The Seagram Building (375 Park Avenue), The Lever House (390 Park Avenue), and The GM Building (767 Fifth Avenue) have all reigned supreme in Midtown Manhattan for over 6 decades, regularly achieving the most substantial office rents throughout New York City. Though newer buildings have recently been constructed (somewhat debunking the historical caché & demand for these towers), ownership of each of these buildings are making big bets on amenities to lure tenants back to these ultra-luxe office buildings.
Since the pandemic began, we have often written about the flight to quality– or in other words, occupiers’ desires to upgrade their workspaces by moving to newer construction, amenity-rich buildings and modernized infrastructure. Though Seagram, GM and Lever House are all architecturally significant and centrally located, the average age of these trophy assets is nearly 64 years old. However, due to the meticulous upkeep by their respective owners, one would never assume that these buildings are old hags. That being said, as competition for office tenants continues to increase due to remote work, landlords must amenitize dated assets to keep up with the times and these are the most exciting and highly anticipated renovations I have witnessed in my career.
375 Park Avenue (The Seagram Building):
If you work in finance or have lived in Manhattan long enough, you are likely familiar with The Seagram Building in some capacity. You might’ve dined at Brasserie for their historic power breakfasts, had special dinners at the uber-chic Four Seasons, met for drinks at the incredibly designed Lobster Club or have attended events at The Grill or Pool – upon which, you likely realized that you are in a special place. As a matter of fact, the building is so exclusive that it has its own zip code and is supposedly home to the largest number of billionaires in NYC. Therefore, not too long ago, ownership decided to create an EXECUTIVE ONLY AMENITY FLOOR WITH TERRACE, which we will not be focusing on (but you can read more about here).
Whether it is a hedge fund, family office, private equity fund, investment bank or sovereign wealth fund, 375 Park Avenue is typically categorized in a league of its own when it comes to its prestigious tenant roster. RFR Realty Corp., the owner who also has their headquarters in the building, recognized that being a premier address with architectural significance is likely not enough to attract today’s tenants. Accordingly, they are currently in the process of finalizing construction of their amenity center, dubbed “The Playground”, which features the following perks:
*Amphitheater style seating for hosting important meetings or meetups
*World-famous dining options within the building
390 Park Avenue (Lever House):
The Lever House is one of the first glass curtain-walled office buildings in the Nation. Designed by Gordon Bunschaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill for the Lever Brothers, the tower is a New York City landmark and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Recently purchased by WatermanClark and previously owned by RFR Realty Corp., there is a tremendous amount of vacancy that new ownership inherited. As a result, to revitalize this icon and attract brand-name tenants, ownership decided to undertake a massive $100 million redevelopment of this premier tower. Besides updating and modernizing the infrastructure throughout the building, the developers have consulted with LA-based firm Marmol Radziner to design a tenant-only club, called “Lever Club”, on the entire third floor that will feature the following:
*Private Dining with Bar
*13,450 square feet of outdoor terraces
*Conference and flexible office areas
*Valet Parking in the basement with direct access to office floors
767 Fifth Avenue (The GM Building):
The GM Building is without a doubt one of the most coveted skyscrapers in New York City. Previously home to FAO Schwartz, and now the location of the world’s top producing Apple Store, this storied office tower is one of the few in Manhattan that offers unobstructed Central Park Views. Since being constructed, GM has always been one of the most expensive office towers to lease space in as well. As such, with the ever-growing amount of competition in the marketplace, it only makes sense that they would add an amenity center (as well as some other perks if you decide to be a tenant there).
*Lounge with bar
*Fitness center that is fully equipped with spin, yoga & goup fitness studios, showers and changing room facilities.
*Grab & go dining options
*Estee Lauder company store on-site which is exclusively for tenants