Greenhill & Co. Signs 78 KSF Lease at Rockefeller Center Building

The global independent investment bank will occupy the last available full floors in the redeveloped Sixth Avenue tower formerly known as the Time & Life Building.
1271 Avenue of the Americas. Image courtesy of Howard Watler/Rockefeller Group

Greenhill & Co. has leased nearly 78,000 square feet at 1271 Avenue of the Americas, a 2.1 million-square-foot Class A office building in Manhattan, from the Rockefeller Group. 

Completed in 1959 and formerly known as the Time & Life Building, the 48-story tower is in the midst of a $600 million redevelopment program. Greenhill & Co. will relocate next year from its current home at 300 Park Ave., to take the entire 20th and 21st floors of the building.

“The Greenhill lease largely signifies the completion of a six-year redevelopment project, spanning planning, renovations, marketing and leasing,” Daniel Moore, Rockefeller Group’s president & CEO, told Commercial Property Executive. “In 2016, when physical renovations began, we were looking ahead to 100 percent vacancy at the end of 2017. From there we’ve now leased more than 1.9 million square feet, hitting close to 100 percent occupancy and that’s really validated the planning and redevelopment as a major success.” The Rockefeller Group is approximately six months from completion, on or ahead of schedule. 

“The building has been completely overhauled and modernized. The entire glass curtain wall has been replaced, with 450,000 square feet of new glass, bringing in as much as 60 percent more light into the building’s interiors,” Moore said. “The lobby, which is landmarked, has been completely restored, and all the elevator cabs and building systems have been replaced.”

Outside, work continues on the Sixth Avenue plaza and side street plaza along West 50th Street, which are in the process of being refurbished and renovated with new fountains, landscaping and seating.

The lease by the independent investment bank brings the building’s occupancy to 98 percent and fills the last full floors of the building. Still remaining are two partial floors of nearly 20,000 square feet each. 

Last year, three of Manhattan’s largest office leases were signed at 1271 Avenue of the Americas. Bessemer Trust leased 239,000 square feet, with two law firms announcing they were also inking deals. Blank Rome will be taking 138,000 square feet when it relocates from the Chrysler Building later this year 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.

Prime location

According to Moore, Sixth Avenue has almost always been popular with some of the city’s major tenants, partly because of the scale and efficiency of the larger, more modern buildings, and partly because of the central location. 

This building is about as centrally located as you can get in Midtown, within walking distance of Grand Central Station, the Port Authority and Penn Station, and it sits above the Rockefeller Center subway. 

“That ease of access for employers, their teams and their clients is one of the strongest selling points.” Moore said. “On top of that, 1271 has historic appeal as the former Time & Life Building, and the first building developed in the expansion of Rockefeller Center to the west side of Sixth Avenue.”

CBRE’s Michael Geoghegan, Andrew Sussman and Peter Gamber represented Greenhill in the deal. Rockefeller Group was represented in-house by Ed Guiltinan and Jennifer Stein, in coordination with a CBRE team of Mary Ann Tighe, Howard Fiddle, John Maher, Evan Haskell and Dave Caperna.