For years, real estate experts in Manhattan have observed that the city has been moving increasingly westward. Looking at new office development, you had 620 Eighth Avenue and 11 Times Square, completed in 2007 and 2011, respectively, to revitalize Times Square. Today, developers including Related, Brookfield, Tishman Speyer, the Moinian Group and others are building or planning office towers along 10th and 11th Avenue, adjacent to the High Line. And you even have developers like RXR and Youngwoo & Associates building on the Hudson River – literally as far west as you can go.
Despite this westward migration, all companies (and especially those geared towards technology,) need to be aware of what’s going on east of Manhattan at Roosevelt Island.
I am part of the CBRE team assisting Forest City Ratner Companies (“FCRC”), developer, with the leasing of The Bridge at Cornell Tech. And if you’re like the me of three weeks ago when I initially heard about the project, you may be sharing some of my initial thoughts as you read this right now, including:
1. Did you just say Roosevelt Island? YES
1a. Okay, now that I heard you correctly, where exactly is this island? EAST OF MANHATTAN AND WEST OF QUEENS
2. An office building is going up over there? YES – THE FIRST OF ITS KIND. THE STRUCTURE IS ALREADY BUILT, AND THE BUILDING WILL BE OPEN FOR BUSINESS IN Q4 2017
3. We are going to lease it? YES
With excitement and curiosity, I had the pleasure of touring the site firsthand with Ali Esmaeilzadeh and Jesse Cooperman, members of the Commercial Leasing team at FCRC, three weeks ago. We toured on a beautiful Friday morning. I commuted to the site from my home in Chelsea and the total trip was 23 minutes (to put it in perspective, my commute to my office at 200 Park Avenue, above Grand Central, is only 6 minutes shorter.) I took the F train from 23rd street to Roosevelt Island, and walked under 5 minutes from the subway to the development site – easy as that!
What I saw was spectacular. With hard hats on (see picture above, taken from the ground floor,) we traveled to the roof-deck and observed the spectacular views overlooking the East River and Manhattan as well as Queens to the west. The Building is 6 floors, and of the total 230,000 rentable square footage (“RSF”,) approximately 90,000 RSF has been pre-leased to Cornell. As leasing agents, our role is to help Forest City Ratner find innovative companies that will collaborate with the Cornell Tech School and be a positive addition to the campus. We already have significant interest from well-known tenants and our marketing efforts are just beginning – a testament to the vision of FCRC, the Cornell Tech School and the Bloomberg administration for spearheading this possibility.
The Bridge is more than just a new office building. Yes, like other new construction in Manhattan, it will have floor to ceiling glass, an awesome roofdeck, amenities on the 5th floor (currently under discussion), bike storage and parking spots. This building is special because of the integration it has with Cornell Tech. For example, all Bridge tenants will have access to the food hall at the base of the Cornell Tech School. This is a one-of-a-kind place custom designed to connect the resources of a great university with the world’s best entrepreneurs. No other office building can boast this type of relationship.
If you are a broker, you should be telling your clients about this project because the opportunity for a private company to have a presence on campus is likely something they will want to know about. If you are a friend/connection working at a technology company or within a technology division of a larger firm, you should tell your peers and superiors about this project. This will make you look good internally and open up possibilities for the correct people within the organization to learn more. As there is only ~100,000 RSF available to lease, the time to consider this possibility is now before the building becomes oversubscribed.
If you would like to tour the site or set up a meeting with CBRE/Forest City Ratner, please email me at [email protected] to arrange an introduction. At a minimum, I encourage you all to take a look at this PDF and Facebook page, both of which have some renderings of the project.