Equitable Financial Inks 130 KSF Manhattan Lease

The company will move its headquarters to a Midtown tower owned by Fisher Brothers, as the financial industry continues to embrace office space.
Tenant lounge @Ease1345, 1345 Avenue of the Americas. Image courtesy of Ease Hospitality

Equitable Financial Life Insurance Co. is moving its headquarters from one Midtown Manhattan tower to another, joining other financial services firms that have inked new leases since the coronavirus outbreak emptied out offices across the nation.

The company announced that it has signed a 15-year lease for multiple floors at 1345 Avenue of the Americas, a 50-story skyscraper owned by Fisher Brothers. Equitable, which is currently located two blocks to the south at 1290 Avenue of the Americas, plans to take over the space in 2023. Commercial Property Executive has confirmed reports that the new lease totals 130,000 square feet of New York City office space.

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Located between 54th and 55th streets, near the Museum of Modern Art and Central Park, the tower was completed in 1968 and spans nearly 2 million square feet of Class A office space. Other tenants of the Emery Roth & Sons-designed property include Accenture, AllianceBernstein, Fortress Investment Group, General Motors and Global Infrastructure Partners, according to Fisher Brothers’ website.

The developer is nearing completion of a $100 million-plus overhaul of the tower, where it is adding such high-end amenities as an augmented-reality art experience, an outdoor space with high-end dining and a tenant app. Fisher Brothers recently opened an amenities center dubbed @Ease1345 that includes a conference room, wellness studios, lounges and concierge services at the property. The center is the first location for the developer’s Ease Hospitality amenity brand.

Marc Packman, Clark Briffel and Charles P. Laginestra of Fisher Brothers led the lease negotiations on behalf of the owner, along with CBRE team that included Howard Fiddle, Peter Turchin, Gregg Rothkin, Anthony Dattoma, Benjamin Joseph and William Iacovelli. Equitable was represented by JLL’s Matthew Astrachan, Daniel Turkewitz and Allison Melichar.

Banking on the office

1345 Avenue of the Americas. Image via Google Street View

Equitable, a principal franchise of NYSE-listed Equitable Holdings Inc., has more than 8,000 employees, including more than 2,000 staff in New York state. The company has for decades occupied its current home at 1290 Avenue of the Americas, a 43-story tower owned by Vornado Realty Trust and the Trump Organization.

Vornado recently revealed that it secured big lease renewals from Goldman Sachs and Bank of America at another tower the REIT owns in partnership with the Trump Organization. Last year the financial giants recommitted to space at 555 California St., a trophy skyscraper in San Francisco’s Financial District.

While a number of leading tech firms, from Facebook to Spotify, have embraced the idea of remote work, the financial industry is more eager to bring employees back to their desks in the office.

Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon remarked this week that work-from-home is an “aberration” that the company, which employs 34,000 people globally, would correct “as soon as possible.” Brookfield Asset Management recently revealed to Financial Times that three-quarters of employees at its U.S. headquarters—Brookfield Place in Lower Manhattan—have been working on-site since late November.

Other financial firms that have committed to office space since the start of the pandemic include AIG, which announced in July that it would move its global headquarters from the Financial District to a 325,000-square-foot space at Rockefeller Group’s 1271 Avenue of the Americas in Midtown.

In the same month, Raymond James leased 160,000 square feet at 320 Park Ave., a Midtown tower owned by Mutual of America, according to the New York Post. And in August, FTI Consulting signed a long-term lease for 120,720 square feet at 1166 Avenue of the Americas, between West 45th and West 46th streets.