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NEW YORK CITY-Drawn in part by an opportunity to put its name up in lights, Burberry will move its US headquarters to 68,348 sf at 444 Madison Ave. by Q2 2009. The 42-story Art Deco tower, located between 49th and 50th streets, will sport illuminated Burberry signage in three directions, similar to the building-top logos that have adorned 444 Madison in the past.

“We pretty much zeroed in on this opportunity” rather than consider other sites, Jeffrey Peck, corporate managing director of Studley, which represented the London-based fashion house, tells GlobeSt.com. “There are other buildings that will give you naming rights, but that’s generally just a plaque over the entrance or some kind of lettering in the lobby. There’s only a handful of buildings in the city that actually have lit signage atop the building.” They include the MetLife tower at 200 Park Ave., the UBS building at 1285 Ave. of the Americas and 666 Fifth Ave.

Zoning restrictions dating from the 1980s prohibit illuminated signage on top of skyscrapers, aside from a few buildings that were grandfathered in, including 444 Madison. In a release, Studley EVP David Goldstein says the opportunity to display Burberry’s logo in lights over Midtown was “a key driver in the transaction.”

Peck says the new Burberry space, on four contiguous floors at 444 Madison, was previously occupied by New York magazine, which moved to 1 Hudson Square last year after a decade on Madison Avenue. New York magazine had its logo in lights atop the building, as did Newsweek magazine for three decades prior.

Lease terms were not disclosed; Peck says it’s “a long-term lease with substantial expansion and renewal rights.” Quoting published figures, Peck tells GlobeSt.com the Burberry lease will bring the 400,000-sf 444 Madison to approximately 90% occupancy. Burberry will vacate 61,000 sf at 1350 Avenue of the Americas, its current US headquarters.

Along with Goldstein and Peck, the Studley team representing Burberry included Daniel Horowitz, executive managing director. Paul Amrich and Patrice Hayden, EVP and VP, respectively, at CB Richard Ellis, represented the landlord, Westbrook Partners, which bought 444 Madison last November for a reported $310 million. Attorneys in the transaction were Robert Grant of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP for Burberry and Greenberg Traurig LLC for the landlord.

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