Blackstone eyes new 1M sf NYC headquarters

Blackstone's Jonathan Gray and a rendering of 350 Park (Vornado, Blackstone)

Blackstone’s Jonathan Gray and a rendering of 350 Park (Blackstone, Vornado)

The Blackstone Group is mulling options for a new headquarters in New York City as large as 1 million square feet, sources told The Real Deal. The investment giant’s current leases in the Plaza District expire in several years.

Blackstone, headed by CEO Stephen Schwarzman and president Jon Gray, has asked a handful landlords to submit proposals for a new headquarters in Midtown and the Far West Side.

Among the sites under consideration is a supertall office tower on Park Avenue proposed by Vornado Realty Trust and Rudin Management. The two have floated the idea of developing properties they separately own into a 1,450-foot-tall, 1.68 million-square-foot tower at 350 Park Avenue.

The project is particularly attractive to Blackstone, sources said, because the site sits catty-corner to the firm’s current headquarters at Rudin Management’s 345 Park Avenue. Between that location and another office at Boston Properties’ 601 Lexington Avenue, Blackstone occupies about 800,000 square feet on leases that expire in 2027.

Blackstone is looking at options to combine its offices and expand its footprint. The search is in its very early stages, and sources familiar with the process said Blackstone could also choose to renew and grow at 345 Park Avenue if space becomes available.

A spokesperson for Blackstone declined to comment.

Other sites under consideration include three developments in the Hudson Yards area: Tishman Speyer’s Spiral at 66 Hudson Boulevard, Related Companies’ 50 Hudson Yards and 3 Hudson Boulevard, which is being co-developed by Boston Properties and the Moinian Group.

On its second-quarter earnings call Wednesday, Boston Properties said it had recently made a pitch to a large tenant.

“Earlier this month we made a proposal and did a virtual presentation to a million-square-foot user with a mid-2020s delivery timeframe for 3 Hudson Boulevard,” said company president Doug Linde, without naming the tenant.

The REIT executive noted that most tenants are holding off from making moves on office space unless a lease expiring in the near future forces their hand, though he said there are a few exceptions.

“Some long-range planning activities continue despite the current economic and health uncertainties.”

Blackstone’s interest in a new Manhattan headquarters could be considered a vote of confidence for the city’s office market, which is suffering through an identity crisis as the shift to work-from-home during the coronavirus pandemic has many wondering if companies will abandon the central business district.

Gray earlier this month said people will eventually return to their office buildings, but “there will be less density, there will certainly be a lot less new construction.”

Contact Rich Bockmann at [email protected] or 908-415-5229

Blackstone’s Jonathan Gray bearish on CRE

Jonathan Gray of Blackstone
From the New York website: Jonathan Gray, the Blackstone Group’s head of real estate, recently joined the chorus of investors and analysts warning of an impending slowdown in the commercial property market.
While the national multifamily market remains strong, global volatility is slowing down financing through commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) and reducing rates of return on commercial real estate, Gray said at the University of Texas Investment Management Company in Austin on Friday.
“Rates of return are definitely coming down,” he said, according to Bloomberg, because the property cycle is “much more mature.”
Persistently-low oil prices and economic volatility in China, Russia and Latin America have led to a slowdown in the creation of commercial mortgage-backed securities, as The Real Deal recently reported.
“It’s very difficult” to do securitizations today, Gray said, according to Bloomberg.
Blackstone’s massive rental portfolio, on the other hand, is doing fine, Gray said. The company’s Invitation Homes unit, which owns 50,000 single-family rental homes in the U.S., has seen 97 percent occupancy and rent gains of 5 percent per year.
The Real Deal profiled Jonathan Gray and Blackstone’s real estate business in depth back in August. [Bloomberg] – Ariel Stulberg

Source: The Real Deal Miami