After scouring Lower Manhattan for office space, and even venturing across the East River to check out the compellingly priced digs at Bruce Ratner’s MetroTech (compelling, but not compelling enough), Country-Wide Insurance Company has decided to stay put at 40 Wall Street, signing a long-term lease renewal for a stunning 109,000 square feet in what is a largely moribund downtown market.
(Nota bene: The third-generation, family-owned property-casualty insurance company Country-Wide is entirely distinct from the Countrywide Financial that Bank of America bought in early ’08 as part of its post-collapse shopping spree. As Country-Wide’s chairman, Michael Jaffe, put it, “The other Countrywide came along later, and of course, they were very big. I think at one time I used to like the association, but certainly in light of the terrible consequences of the meltdown and all that transpired, I do have to make sure that nobody associates us.”)
It’s not hard to understand the allure of the Trumps’ 40 Wall. The rascacielos soars a stunning 71 stories into the sky (in fact, it’s so tall that in 1946, a military transport plane blundered into the building’s 58th floor, killing all four people on board). And it’s rather reasonably priced: Asking rents range from the mid-$30s a square foot to the mid-$40s for the higher floors, according to real estate database CoStar.
Mr. Jaffe wouldn’t reveal the taking rent, but said that “I think [the Trumps] gave special courtesy to an existing tenant.”
Newmark Knight Frank vice chairman Mark Weiss represented Country-Wide in its office search. He referred questions to Mr. Jaffe. CB Richard Ellis’ Adam Foster was the agent for 40 Wall Street.