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Ken Griffin Moving Forward On Park Avenue Skyscraper With Vornado, Rudin

Ken Griffin is moving forward with his bid to remake a piece of New York City's skyline.

Citadel and Citadel Securities have agree to move their NYC offices to the new tower at 350 Park Ave., co-owned by Citadel founder Ken Griffin, Vornado and the Rudin family.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said Tuesday that the Citadel founder, along with partners Vornado Realty Trust and Rudin Management, are moving forward with a 1.8M SF office tower at 350 Park Ave. Griffin's firms, the hedge fund Citadel and market maker Citadel Securities, would occupy more than 800K SF in the 62-story building.

Adams released renderings for the tower at a breakfast meeting hosted by nonprofit organization Association for a Better New York. 

“We are doubling down on our efforts to build a ‘New’ New York with a project that will help supercharge our economy and expand New York City’s iconic skyline,” Adams said in a statement.

The building is expected to house some 6,000 jobs in Midtown Manhattan by the time of its 2032 completion date and would create a new, 12K SF public space at the corner of Park Avenue and East 52nd Street. That includes the 2,100-strong workforce of Griffin's firms, which are expected to grow by the time they move to the building in eight years.

As part of the development deal, the Griffin-Vornado-Rudin venture would provide $35.8M to the East Midtown Public Realm Improvement Fund, although it still has to make it through the city’s approval processes, which it is expected to enter next year, per a release from the mayor’s office. The tower will be designed by UK-based architecture firm Foster + Partners.

“I am excited to partner with Vornado and Rudin to build a new, iconic office tower for our growing team at the most sought-after address on Park Avenue,” Griffin said in a statement. “The building will provide our colleagues with an extraordinary environment to collaborate, create and deliver on behalf of our investors in Citadel and clients of Citadel Securities.”

A street-level rendering of 350 Park Ave., the 1.8M SF tower planned by Vornado, Rudin and Ken Griffin.

The deal between Griffin, Vornado and Rudin first became public in December 2022 and closed during the first quarter of 2023, per public filings from Vornado.

The firms entered into a joint venture that valued the development at about $1.2B. Griffin had the option to acquire a 60% interest in the venture, with Vornado owning 36% and Rudin owning a 4% equity stake and a $250M preferred equity interest.

Griffin's firms signed a 15-year, 850K SF lease at the new tower, with renewal options, to move its primary NYC offices from 425 Park Ave., which last week secured a $911M refinancing package.

The buildings at 350 Park and 40 East 52nd St., owned by Vornado and Rudin, respectively, were rolled into the venture with Griffin, along with a neighboring site at 39 E. 51st St. that Vornado and Rudin bought for $40M, according to Vornado's filings.

Griffin also has the option to purchase the site outright for $1.4B and cut Vornado and Rudin out of the project, but Tuesday's announcement seems to preclude that as a possibility. 

“350 Park Avenue, anchored by two of the most successful financial firms of our time, Citadel and Citadel Securities, will reinforce New York City as the financial capital of the world and Park Avenue as the premier business boulevard,” Vornado Chairman and CEO Steven Roth said in a statement. 

The joint venture entered into contract to buy the air rights above nearby St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue in December in order to pursue the development. Three months later, it entered into a similar contract for the air rights over Saint Bartholomew’s Church. The two deals will provide a combined $150M for the maintenance of the two landmarks, per the mayor's office.

The announcement was disrupted by protestors from a group called Planet Over Profit who stormed the stage, accusing Adams of failing working-class New Yorkers and being in the pocket of the real estate industry. Adams cast off the disruption and the criticisms, The New York Times reported, saying that it was an attempt to hinder the city’s progress.