1 Bryant Park Nears Full; Lever House at $150 a Foot

011507 article breaks 1 Bryant Park Nears Full;  Lever House at $150 a FootThe budding 54-story 1 Bryant Park is still a year from opening, but recent negotiations have moved the tower toward 100 percent occupancy.

The Durst-developed building is on the verge of two new leases: one with the hedge fund Marathon Asset Management for two floors with a total of 75,000 square feet, said a source familiar with the deal; and the other with the fashion firm Elie Tahari, which is close to a lease for one floor, said a different source.

The hedge fund is expected to take the 38th and 39th floors, and to pay rents of $115 per square foot, according to another source.

Marathon Asset already has offices at 461 Fifth Avenue, as well as in London and Hong Kong.

The fact that Marathon Asset is interested in a building that has been well received in the real-estate world isn’t entirely surprising, since the firm is in close contact with brokers already: The hedge fund is involved in a deal to purchase SL Green’s suburban New York properties for $2.1 billion.

Meanwhile, Elie Tahari, the women’s clothing boutique with stores in Soho and in East Hampton, is in the midst of strong negotiations for commercial space on the 50th floor of 1 Bryant Park, said a source.

If both leases are signed, the 2.1-million-square-foot tower will only have four more floors up for lease; floors 37, 47, 48 and 49 would still be available.

One Bryant Park remains notable for two features: its draw among eager and deep-pocketed tenants, and the developer’s commitment to making it a truly green building, with largely recyclable materials used during construction.

Of equal importance, 1 Bryant Park will be, when it opens in 2008, a rarity in Manhattan commercial real estate: a new top-tier tower.

Bank of America is the largest tenant, with 1.6 million square feet and naming rights to the building. The law firm Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld is another major leaseholder at 203,000 square feet.

Asking rents for the few remaining floors are a little steeper at $125 a foot, according to a market report.

A spokesman from the Durst Organization declined to comment, but did say that the building is currently 90 percent leased.

HEDGE FUNDS AND BANKS might have big space requirements, but some companies only require that exalted address. For Hellman and Friedman, they just nabbed it.

The equity-investment firm has signed a lease for the penthouse in Lever House at 390 Park Avenue. It will take 10,400 square feet on the 21st floor with a 10-year lease, according to a source. Move-in will begin this winter.

The company is expected to pay jaw-dropping rents: $140 for the first five years and $150 for the last five, according to a different source. The company will get the first four months free.

Hellman and Friedman currently has 6,200 square feet at 375 Park Avenue, but worked on a termination of that lease to move down the street.

Clearly, money isn’t an issue for the company, considering that asking rents at the RFR-owned 375 Park—$75 to $80 per foot—are about half of what it’ll be paying at the RFR-owned Lever House.

Nonetheless, the relocation comes with a glorious—if slightly abstract—payoff.

For one thing, the company certainly places a premium on location (on its Web site, the background for its corporate logo is a photo of One Maritime Plaza, its home in San Francisco).

For another, the penthouse is certainly worth bragging about.

“The top floor had never been available to the public before,” said Richard Farley, the vice president of leasing at RFR. “It was available only to the Unilever brothers.”

The space, apparently, is quite nice.

“You have light on three sides, with amazing views up and down Park Avenue,” he said. “The way the building is constructed, when you look at the view, it seems like you’re actually on Park Avenue.

“They seized an opportunity that doesn’t come along very often,” Mr. Farley added.

Cushman & Wakefield’s Jonathan Serko and David Malawer represented the tenant. They declined to be quoted for this story.