambers Street - New York Post

By: Steve Cuozzo | New York Post

The supposedly stalled office market south of Chambers Street quietly racked up over 300,000 square feet in new leases over the past few weeks, laughing off second-quarter data that appeared to show a slump.

In the largest deal, KCG Holdings has signed for 169,000 square feet at Brookfield’s 300 Vesey St., the former NYMEX building. Asking rents in the 566,000 square-foot tower are in the $70s per square foot, brokerage sources said.

Whenever a Manhattan-based company, however small, moves to New Jersey — or even moves a handful of employees there — it’s touted as portending doom-and-gloom for the New York market.

Yet this instance of a major financial firm abandoning its longtime global headquarters in Jersey City for Manhattan received no media mention at all.

KCG’s negotiations were reported early last month by Bloomberg for a larger block than the firm eventually took — but nobody noticed when the deal, which surfaced from deep within KCG’s second-quarter earnings report, was actually struck.

Meanwhile, Larry Silverstein racked up 71,000 total square feet in four new leases at 4 World Trade Center, which nudged the tower’s occupancy up to 62 percent. (The new tenants are communications firm PadillaCRT, accounting firm Dixon Hughes Goodman, medical researchers Syntactx, and pre-built executive offices firm Silver Suites.)

They came on the heels of Sandbox Studio’s deal for 68,000 square feet at jumbo 55 Water St.; the fashion-oriented visual content provider will move from Hudson Square.

The various commitments at three different addresses were signed even as Moody’s nears a lease with the Port Authority and the Durst Organization for nearly 80,000 square feet at 1 WTC — which, as we first reported in July, will represent an expansion for Moody’s, which is now based at 7 WTC.

And of course, all the action occurs against the backdrop of negotiations for 21st Century Fox and News Corp. to anchor 2 World Trade Center. As we first reported, the two separate media companies controlled by Rupert Murdoch signed a letter of intent with Silverstein to anchor the planned 2.8 million square-foot tower to be designed by celebrated Danish architect Bjarke Ingels.

Italian-starved World Trade Center office workers won’t have to wait too much longer for Eataly, the stalled satellite of Mario Batali’s and the Bastianich family’s great gourmet emporium.

Sources deep inside the complex said the new Eataly will open before Christmas. The breakthrough in what had become a frustrating go-slow is the result of new cooperation between Westfield, which controls all the WTC’s retail space, and its landlord, the Port Authority.

As Lois Weiss and I reported in April, the PA and Westfield had been hung up on several issues involving the 16-acre site’s 350,000 square feet of store and restaurant spaces, including whether the PA had turned the venues over to Westfield in finished condition. Another factor was Westfield’s long-standing practice of opening all of a new retail mall project at once rather than in stages.

The impasse clouded the timetable for opening any of Westfield’s tenants in the Transportation Hub Oculus, concourses and in the base levels of towers 3 and 4.

At the time, Eataly rep Cristina Villa said, “We don’t have possession of the space and construction hasn’t begun yet” of the 41,000 square-foot venue on the third floor of 4 WTC, and the opening date seemed in limbo. (Silverstein doesn’t control the tower’s retail space.)

But all hands apparently recognized the need to launch at least some of the WTC’s above-ground stores, as swelling numbers of office workers flood the zone and the prospect loomed of a totally dark shopping complex when the new PATH terminal opens later this year.

Westfield rep Katy Dickey told us Monday, “Work has begun on Eataly and in general the whole Westfield World Trade Center project is moving along, but we are not commenting on any specific openings at this time.” Neither the PA nor Eataly got back to us.

Eataly might be the most important WTC retail tenant, with the potential to boost pedestrian traffic and the overall commercial leasing market around it — as David LaPierre, CBRE’s restaurant specialist, credited the original Eataly with doing last week at a forum on urban food halls.

It was also understood that H&M, which Lois Weiss first reported was near to a lease with Westfield, will be among stores likely to open this year, on the second floor of 4 WTC.

News: 08.04.2015