Association of Tenant Representatives News Article

By STEVE CUOZZO, New York Times

July 26, 2006 - EXCLUSIVE

Douglas Durst just landed five floors' worth of C-notes - a 203,000 square-foot lease at his new Bank of America/One Bryant Park tower at more than $100 a square foot, the highest rent ever known to be paid for so large a block of office space.

The lucky tenant is global law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, which will move its New York office from 590 Madison Ave. when Durst's new skyscraper at Sixth Avenue and 42nd Street opens in 2008.

The $100-plus deal is a high-water mark in a booming Midtown leasing market that has seen a handful of big deals at $80-$90 a square foot.

A very few $100-plus deals have been done at prime locations like the GM Building, but only for "boutique" spaces under 50,000 feet.

Akin Gump will have floors 41-46 in the 51-story, 2.1 million-square-foot tower now under construction. The lease brings the project to about 90 percent occupancy.

Bank of America, the developer's equity partner in the tower, will have floors 2-36 and 51 and the Durst Organization itself leased the 40th floor.

When BofA recently added floors 25-36 and 51 to its original commitment on lower floors, Durst leasing honcho Tom Bow told us the new lease "easily achieved Doug's objective" of $100 a foot.

But how much the additional floors will actually cost BofA is cloudy, inasmuch as it's effectively paying a portion of the rent to itself.

Durst first told The Post in August 2004 that rents for the higher floors "will have a 1 in front of them."

Although some were skeptical, CB Richard Ellis tristate chief Mary Ann Tighe said at the time, "I have not known Douglas to be wrong in 20 years."

Akin Gump was represented by Washington Realty Group's Eric Berson; Durst by his in-house team of Eric Engelhardt and Tom Bow with lawyer Gary Rosenberg.




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