Nearly 20 years in the making. Towering 77 stories. Boasting 1.7 million square feet of best in-class office space. Opening in Midtown Manhattan during a global pandemic that would batter New York’s office market and create a reckoning for commercial real estate worldwide. This is One Vanderbilt.
And this is the backdrop against which New York’s largest commercial landlord, SL Green Realty Corp., debuted its $3.3 billion trophy office tower—the latest to redefine Manhattan’s skyline.
Despite the grim scene setting, the opening of One Vanderbilt was anything but grim. In fact, just a year after the peak of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., the skyscraper stands nearly fully occupied as one of the most in-demand office addresses in New York, thanks in part to Loeb & Loeb.
Long before COVID-19 was on anyone’s radar, and before SL Green broke ground on One Vanderbilt, Loeb & Loeb’s commercial leasing team was instrumental in securing the project’s anchor tenant. As tenant’s counsel, Loeb & Loeb negotiated the termination of our then-client’s existing leases at one of four old buildings demolished to make way for One Vanderbilt’s development. In a lengthy and complex dealmaking process, we negotiated new leases for our client to take approximately 206,000 square feet at the future One Vanderbilt as well as temporary space aggregating 58,000 rentable square feet at another SL Green-owned building for the duration of One Vanderbilt’s construction and, at our client’s option, beyond.
The negotiations involved a sophisticated array of contract provisions designed to maximize the benefit for Loeb & Loeb’s client and protect the tenant against all the potential issues and delays that might occur in a large-scale urban development.
Loeb & Loeb’s team was so effective in these negotiations that SL Green retained the firm as landlord’s counsel after the anchor tenant was signed.
While signing an anchor tenant paved the way for One Vanderbilt to get off the ground, it was just one of several hurdles the project faced. In the years that followed, SL Green would navigate a long and drawn-out rezoning process, fight a $1.1 billion lawsuit concerning air rights, and perhaps most challenging, find itself at the epicenter of an unprecedented global pandemic that would halt construction and bring Manhattan leasing activity to a virtual standstill.
Thankfully, construction was one of the first industries greenlighted to get back to work following widespread pandemic shutdowns. And thanks to One Vanderbilt’s unparalleled design, amenities and adjacency to Grand Central Terminal, together with Loeb & Loeb’s flexible and nimble negotiating, our team was able to work with SL Green to maintain strong leasing momentum at the project.
During a period when new office leasing plunged across Manhattan and supply soared to record highs, Loeb & Loeb’s lawyers negotiated 18 leases at One Vanderbilt aggregating more than 800,000 rentable square feet—a testament to a dynamite product and a one-of-a-kind partnership that we are proud to be a part of.