All of Lower Manhattan was devastated by Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. Downtown businesses in every category took a hit as they were forced to go on hiatus and deal with rebuilding—both structurally and financially. But less than two years later, the outlook for Lower Manhattan is brighter than ever.
At its quarterly press conference last week, CBRE (Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis/ Commercial Real Estate Services) reported that real estate investors have returned to the community with vigor.
Almost 10 percent of the 83 million s/f of Downtown office space has changed ownership in the past year, Adam Foster, SVP in CBRE’s Downtown office, said at the press conference.
“All of a sudden Downtown has become the ‘it girl’ for the investment community,” he said.
According to the industry publication, Real Estate Weekly, “The fourth-quarter sale of 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza to the Chinese investors, Fosun International, indicates a new trend of international interest Downtown, where, CBRE analysts note, there are more opportunities to purchase full interest in office properties than can be found in Midtown, where trophy assets are more likely to be shared between multiple investors.
Fosun, which specializes in properties, pharmaceuticals, and steel, purchased 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza from J.P. Morgan in the fourth quarter of last year. The tower, built by David Rockefeller, is 60 stories high with 2.2 million square feet, went for $725 million. In this year’s first quarter, the excitement continues to build. Foster said, “I can’t remember when a first quarter has shown as much momentum as we’ve seen.”
The landmark building was designed by architect Gordon Bunshaft and was formerly the headquarters of Chase Manhattan Bank. Rockefeller, as head of the bank’s building committee, selected the site and oversaw its construction.
Lower Manhattan office spaces have also begun to attract a more varied group of clients. The Wall Street area is famous for being crowded with busy stockbrokers and finance gurus, but the real estate trend has brought in tech, service, publishing, and media firms.
Never have hopes been higher in the realm of Lower Manhattan real estate.