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NEW YORK CITY-Alexander Turney Stewart, founder of the department store concept and Garden City, Long Island, built his first mega-store here at 280 Broadway. Now, painstaking restoration of its original architectural style is two months from completion and its exclusive leasing agent, Robert K. Futterman & Associates LLC, is engaged in a number of lease negotiations. Chase has signed a lease, as has the New York City Department of Buildings.

Chase Manhattan Bank’s recent deal for 245 Park Ave., combined with Bear Stearns’ deal at the same property, for a combined total of 787,785 sf was one of the biggest deals of 2000. When reported (on GlobeSt.com Nov. 28), it was tangled in a number of rumors about the future of Chase’s real estate, given the pending merger between the company and J. P. Morgan and the pending expiration of Chase’s lease for 55 Water St.

With a number of lease deals pending, according to sources, Chase seems to be looking for large-scale expansion rather than elimination of space as it plans for its merger. It will take parts of the first and second floors, as well as part of the basement at 280 Broadway for retail space. It is one of two tenants leasing agent Howard I. Gilbert, senior managing director of RFK, would confirm with GlobeSt.com. The other is the DOB lease.

The DOB (in the news on GlobeSt.com Sept. 29 regarding indictments of several of its high ranking officials) will occupy floors three through six, according to Gilbert. The building has approximately 240,000 sf of space, with about 175,000 sf of the office space going to the DOB. With the Chase deal, there are approximately 50,000 sf of retail space left. Gilbert says the space on the second floor can be used either as office or retail space.

The building was first opened in 1846 and became known as the “Marble Palace” as it was a white marble structure inspired by Italian palazzos. It was one of the first examples of Renaissance Revival architecture. When Stewart moved his department store down Broadway between 9th and 10th Streets, the site was converted into the headquarters of the Sun Newspaper and later housed municipal offices.

While, as seems exemplified in this latest deal, Chase seems to be gobbling up space here in Manhattan, and across the river in New Jersey, the future of J.P. Morgan’s real estate holdings remains a matter of guesswork and conjecture. The company owns 60 Wall St. and offices are maintained at 522 Fifth Ave. and 345 Park Ave. Neither J. P. Morgan nor Chase are prepared to comment on these properties at this time, but certainly the industry awaits the answers and GlobeSt.com will track them.

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