The more than doubling of Signature Bank’s office space in Manhattan is a testament to the market’s general flight to quality, Thomas Durels, executive vice president, real estate at Empire State Realty Trust, said in announcing the deal.
Signature has now more than doubled its current office space at 1400 Broadway from Empire, expanding by 168,310 square feet from its previous 111,872 square foot office space for a total of 280,182 square feet across 10 full floors.
Durels also cited the superior indoor environmental quality measures of 1400 Broadway as a major benefit for a confident return to office the bank is receiving at the location.
The lease is yet another sign that Manhattan, while not at pre-pandemic levels, is on the road to recovery.
A recent report from CBRE points to more high-end office buildings receiving rents at $100 per square foot.
“Top quality assets—including new or renovated buildings with abundant amenities, modern building systems and easy access to public transportation—have demanded triple digit rents during the pandemic,” CBRE is asserting.
The total square footage in Manhattan’s $100 market is still below pre-pandemic levels on a deal count basis, the firm conceded but it pointed out the number of $100 deals was up 114% from 2020 and 18% above the five-year historical average.
Another indication of strength, CBRE noted, is that 2021 saw the most transactions start at $150-plus since 2016 as well as the most transactions at $200 per square foot and above.
Another positive report came from the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) late last year, when it announced that foot traffic in Manhattan is on the increase.
“Foot traffic remains well short of pre-pandemic levels, but the gains of 2021 seem like a sea change from the depths of 2020….. Retailers that previously steered clear of Manhattan are now signing leases,” the study asserts.
The Board points out the Times Square Alliance reported that an average of 227,180 people visited the neighborhood during October, the most since the pandemic while below the 377,318 visitors averaged in 2019
In another upswing indicator, REBNY notes Manhattan retail sales have increased two consecutive quarters, rising by 1.4% to $36.9 billion in the second quarter, then by 3.8% to $38.3 billion in the third quarter.