Instead of heading all the way to Las Vegas to discuss the future of the soon-to-be-sold Filene’s building site, Mayor Thomas M. Menino needed only to visit a city 1,500 miles closer, New York City.
There, a building in midtown Manhattan has transformed its neighborhood by bringing to the area a vibrant mix of residents, office workers, and tourists.
According to the New York Times:
The developer, Vornado Realty Trust, one of the nation’s largest owners and managers of commercial real estate, has “changed a neighborhood that was somewhat of a lackluster market to more of an upscale market,” said Gary Trock, a senior vice president at CB Richard Ellis and a prominent retail real estate broker.
And, coincidentally, who is in final negotations to buy the Filene’s building site?
Vornado Realty Trust.
And, how did Vornado succeed in Manhattan? (I apologize for stealing so much of the Times story.)
Vornado handpicked the tower’s retail tenants and included the first large national chains to have stores in the neighborhood: Home Depot, the apparel store H&M and the Container Store, which sells storage and organization products.
Vornado also installed two banks, Bank of America and Wachovia, on the Third Avenue side of its skyscraper.
The latest incarnation of the renowned restaurant Le Cirque is in a ground-floor location on the tower’s motor court, an atrium between two connected towers where pedestrians and automobiles can move between 58th and 59th Streets.
But commercial brokers said Vornado did not stop there. The developer also acquired buildings around the Bloomberg Tower to export its retail flavor to an even larger swath of the neighborhood.
“It was a strategy by Vornado to master plan not only the block that the Bloomberg building sits on, but the neighborhood to some degree,” said Josh N. Kuriloff, an executive vice president at Cushman & Wakefield. “They did this with a keen eye toward architecture. They, in my opinion, single-handedly and dramatically increased the value of the neighborhood.”
Thus, Vornado built 715 Lexington Avenue, which is architecturally similar to the Bloomberg Tower and has 23,000 square feet of retail space housing the clothing store New York & Company and Zales Jewelers. Just south of that store on Lexington, a space is being renovated for the cosmetics retailer Sephora.
And, what happened as a result of this?
Other real estate owners and retailers in the neighborhood also upgraded their properties.
So, cross your fingers. We could end up with a great new neighborhood, sometime in the future.
More information: A Tower Goes Up, and a Neighborhood Perks Up – By Alison Gregor, The New York Times
Also: Modell’s interested in Filene’s building – By Jenn Abelson, The Boston Globe
And: Developers: Hub “under-retailed_ – By Scott Van Voorhis, The Boston Herald