Bessemer Trust Takes 7 Floors at 1271 Ave. of the Americas

The wealth management fund is the fifth major tenant Rockefeller Group announced for the iconic Midtown Manhattan skyscraper, which is undergoing a $600 million redevelopment.
1271 Ave. of the Americas
1271 Ave. of the Americas

Rockefeller Group continues filling up 1271 Ave. of the Americas, the 48-story Midtown Manhattan skyscraper, currently in the midst of a $600 million redevelopment. Bessemer Trust leased 239,000 square feet at the tower, which marks the fifth major lease signed in less than 24 months, bringing the building’s occupancy to 70 percent.

Bessemer, a wealth management fund, will move from 630 Fifth Ave. to the top seven floors of 1271 Ave. of the Americas in 2021. The iconic 2.1 million-square-foot tower is located on the west side of Sixth Avenue, between 50th and 51st streets.

“Since our founding more than 111 years ago, we have been committed to delivering an exceptional experience for our clients and employees. This move delivers on that commitment and reinforces our long-standing dedication to the New York City area,” Marc Stern, Bessemer Trust CEO, said in a prepared statement.

1271 Ave. of the Americas
Restored lobby at 1271 Ave. of the Americas

Bessemer joins Major League Baseball, Mizuho Americas and two major law firms, Blank Rome and Latham & Watkins, which have all signed leases since the Rockefeller Group began renovating the 59-year-old tower, formerly known as the Time & Life Building. The redevelopment is scheduled for completion by the end of 2019, when some of the tenants will move in. The project includes a new glass curtain wall—more than 450,000 square feet of glass—as well as restoration of the building’s landmark lobby, new elevators, entrances, plazas and building systems.

The extensive renovations were designed by architectural firm Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and began in 2016, after Rockefeller Group had cleared the building of tenants.

 “We are pleased that Bessemer Trust recognized the impressiveness of the renovations being made to 1271 Avenue of the Americas, as well as the desirability of the building’s location, and elected to relocate to the building,” Ed Guiltinan, senior vice president & head of leasing in New York for Rockefeller Group, said in prepared remarks. “We continue to be encouraged by the high level of interest we are receiving from prospective tenants for the remaining space in the building.”

Bessemer Trust was represented by a Cushman & Wakefield leasing team led by Executive Chairman John Cefaly and a Cushman & Wakefield financial-consulting team led by Peyton Horn. Building ownership was represented by an in-house leasing team led by Guiltinan and a CBRE team including Mary Ann Tighe, Howard Fiddle, John Maher, Dave Caperna, Evan Haskell and Sarah Pontius.

Major leases

In October 2016, Major League Baseball was the first tenant to lease space, agreeing to take 400,000 square feet on six floors. The deal also calls for MLB to use the street-level plaza for public events and have exclusive use of the eighth-floor outdoor terrace. MLB and MLB Advanced Media LP will be consolidating employees from Midtown and downtown locations in 2019.

Mizuho Americas, the U.S. division of Japanese bank Mizuho Financial Group, signed a lease in June 2017, for 148,000 square feet in the building, where it will consolidate employees from three  Manhattan locations.

In the spring, two law firms announced they were leasing space at the tower. Blank Rome will be taking 138,000 square feet of space when it relocates from the Chrysler Building in 2019, and Latham & Watkins will lease 407,000 square feet across more than 10 floors when it moves its office from 885 Third Ave. (the Lipstick Building) in 2020.

The Latham & Watkins transaction was the second-largest lease signed in Manhattan during the second quarter, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s Marketbeat Manhattan Office Q2 2018 report. The report noted new leasing activity reached 9.1 million square feet in the second quarter, only the third time quarterly leasing exceeded 9.0 million square feet. Midtown vacancy dropped 10 basis points during the quarter to 9.2 percent, with above-average leasing activity driving the vacant subleasing space down to its lowest quarterly level since 2016. Vacancy in the Sixth Avenue/Rock Center submarket, where 1271 Avenue of the Americas is located, dropped to a two-year quarterly low of 8.0 percent, thanks to four new leases greater than 100,000 square feet.

Leasing in both the Sixth Avenue/Rock Center and Penn Station submarkets pushed year-to-date new leasing activity up 5.8 percent from a year ago, marking the third-highest volume of mid-year leasing since 2002, surpassed only by 2011 and 2015.

Images courtesy of Rockefeller Group