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NEW YORK CITY-Century-old Thomas Publishing Co., which has been a tenant at 5 Penn Plaza when it was first built, signed a 10-year 115,000-sf renewal for four floors. Thomas publishes the world’s largest online database of product information, as well as CD-ROMs and libraries of downloadable CAD drawings. A lease rate for the deal was not released, however space in the Penn Plaza district site is advertised at between $34 and $37 per sf.

Leasing velocity at the 24-story, 608,000-sf, class A office building built in 1916, has substantially increased within recent months, according to CB Richard Ellis, which handles activity at the site. Another tenant in the site, the Steamfitters Industry Trust Funds, also renewed its lease of 13,562 sf also for 10 years.

But it’s not just lease renewals–new tenants are attracted to the site, adjacent to the home of the new Penn Station. Edwards & Kelsey, an engineering firm, negotiated a new lease on the 16th floor, while construction development firm URS, expanded from One Penn Plaza to 5 Penn Plaza on the 13th floor.

“What’s significant is that this recent activity demonstrates a flight to quality, as many tenants desiring a base in the Penn Plaza district are choosing buildings with improved infrastructure,” says Peter Turchin, senior vice president at CBRE, who together with his team spearheads the leasing agency at 5 Penn Plaza. He says these transactions “set the stage” for the next two blocks of space that are coming available within the building, namely the CNN penthouse floors in the third quarter of 2004 and the New York State Department of Health space in the first quarter of 2005.

“The recent announcement that the reconstruction and redesign of Penn Station will begin shortly after the Republican Convention in September of 2004, with completion expected in 2008, makes 5 Penn Plaza one of the most sought-after office locations in the city,” adds Michael Burgio, co-agent and CBRE executive vice president.

The building’s landlord is 461 Eighth Ave. Associates and other tenants include Lucent Technologies, Visiting Nurses Services and retail tenants DMV License Express and Stage Door Delicatessen.

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