Downtown’s Biggest Chunk—Nearly 1 Million Feet Up For Lease in Taconic’s 375 Pearl

Cushman & Wakefield’s Joseph Harbert complained on Tuesday that the financial district isn’t the home for big deals like it used to be. “What we don’t see—what we don’t see—are large deals happening downtown. In fact, there are only two deals about 100,000 square feet this year,” he said.

But don’t fear, Mr. Harbert. Here come the financial district’s white knights, Taconic Investment Partners’ chiefs Paul Pariser and Charlie Bendit, to the rescue.

The Taconic boys are going to open up one giant 750,000-square-foot block of space in their newest acquisition at 375 Pearl Street, Mr. Pariser said. They’ll also open up 200,000 square feet elsewhere in the building, for a grand total of 950,000.

“We are very excited,” Mr. Pariser told The Observer. “We have a great asset with great floor plates on a big block front that is close to transportation.”

The total square footage will easily serve as the biggest block available downtown for the time being. Taconic went to contract on the 32-story downtown tower at 375 Pearl from Verizon for $172.05 million, which the New York Post reported last week. A source told The Observer that Verizon will buy 100,000 square feet in the tower for office condos, but the rest will be available for rent with move-in ready for 2009.

Now, Mr. Pariser has to figure out how to turn a telephone utility tower with all the charm of a state pen and a Magic Chef refrigerator into a premiere office tower.

For that he said he hired Cook + Fox, the design mavens behind Douglas Durst’s Bank of America Tower near Bryant Park. Take one look at 375 Pearl—it’s the building with the Verizon logo, which used to be a Bell Atlantic logo, when you ride over the Brooklyn Bridge—and you can tell there’s one thing missing: windows!

“We are going to have a massive exploration of what to do,” said Mr. Pariser. “It will clearly include opening up vision. Obviously, we have to open up the place to light and air.”

The only big headache: It’s going to cost Mr. Pariser a lot. He wouldn’t say how much he thinks the renovations will be, but he said he should exceed the $172 million that Taconic paid for the tower.

But once they get through that they should hit pay dirt. Two insiders said that in a building with full windows there would be epic, 360-degree panoramic views of downtown, midtown, Brooklyn and even Jersey.

Mr. Pariser has also already secured his leasing team. Bob Alexander, Rob Stillman and Joan Meixner of CB Richard Ellis will be showing the space. They would not be interviewed for this story.

Downtown’s Biggest Chunk—Nearly 1 Million Feet Up For Lease in Taconic’s 375 Pearl