As Manhattan’s office market wobbles unsteadily into 2023, with rising availability and shrinking corporate footprints, certain landlords have at least something to celebrate: a record number of new leases signed for more than $100 per square foot.

The year 2022 saw 77 leases in the C-note club, up from 56 in 2021, according to a new survey from JLL.

According to JLL’s Year-End Recap, leases signed at $100-and-up per square foot totaled 6.1 million square feet, more than double the amount of premium-priced floor space signed in 2021.

The report by JLL vice-chairman Cynthia Wasserberger, who worked with colleagues Carlee Palmer and Margaux Kelleher, cites a number of eye-popping stats:

  • An unprecedented fifteen transactions for a total 280,000 square feet had starting rents of $200-plus. At SL Green’s One Vanderbilt, two different smaller leases hit $300 psf.
  • Leasing was dominated by “flight to quality” moves to brand-new towers and to older ones that were significantly upgraded. In fact, 62% of the priciest new leases were in such properties.
  • Landlords who landed the most premium-rent tenants were Brookfield Properties with 16 deals totaling 1.6 million square feet; SL Green with 17 deals for 842,000 sf; Related Companies with 11 deals for 703,000 sf; and RFR Realty which closed 19 deals for 386,000 sf.

JLL didn’t name specific tenants in the $100-and-up club. But mega-deals reported in 2022 included GFL Environmental at SL Green’s One Vanderbilt; IBM at SL Green’s One Madison; Global Relay UA at the Durst Organization’s 1155 Sixth Ave.; Vista Equity Partners at Related’s 50 Hudson Yards, and PDT and Deutsche Bank at Related’s Deutsche Bank Center at Columbus Circle.

One Vanderbilt
GFL Environmental at SL Green’s One Vanderbilt was one of the mega-deals reported in 2022.
Anthony Quintano via Flickr
50 Hudson Yards
Vista Equity Partners at Related’s 50 Hudson Yards was another premium lease last year.
Kyodo News via Getty Images

Not every sky-priced lease was for less space than a tenant had previously, but all reflected the overwhelming “flight to quality” that gives owners of Class A-plus properties a huge advantage over the rest of the field.

Wasserberger called the premium-lease boom “further evidence of resiliency and relevance in top-of-the-market properties.”

“Many tenants elected to commit to higher-end space while focusing on right-sizing their operations post-COVID,” Wasserberger said “The trend of ‘paying more for less’ and prioritizing quality over quantity benefitted top properties more than ever.”

“Right-sizing” usually means downsizing. The classic 2022 case was KPMG’s 450,000 square-foot lease at Brookfield’s Two Manhattan West. The year’s largest single new lease actually represented a loss of 350,000 square feet from KPMG’s current three locations.

How much the firm is paying for its new digs is not known, however.


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