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October 29, 2008



Awaiting only such finishing touches as a commissioned sculpture in the lobby, the $100M gut-and-renovation of the Plaza District's 545 Madison is less than a month away from completion. Developer LCOR’s David Sigman and Jones Lang’s managing director Lisa Kiell took us inside for a sneak peek at the formerly Class C office space, which has been entirely rebuilt into Class A for smaller tenants.


LCOR and BlackRock joint ventured together and did a 75-year ground lease with the Marx family two years ago. Since the 53-year old building was vacant, LCOR had the rare opportunity to totally gut it, replace the existing façade with a glass curtain-wall, and install new elevators and electrical and mechanical systems. The rehabilitation allowed the developer to create more efficient L-shaped floor plates from 6,200 to 9,300 SFturnkey space sized for boutique tenants.


And boutiques are what Lisa and JLL brokers Frank Doyle, David Kleiner and Andrew Flint are aiming for. Although no office deals have been signed, proposals are circulating for a few tenants. The financial market fallout may bode well for the building, as some predict laid-off employees will create their own spin-off firms. The building is now going for $150 SF full-service, compared with its Class C predecessor, which was doing only $20 SF. A ground-floor retail tenant, Alfred Dunhill, signed a 7,000-SF lease in September.


LCOR is pre-building some of the space with high-end finishes. Overall, the interior will be constructed for LEED-CI; David expects LEED Gold upon completion. Some floors will be single tenant, while others can choose to split floors. Lisa says the tenant will have total control of each space’s electrical and heating systems (just in case you had a bad flashback to the college roommate who turned A/C on in the winter).


Lisa and David show off the building’s massive windows. The average office building in Manhattan has windows that are only four to five feet wide; 545 Madison’s are nine feet. And employees don’t have to worry about blocked views—all offices have glass fronts. Some even have walkable terraces. When not working on 545, David—probably the only developer to admit it—sits on his local “NIMBY board,” Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington. With two small kids, talking to us has been Lisa’s only recent break.

Arent Fox
Leo A Daly
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