375 Pearl St. 375 Pearl St. in Lower Manhattan

NEW YORK CITY— Rafael Viñoly Architects has signed a 20-year agreement with Sabey Data Center Properties, leasing 36,550 square feet, the entire 31st floor at 375 Pearl St. The asking rent for this top floor at the new location was $70 per square foot. In 2019, the architecture firm will move its headquarters from 50 Vandam St. in Hudson Square, where it has resided for 28 years.

Known as the Verizon Building, One Brooklyn Bridge Plaza and Intergate.Manhattan, it was once used as a telephone switch center. (Remember “telephone switch operators”?) Now, 375 Pearl St. houses New York City’s largest, newest and most secure data center, according to Sabey. The Verizon sign incontestably identifies the structure from a distance. 

The building is currently home to several New York City agencies and departments, including police, sanitation, finance and human resources administration. The architecture firm’s lease brings the 900,000 square-foot asset to 80% occupancy with office tenants. Data center users occupy the majority of the tenancy of the remaining space.

The property was originally built in 1975, but in 2016, Sabey replaced the exterior limestone facade on the top 15 stories with glass. Rafael Viñoly will create a mezzanine and build a 500 square-foot outdoor terrace on its leased premises.

In the lease negotiations, CBRE’s Rob Stillman and Gerry Friedman represented the tenant while their CBRE colleagues Gregg Rothkin and Gerry Miovski represented the landlord.

Clete Casper, Sabey’s director of real estate, points to the large floor plates, 23-foot ceiling heights, building elevation and views as the main attractions for the tenant. “The top floor is essentially a blank canvas for the architect to design a great new headquarters that matches the distinctive quality of their well known works in New York City and all over the world,” he adds.

Rafael Viñoly is known in New York City for designing 432 Park Avenue, a 90-floor, 1,396 foot-tall, residential condominium tower, built in 2012. Macklowe Properties in a joint venture with Qatari investment group Qinvest purchased that building in June 2016 for $411.5 million, according to Real Capital Analytics.

Rothkin commends Sabey’s vision in the building’s redesign, which he notes, “has drawn the attention of many firms, including one of the world’s best­ known architects.”