Muss Signs FEMA to 200 KSF Lease for Sandy Regional HQ in Queens; IndCor Donates Space to Red Cross

FEMA has leased about 200,000 square feet at Forest Hills Tower in Queens to serve as its New York City headquarters while it helps residents and business owners in the region recover from Superstorm Sandy. At the same time, IndCor Properties donated 126,000 square feet of space to the American Red Cross, located near hard-hit areas.

New East Coast FEMA headquarters

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has leased about 200,000 square feet at Forest Hills Tower in Queens to serve as its New York City headquarters while it helps residents and business owners in the region recover from Superstorm Sandy.

The deal for the 375,000-square-foot, Class A Tower at 118-35 Queens Blvd. in Forest Hills, Queens, is described as a several-month transaction with the option for short-term lease extensions. FEMA will be leasing 10 stories in the 17-story building owned by Muss Development. The space will be only for administrative offices. There will be no on-site access to the public.

Moving quickly to get the FEMA office up and running, the parties closed the transaction within 48 hours. Ken Siegel of Jones Lang LaSalle represented Muss Development while Mark Greenspan of CBRE represented the U.S. General Services Administration on behalf of FEMA.

The largest Class A office building in Queens, Forest Hills Tower is close to highways and mass transit, a short distance to both JFK International Airport and LaGuardia Airport and centrally located to reach all five New York City boroughs, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties, New Jersey and Connecticut.

“Throughout our company’s history, Muss Development has maintained a commitment to civic responsibility,” said Jason Muss, principal of Muss Development. “Forest Hills Tower is a superb Class A venue that perfectly suits FEMA for extending its critical reach throughout our area affected by the hurricane. We are proud to have been able to act swiftly to meet their needs.”

Muss said the short-term lease with FEMA will not impact ongoing leasing discussions with potential tenants because it will be temporary. The former headquarters of Jet Blue airlines, Forest Hills Towers’ current tenant list includes Muss Development, Con Edison, Mutual of America, Massey Knakel Realty Services and several law firms. The building is undergoing a major capital improvement plan including installing new HVAC and building management systems, upgrading elevator cabs and renovating lobbies, outdoor plazas and patios. Constructed in 1981, the tower was built as a “building-within-a-building” and has two separate entrances and lobbies.

While Muss did not release the rent FEMA will be paying, average base rents are in the $30s, according to the company’s Web site.

Muss Development is also providing about 40,000 square feet of space across its office and retail portfolio in Staten Island and Queens to businesses that have been displaced by the storm in conjunction with the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s Business Capacity Exchange.

The company is more than 100 years old and is the largest development company in the boroughs of New York City. It has developed more than 10 million square feet of commercial, residential, industrial and retail properties.

In New Jersey, IndCor Properties is also doing its part to help in the aftermath of the hurricane. The company, which owns and manages industrial properties, has provided the American Red Cross with use of a 126,000-square-foot distribution building for 90 days. Located in Jersey City, N.J., the site is in close proximity to many areas hard hit by Sandy, including Jersey City and Hoboken in New Jersey and New York City and Staten Island in New York.

“People are without homes, power and supplies they need. We’re fortunate to be able to help and provide whatever we can to restore and rebuild the communities that have faced this disaster,” said Tim Beaudin, IndCor CEO.

Headquartered in Chicago, IndCor owns and manages over 82 million square feet located in 40 key logistics market in 23 states. It was formed in 2010 as a portfolio company of The Blackstone Group.