Mitsui Fudosan Lands 100 KSF Manhattan Lease

The American arm of the Japanese real estate giant enticed Akerman to expand into its signature Midtown skyscraper.
1251 Avenue of the Americas. Image courtesy of Mitsui Fudosan America

Law firm Akerman LLP will expand into 100,000 square feet of office space at 1251 Avenue of the Americas, Mitsui Fudosan America Inc.’s flagship Manhattan tower, bringing the building to 98 percent occupancy. Akerman’s new lease commitment spans the entire 37th and 38th floors, as well as part of the 35th floor of the 2.4 million-square-foot skyscraper.

The rapidly growing legal firm, housed at 666 Fifth Ave., signed up for the new space to accommodate up to 185 lawyers in its New York office, up from the current headcount of 126. The expansion gives Miami-based Akerman an additional presence in the Sixth Avenue corridor of corporate towers.

READ ALSO: Law Firm Signs 100 KSF Lease at 55 Hudson Yards

Built in 1970, 1251 Avenue of the Americas rises 54 stories in Midtown Manhattan, between 49th and 50th Streets, and across from Rockefeller Center. Mitsui Fudosan America, the U.S. arm of Japan’s largest real estate firm, purchased the building in 1986 for $610 million. The company noted in a statement that it continually improves the asset through capital investments and operational upgrades.

Major tenants of the property include DLA Piper, Mizuho Corporate Bank, MUFG Union Bank, Trust Co. of the West, Sandler O’Neill, Waterfall Asset Management and Rothschild Inc., among other financial, legal and real estate firms.

Office Space in High Demand

Sixth Avenue. Image courtesy of Patrick Nouhailler via Flickr

The Akerman deal comes near the end of a sluggish year for office leasing in Midtown Manhattan. CBRE reported that the submarket saw 2.94 million square feet of total leasing activity in the third quarter, 32 percent below the five-year quarterly average—marking the third consecutive quarter of subpar performance. Nevertheless, the brokerage firm noted that demand is still healthy, with several large leases for up to 3 million square feet expected to close in late 2019 and early 2020.

In addition, a broker with CBRE recently told The New York Post that the 45.7 million square feet comprising the Sixth Avenue submarket from 42nd Street to 56th Street has the lowest availability rate in Manhattan at 9.5 percent, down from 10.8 percent since year-end 2018. Average asking rents climbed to $78.74 per square foot, from $62.73 at the end of 2009.

Elsewhere in Manhattan, Mitsui Fudosan America also owns the office building at 527 Madison Ave. and is a major player in the $16 billion Hudson Yards project on the West Side, where it owns majority stakes in the new 55 Hudson Yards tower and the 78-story skyscraper under development at 50 Hudson Yards.