BDO Seidman Inks 121,000SF Lease at 100 Park Avenue

BDO Seidman signed a 15-year lease to occupy 121,400 square feet of office space on three floors at Manhattan’s 100 Park Avenue. The transaction, for which financial terms were not disclosed, raises building occupancy from 67 percent to 80 percent. The 100 Park Avenue building (pictured), owned by SL Green Realty Corp., is nearing completion of a $72 million capital improvement program. The redevelopment includes a new two-story atrium lobby, complete re-cladding of the façade featuring a glass curtain wall along Park Ave., 2,000 new insulated windows, new elevator cabs and infrastructure upgrades. The building is on track to receive Silver LEED designation. Other tenants of the building are J&W Seligman & Co.; Impala Asset Management; Sun Capital Advisors; and Kreindler & Kreindler L.L.P. BDO Seidman, a financial consulting and accounting firm, is scheduled to take occupancy in January of 2009. The tenant was attracted to 100 Park due to its proximity to Grand Central Station, and also by the building’s large floorplates and ongoing upgrades at the building, said Steven Durels, executive vice president & director of leasing and real property for SL Green. “The tenant was very analytical,” Durels said. “They put every building they looked at through its paces.” Howard Ecker of Howard Ecker & Co. represented BDO Seidman in the transaction, while Cushman & Wakefield Inc.’s Paul Glickman, Tara Stacom, Mitti Liebersohn, Alexander Chudnoff, Diana Biasotti and Jonathan Tootell acted on SL Green’s behalf. According to a mid-year report on the Manhattan office market from Cushman & Wakefield, the overall office vacancy rate for the borough increased to 7.1 percent, up 1.8 percentage points from this time last year, and its highest level since the third quarter of 2006. Manhattan’s three submarkets–Midtown, Midtown South and Downtown–all experienced rises in vacancy from the previous quarter. Midtown’s overall vacancy increased to 7.1 percent, Midtown South increased to 5.9 percent, and Downtown reached 7.7 percent. But the report found that despite the increase in vacancy, asking rents continued to increase, albeit at a slower pace than a year ago. Overall asking rents for Manhattan reached $71.59 per square foot, up nearly 7 percent from $67.13 per square foot at the end of the first quarter of 2008, and up 21 percent from $59.17 per square foot at this time last year. Class A asking rents in Midtown hit a new record of $92.30 per square foot. Financial services accounted for only 14.1 percent of leasing activity, the second most active industry segment at mid-year, the report found. One year ago, financial services accounted for more than one third of all Manhattan leasing activity. But Durels said there is still a lot of leasing activity in Manhattan, noting that SL Green has signed leases totaling approximately 1 million square feet of office space in its Manhattan portfolio this year. “We are guarded,” he said, but coming into this year, he thought “activity would be much more spotty.” Firms engaged in finance, such as accounting firms and hedge funds, are actively leasing space, but activity has dropped sharply from large investment and commercial banks, he said. “More space is going to come on to the market, and that will make things more competitive,” he said.