For as long as I could remember, money manager’s geographic preferences have always been within The Plaza District. Although this neighborhood is still the top choice for hedge funds and boutique financial services companies, in the past year or so, many of these firms have been inquiring about Midtown South. For all intensive purposes, I am considering Midtown South to be the neighborhood south of 34th Street, all the way to Canal Street. This includes Chelsea, Gramercy, Tribeca, SoHo and Hudson Square.
For those who are not aware, Midtown South is the hottest market in THE COUNTRY. Spurred by technology and creative firms, many entities are ditching the traditional office concept for exposed ceilings and hardwood/concrete floors. The preference for work attire has become business casual over suits and ties. The once coveted Central Park Views are now eclipsed by Madison Square Park and Union Square. Shake Shack is now the spot to take clients over Brasserie or The Four Seasons.
Due to the insane amount of demand and lack of superior product, many landlords have started to compete for tenants. Over the past 18 months, rents have increased by nearly 30% and many buildings have undergone or are undergoing major renovations. The improvements to building lobbies, elevator cabs, common corridors and infrastructure have led to a surge of interest from Hedge Funds and Boutique Financial Services Companies.
Below is a list of my TOP HEDGE FUND APPROPRIATE BUILDINGS IN MIDTOWN SOUTH
610 Broadway: Owned by Harry Macklowe, this glass and steel building is located on the northeast corner of Houston and Broadway. Built with a combination of glass and steel, the asset surely makes a statement. The building is currently 100% occupied and tenants include Adidas in the retail portion and Anchorage Capital as an existing hedge fund user.
101 Avenue of the Americas:Owned by Edward Minskoff Equites, this asset recently received a ground up re-development, including state-of-the art mechanical, electrical, plumbing, sprinkler and elevator systems. The tower floors are perfect for trading operations, measuring 15,600 square feet. Additionally, they have stunning views of Jersey, Midtown and Downtown.
625 Avenue of the Americas: Owned by Chelsea Green Associates, this landmarked building recently became home to EBay. The asset is currently in the process of receiving lobby and elevator renovations, as well as a new facade. The entire 2nd floor is currently available and would be great for a large hedge fund. Measuring 35,156 square feet, the landlord is asking $63 per foot. The unit features an incredible amount of natural light- with 4 sides of operable windows and 15 foot exposed ceilings. Additionally, there is potential for a tenant to create a rooftop deck.
200 Fifth Avenue: Owned by L&L Holdings and JP Morgan Chase, this asset is the GEM of Midtown South. Formerly known as the Toy Building, this asset recently became the corporate headquarters of Tiffany & Co. and Grey Advertising. The building boasts incredible infrastructure, including a completely renovated lobby and elevator cabs. The streetscape views of Madison Square Park are breathtaking and there are many options available for transportation. With nearly a 10% vacancy rate, there are still some opportunities within this premier building- however, it will most likely be leased to a large user.
245 Fifth Avenue: Owned by the Moinian Group, this building is perfect for boutique financial services firms. Entire floors are 14,200 square feet and the asset receives a tremendous amount of natural light. There are currently several full floors available, with asking rents in the mid-$50’s psf.
41 Madison Avenue: At 100% occupancy, this is arguably the best high-rise in Midtown South. Owned by Rudin, this glass and steel tower has 42 floors of space that overlooks Madison Square Park. The typical size of the floorplate is 14,600 square feet, which creates an excellent opportunity for a fund to occupy an entire floor.
183 Madison Avenue: Recently acquired by Rigby Associates, this asset received a tremendous influx of capital improvements. The building features upgrades to the elevators, common corridors, bathrooms and building systems. Additionally, the floorplates are 12,000 square feet, which makes it perfect for a boutique financial user. The column-free penthouse is perhaps the best kept secret in Midtown South. It is currently available and features floor to ceiling windows, a useable terrace, and potential to convert the ENTIRE rooftop into useable space as well.
215 Park Avenue South: Owned by one of the largest REITs in the world, SL Green, this asset is already home to multiple financial services firms. The building recently underwent renovations to the lobby, elevators, common corridors and bathrooms. The typical floor size is 16,000 square feet and boasts three sides of natural light.
475 Park Avenue South: Although this building isn’t technically considered Midtown South, I figured I would throw it in regardless. The asset is owned by Cohen Brothers and recently received major capital improvements to the lobby, elevators, common corridors and building systems. The façade is currently in the process of being re-skinned and the asset will undoubtedly become one of the premier addresses below 40th street.