NYC landlords luring workers to offices with fancy perks

GOSSIP & RUMORS: NYC landlords luring workers to offices with fancy perks

Forget boring office buildings with little-to-no coffee offerings, endless floors of beige cubicles and monotonous, marble-clad lobbies.

Commercial landlords are wooing major tenants and their work-from-home-loving employees back to the office with unprecedented amenities — from golf simulators and rock-climbing walls to gourmet food and transcendental meditation rooms.

With Manhattan vacancies at a record 21%, building owners know that old-school executive suites aren’t nearly enough.

“An office tower without amenities is sunk in today’s market,” said a real estate broker who didn’t want to be named. “Today’s tenants are much more demanding. They love their jobs but they want to have a good time, too. And with so much space available, companies can pick and choose.”

The Durst Organization’s One World Trade boasts a 64th-floor Sky Lobby with a showpiece pool table as well as lounges and snack bars for Conde Nast and other big-name tenants. (A source said Anna Wintour has yet to be seen wielding the cue sticks.)

The amenities package, which is called Well& By Durst, proved so successful helping to fill One WTC — it’s more than 95% leased — that the landlord introduced it to his other properties such as One Five One in Times Square.

Lounges and other amenities have drawn tenants to One World Trade Center, which is currently 95% leased. The Durst Organization/Giles Ashford

“Eight or nine years ago, amenities packages were very rare — maybe two or three in Manhattan,” said Durst principal David H. Neil. “Now, there about seventy of them, either open or in the works.”

Have a look.

Gourmet fare at 425 Park Avenue

Tenants at 425 Park Avenue can enjoy Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s fine fare at various venues in the building. Stefano Giovannini

The brand-new, Norman Foster-designed office tower at East 56th Street is home to Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s spectacular new restaurant Four Twenty Five (pictured). But dealmakers at high-end occupants such as Citadel get access to a secret menu of sorts.

Vongerichten also runs a food-and-beverage program strictly for tenants in a triple-height, 26th-floor venue called the Diagrid Club. The club also boasts private “transcendental meditation” rooms and landscaped outdoor terraces.

It’s the sort of thing that the tower’s tenants, who are paying as much as $300 per square foot in rent — more than twice the high-end average — now insist on.

Vongerichten runs a food-and-beverage program strictly for tenants in a triple-height, 26th-floor venue called the Diagrid Club. Alan Schindler
Jonathan Benno (left) serves as Jean Georges Vongerichten’s executive chef at Four Twenty Five. Stefano Giovannini

Live music at 10 Grand Central

Element Music is one of the bands that has performed at 10 Grand Central. courtesy of Marx Realty

Landlord Marx Realty urgently needed to add a “cool factor” to 10 Grand Central, a 1931 building that was previously known as 708 Third Avenue.

So, it spent $45 million to put the tower’s stodgy image behind it. In addition to adding a new lobby, a cozy lounge, landscaped alfresco terraces and even serve-yourself ice cream machines, Marx offers private live-entertainment in a 7,500 square-foot indoor-outdoor lounge.

Tenants, such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions and financial firms Merchants Bancorp and DIF Capital Partners, get to enjoy live concerts at the end of a hard work day.

Amazing views for at One Madison

The 5,100 square-foot outdoor rooftop terrace has views over Madison Square Park.

SL Green spent $2.3 billion — yup, $2.3 billion — to redesign and enlarge a classic 19th Century office building at Madison Avenue and East 23rd Street. To make the previously empty property competitive with other major re-developments, it spent a bundle on goodies for when the tower opens later this year.

Superchef Daniel Boulud, who’s launching a public steakhouse there, will also head up a grab-and-go cafe and bar strictly for future tenants which already include IBM and investment firm Franklin Templeton.

But, the real stunner is a 5,100 square-foot outdoor rooftop terrace with views over Madison Square Park.

A sporty paradise at the Seagram Building

Weary brokers in the Seagram building can unwind with a game of pickleball. courtesy of Seagram Building

The landmark tower at 375 Park Avenue is known to the public for the Pool and Grill restaurants, formerly the Four Seasons. But ,outsiders don’t know about the pleasures available only to building tenants such as just-signed private equity firm Advent International, Brant Point Capital Management and Spanish law firm Perez-Llorca.  

Beneath the tower’s avenue-fronting plaza lies the Playground, a $25 million, 34,000 square-foot recreational complex dreamed up by RFR Realty head Aby Rosen that opened in 2022.

Weary brokers and barristers have the run of facilities for pickleball, basketball, volleyball, floor hockey, pilates, a spin studio and even a rock-climbing wall.

“Tenants are seeing the Playground as a compelling differentiator from other locations,” said RFR leasing honcho AJ Camhi. “It’s one of the features that made them decide to come here.”

A $25 million, 34,000 square-feet recreational complex even features a rockclimbing wall. courtesy of Seagram Building

Games galore at 120 Broadway

A “time capsule” floor at 120 Broadway boasts a 1980s-style video game arcade. Stephen Yang

At Larry Silverstein’s classic, Beaux Arts-style, 40-story tower downtown, the entire tenth floor was  recently turned into a theme park. The “time capsule” floor boasts a 1980s-style video game arcade, a “secret” bar behind murals by acclaimed Japanese street artist Lady Aiko, and even a 1940s “detective’s office.”

The colorful evocations of earlier eras have helped to lure such prestigious tenants as architectural firm Beyer Blinder Belle and Macmillan books.

A yoga room, shuffleboard and a pool table add to the merry-making. A top-floor Bankers Club space that was once a private restaurant is also now open to all tenants and offers access to a rooftop lounge.

A 1940s detective’s office is a whimsical touch. Stephen Yang
A top-floor Bankers Club space that was once a private restaurant is now open to all tenants and offers access to a rooftop lounge. Stephen Yang

Rockefeller Center’s park in the sky

A green space on the roof of Radio City Music Hall, far removed from the bustle of the surrounding streets, can’t be seen from the sidewalk Rockefeller Center

Lucky folks who work at Rockefeller Center take breaks from drudgery to frolic and catch the sun in Radio Park.

The secret green space on the roof of Radio City Music Hall can’t be seen from the sidewalk, and it’s open only to tenants in the original landmarked Rockefeller complex — not the newer buildings along Sixth Avenue that are also considered to be part of today’s Rock Center.

Designed by landscape architects HMWhite, the serene, 24,000-square-foot oasis in the sky opened largely out of sight in the quiet spring of 2021.

Radio Park is open only to tenants in the original landmarked Rockefeller complex, not the newer buildings along Sixth Avenue that are also considered to be part of today’s Rock Center. Rockefeller Center

It’s sometimes used for programmed events as part of landlord Tishman Speyer’s ZO amenities program, but is usually open to all tenants, of which NBC, the tower’s original owner, is the most famous.

Sources claim to have spotted stars from “SNL” and “The Tonight Show”  taking a break from the grind there.

 A new pedestrian bridge added in 2023 connects the elevated park to a ZO lounge in office tower 1270 Sixth Ave.

An outdoor oasis at  590 Madison Avenue

An outdoor roof deck on the fourth-floor was just unveiled at 590 Madison Avenue. courtesy of 590 Madison

IBM is soon departing from this black marble tower at East 57th Street, but it leaves behind a parting gift: a sprawling third-floor corporate cafeteria.

Building managers Edward S. Minksoff and Jeffrey Sussman are converting it into a 25,000 square-foot fun floor designed by architectural firm Gensler. It will feature food service, entertainment spaces and golf simulators and is set to open later this year.

But, the best part might be a just-unveiled, outdoor roof deck on a fourth-floor that was previously off-limits to tenants. Its central location amidst Manhattan’s bright lights make it an ideal platform from which to take in Midtown’s constellation of wealth and power.

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