Vintage Penn Station tower lands high-paying tenant after $450M facelift: sources

“Flight to quality” doesn’t mean that office tenants in today’s challenged market invariably gravitate to brand-new towers.

The phenomenon includes demand for properties built in the ancient 20th Century that are “new” thanks to hundreds of millions of dollars of reinvestment.

Vornado Realty Trust spent $450 million to redesign and reposition the once-obsolescent office tower that’s now known as PENN 1 on Seventh Avenue between West 31st and 33rd streets.

The transformation of the 1970s-vintage, 2.5-million square-foot property has steadily paid off in new office leases.

Now, neighborhood sources say, the building has scored its largest financial services lease since the redevelopment began. 

We’re told that Canaccord Genuity Group signed for 75,000 square feet on two floors.

Vintage tower PENN 1 scored its largest financial services lease since undergoing a $450 million facelift, sources said.
Vintage tower PENN 1 scored its largest financial services lease since undergoing a $450 million facelift, sources said.
Credit: Vornado Realty Trust

Our brokerage-world buddies said the asking rent was $103 per square foot, a huge jump over the mid-$60s Vornado was asking just two years ago.

Canaccord, which through subsidiaries specializes in wealth management and capital-markets investments, will move from 535 Madison Ave. and 33 Whitehall St. next year, we’re told.

The deal brings new, renewal and expansion leases at PENN 1 to 800,000 square feet in the past two years.

The most recent office lease prior to Canaccord’s was for 36,000 sf for a Samsung unit.  Other major tenants include  Dell, Empire Heath, Cisco, Hartford Insurance, Jacobs Engineering, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo.

Approximately 370,000 square feet remain available, according to online databases.

In addition to new triple-pane windows, improvements at PENN 1 include more than 160,000 square feet of “WorkLife” amenities on the first three floors. Among them are a new wellness center called Life Time that we reported recently. 

There is also full-service restaurant The Landing and 100,000 square feet of flexible workspace and conference facilities. A new Roberta’s satellite of the Brooklyn original also signed a lease for a small Vornado building attached to PENN 1.

PENN 1 is half of a two-building “campus” with an upgraded PENN 2, which is to open by the end of the year.

The properties also boast improved entrances to subways and Penn Station. They’re part of Vornado’s $2 billion overall upgrades to its Penn-area buildings.

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