Two major tech companies are vying for office space at the former James A. Farley Post Office in Manhattan. The New York Post reported on Tuesday that Facebook and Apple both want to lease space at the former post office which is being converted by Vornado Realty Trust into a mixed-use site with 740,000 square feet of office space and a new train hall underneath. In September, it was reported that Facebook was in advanced talks for office space, but according to the Post, Apple has “suddenly decided it, too, wants all four floors of Farley’s office space.”
Vornado Realty Trust
Via Vornado Realty Trust and Rudin Management Company
A tentative joint venture between two developers could bring another supertall to Midtown East. Vornado Realty Trust and Rudin Management Company may team up to develop a 1,450-foot office tower at 350 Park Avenue, the Real Deal reported Friday. A leaked brochure for the potential project includes renderings of the proposed tower, revealing a glassy building with a series of setbacks that would allow for outdoor terraces and floorplates of various sizes.
Via Vornado Realty Trust and Robert A.M. Stern Architects
Update 1/29/19: The penthouse officially closed on January 23, 2019, for $239,958,219, more than was originally reported.
Billionaire Ken Griffin has closed on a penthouse at 220 Central Park South for $238 million, setting the record for the most expensive home ever sold in the United States, as the Wall Street Journal first reported. Griffin, who founded Citadel, first signed the contract to buy a 24,000-square-foot unit at the under-construction tower in 2015. The hedge fund mogul reportedly picked up the pricey digs as “a place to stay when he’s in town,” since his company is looking to expand its footprint in New York City.
REIT Vornado Realty Trust expects to be starting work on the first phase of renovation at Pennsylvania Plaza before the end of this year according to CEO Steve Roth, The Real Deal reports. The $200 million “megacampus” redevelopment project plan for the 2.5 million-square-foot building at One Penn Plaza–including a double-height lobby–is expected to be completed in two years. In 2016 Vornado released renderings for Two Penn Plaza by starchitect Bjarke Ingels. New renderings were released Wednesday on the company’s website.
Google Street View of 666 Fifth Avenue
Kushner Companies has agreed to purchase the remaining 49.5 percent stake in 666 Fifth Avenue from Vornado Realty Trust for $120 million, nearly wrapping up the drawn-out saga of the problem-plagued condo tower. According to the Wall Street Journal, Vornado said the contract with Kushner is expected to close in the third quarter of this year and is conditional and “there can be no assurance that this transaction will be completed.”
Kushner Cos. first purchased the 41-story building in 2007 for a record $1.8 billion, but the economic recession created enormous financial strain for the company. To help restructure the building’s major debt, they brought in Vornado, which purchased the stake in the building for $80 million and the assumption of half the property’s $1.2 billion mortgage in 2011.
Rendering via BIG
Instead of razing and redeveloping its 2 Penn Plaza office tower, Vornado Realty Trust said on Tuesday it will simply renovate the building. As Commercial Observer reported, the company’s CEO, Steven Roth, said earlier plans of demolishing the 31-story tower and grabbing 5 million square feet of development rights from Madison Square Garden to build a bigger tower, would not be feasible. Moving forward with option B, Vornado will likely stick with designs from Bjarke Ingels Group. More than two years ago, BIG revealed renderings that showed a wave-like canopy of glass panels that would envelope 2 Penn Plaza above the retail entrances on the ground floor.
Google Street View of 666 Fifth Avenue
Update 4/9/18: Vornado announced on Friday that it reached a “handshake” deal to sell its stake at 666 Fifth Avenue back to the Kushner Cos, according to the New York Times. It remains unclear if the Kushners have found a new partner. Steven Roth, chairman of Vornado, in the filing, said the payment would cover the company’s investment: “The existing loan will be repaid including payment to us of the portion of the debt we hold.”
Kushner Cos. said this week it is in talks to buy the remaining 49.5 percent stake in 666 Fifth Avenue from Vornado Realty Trust, furthering the drama at the 41-story Midtown Manhattan office building, according to the Wall Street Journal. The tower has remained one of Kushner Cos. most financially troubled projects. In addition to its debt and high rates of vacancy, the building has been mired in controversy, mostly due to Jared Kushner’s role as a senior adviser and son-in-law to President Donald Trump. While Jared divested in the property to avoid conflicts of interest, investors have been reluctant from entering a deal with Kushner Cos.
Recognizing life sciences as New York City’s next largest growth sector, Vornado Realty Trust and Related Companies hope to attract tech companies to the redevelopment of the James A. Farley Post Office. The joint venture will develop 850,000 square feet of commercial space, with roughly 730,000 square feet set aside for office space. The developers, which have a 99-year lease, are seeking biotechnology and pharmaceutical businesses as tenants, according to the Wall Street Journal. The team has hired a Boston-based broker with experience in the life-sciences real-estate market and has also created a brochure with possible designs for laboratory and office space. The brochure is titled “Moynihan Research Center at Farley.”
Earlier this month, New York City officially pitched four neighborhoods to house Amazon’s HQ2: Long Island City, the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, Lower Manhattan and Midtown West. During its third-quarter earnings call Tuesday, Vornado Realty Trust said the Moynihan Train Hall remains at the forefront of the city’s Midtown West bid, citing the project’s proposed 730,000 square feet of office space and 120,000 square feet of retail as meeting the retailer’s key requirements (h/t Commercial Observer). Vornado, along with Related Companies, Skanska USA, and architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, is converting the former James A. Farley Post Office into the Moynihan Train Hall, an effort led by Governor Andrew Cuomo to create a world-class transit center.
A previous rendering of 666 Fifth Avenue, courtesy of Kushner Companies/Zaha Hadid Architects
Instead of the 41-story Midtown tower becoming an 80-story office building with hotel rooms and luxury housing, 666 Fifth Avenue will now get a much more simple upgrade. According to Bloomberg, Vornado Realty Trust, the project’s partner alongside Kushner Companies, told brokers the property will remain an office building, with“mundane” renovations planned. As one of the most financially troubled developments for Kushner Cos., the Fifth Ave project has been losing money since its purchase was first coordinated by Jared Kushner, currently a senior advisor to President Donald Trump, in 2007.