Fosun, JLL Team Up to Lease NYC’s One Chase Manhattan Plaza

A year after acquiring One Chase Manhattan Plaza for $725 million, Fosun Property Holdings is nearing completion of the 2.2-million-square-foot Manhattan tower’s repositioning and has enlisted JLL to facilitate leasing.

One year after acquiring One Chase Manhattan Plaza from JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A. for $725 million, Fosun Property Holdings is nearing completion of the 2.2-million-square-foot Manhattan skyscraper’s repositioning and, in preparation, has joined forces with commercial real estate services firm JLL to facilitate leasing. One million square feet of premier office space will be up for grabs beginning in January 2015.

JLL is confident about the market. “Demand from large tenants has exceeded expectations, witness the commitments Downtown this year alone from Time Inc., BNY Mellon, MacMillan Publishing and Revlon to name a few notables,” John Wheeler, managing director and head of JLL’s Downtown Manhattan office, told Commercial Property Executive. “The pipeline is active and creates expectations for this trend to continue.”

Sited at 16-48 Liberty St. in Manhattan’s Financial District, One Chase Manhattan was erected as Chase Manhattan Bank’s headquarters 53 years ago, with David Rockefeller himself spearheading the development of the Gordon-Bunshaft-designed tower. For Fosun, the property marks the Shanghai-based company’s first office project in the U.S.

“With Fosun’s comprehensive redevelopment plan, One Chase Manhattan will represent a unique environment combining the attractive physical attributes of this [designated] landmark asset with a diversified amenity base and cultural activities,” Wheeler said. “These amenities and activities target today’s workforce, who increasingly seek more from their environment than simple office space.”

In the redevelopment process, Fosun will take advantage of  a below-grade space, which Wheeler  describes as a “unique and little known” aspect of the property that was historically used for JPMorgan’s support functions,  by combining it with the existing lobby level retail to provide 200,000 square feet of space for high-end retail tenants. “Fosun is working with their design teams to create a rich, diverse offering for the office, residential and tourist populations,” he added.

JLL isn’t targeting any specific user groups for the available space at One Chase Manhattan. As Wheeler noted, the top industry relocations in lower Manhattan over the last four years have come from the TAMI (technology, advertising, media and information) businesses. Those sectors will be on JLL’s radar, as will the FIRE (finance, insurance and real estate) sectors. The firm considers the entire office-user market its oyster. “We can say a fundamental part of our job will be to continue talking to tenants in Midtown and Midtown South about the merits of Lower Manhattan, not just our asset,” Wheeler added. “About 56 percent of new leases signed Downtown since 2010 have been migrations from these locations.”

Indeed, the Downtown submarket is doing well, with strong leasing activity from both small- and medium-sized tenants helping push the vacancy rate down to 11.3 percent, the lowest level since September 2012, in the second quarter, according to a report by JLL. And in the Financial District in particular, the vacancy rate was just 6.9 percent. JLL believes that between market conditions and Fosun’s direction, One Chase Manhattan’s occupancy will climb and climb.

“Though it may seem a bit self-serving to note, [Fosun executives] have displayed their acumen early by assembling an all-star team of local talent around them to execute their plans,” Wheeler said. “The architects, engineers, construction managers, management, leasing and legal teams all are household names in the local community with proven track records of success.”