NEW YORK CITY-The development of 300 Lafayette St. into a mixed-use development—reported on in an earlier story—promises to deliver a unique building that will serve as a marketing gem for both retail and office tenants. At the same time, the Soho property also is cost-effective for its owner, the LargaVista Cos.
The firm has held onto the asset, which formerly played host to a BP gas station, for some time but the time had come to transform it, LargaVista president Marcello Porcelli tells GlobeSt.com.
“Very rarely do you have a new property, with ground up development, in a landmarked district,” says Tom Duke, VP, CBRE, who has served as a consultant on the property for four or five years, along with the firm’s Mary Ann Tighe, CEO of the New York tri-state region, Gregory Tosko, vice chairman, and Lauren Crowley, VP.
“There’s frontage on Houston, Lafayette and Crosby streets, so tenants basically will be sitting on an island onto the face of Soho,” Duke continues. “And the ownership has a low cost basis.”
The building also will be something out of the ordinary because LargaVista is a second-generation firm, he says. “Because new construction costs in Manhattan are so high, CRE developers typically look to build a building that’s nice but not necessarily one where no expense is spared. But there’s a generational thing at play here—LargaVista is a family company where the second generation, which is in their late 30s and early 40s—and it’s always been a goal of ownership to become an iconic building.
The site previously was host to a BP gas station but the time had come to change that, and in a way that seized upon the location, president Marcello Porcelli—of the company’s first generation—tells GlobeSt.com.
“When our lease with BP was coming to an end and I began to focus on this development, I never considered letting go of any control since it is such a prized property,” he says. “But we were able to create such tremendous value through the design and entitlement process that the total development budget was approaching $200 million. Having that much capital tied up in one project is just not the prudent course for us.”
Prospective tenants already are on board, notes Duke, though the building isn’t expected to open until TK.
“We’re already working with a handful of tenants; they run the gamut from the technology, apparel, media and athletic sectors,” he says. “It’s a fantastic branding opportunity because of the three exposures, the design,” and the structure—there’s just one column in the building’s center.
“We’ve been involved for four or five years and it has been a long journey,” Duke says. “We’re excited to bring the project to fruition.”