Revealed: Meatpacking's Tallest Tower
RockPoint Group's ground-up office development at 412 West 15th St is well on its way to becoming the tallest office building in the Meatpacking District. But it wasn't originally supposed to be an office building at all.
In 2014, Rockpoint picked up a stake in a development site at 412 West 15th St, but by early 2015, the firm determined that the city’s hotel market was headed for trouble.
“We definitely saw the wind blowing that way, and we wanted to get on top of it quickly,” RockPoint managing member Paisley Boney tells Bisnow.
In the coming months, worries about an oversupplied hotel market hit the real estate news cycle, but by then RockPoint had another idea: a pivot to an office project.
Why not? There’d been just one other ground-up office project built in the area in recent years, and Google’s nearby NYC HQ was helping to fuel well-known demand for tech tenants to be in the area. (That's Google's HQ at 11 Eighth Ave all the way to the right, with 412 West 15th St in the center.)
The firm had a sense of the neighborhood’s office market because it had recently done a repositioning down the street at 430 West 15th St, where it signed the data analytics company Palantir to a 77k SF lease. With that lease locked down, Rockpoint and its JV partner, Atlas Capital Group, sold that building to TIAA CREF for $140M in fall 2014.
But architecture firm Cetra Ruddy had to retool its design to make 412 West 15th St (rendered here) work as an office building.
“The switch basically required starting over from scratch,” Paisley tells us.
The plus side?
Zoning changes that would have mandated a shorter building won’t apply to the project, since plans were filed before those changes took effect.
The property is really two properties: 415 West 15th St, where an 18-story tower broke ground a few months ago, and 413 West 14th St, which adjoins the site of the tower from the back.
The Meilman family are longtime owners of 413 West 14th St, and still own the ground underneath it, but are leasing that ground to RockPoint for 99 years and taking a small stake in a repositioning of the building to attract high-end office tenants to its 34k SF floor plates.
CBRE’s Paul Amrich, who’s got the project’s leasing assignment, tells us rents will likely be in the $90s/SF on the lower-slung 14th Street side of the project, and closer to $130/SF in the tower.
(860 Washington, the neighborhood’s only other recent ground-up office project, is asking between $140/SF and $200/SF for office space.)
“If you’d asked me two years ago for a project like this, I’d have said ‘tech, tech, tech,’” Paul says.
But he’s seeing interest from boutique financial firms, fashion and entertainment tenants and a range of users that haven’t traditionally been in the Meatpacking District.
One of the keys to that, Paul says, is that other places in the city where you’ll find new construction office buildings—especially Hudson Yards or the World Trade Center complex—don't have spaces for smaller tenants.
The 6k SF plates on the tower floors are helping fuel demand from users that want new space but can’t fill big floors.
A video produced by Neoscape gives a sense, from just about every conceivable angle, of what the project will look like when it’s done. Paisley tells us it was done with the aid of drones.
The project is expected to welcome its first tenants to start their build-outs about a year from now.