Of King's and Empire: College Wants 60K Feet in Malkin Tower

empirestate1 Of King's and Empire: College Wants 60K Feet in Malkin Tower Never mind the famed stair run, for once the race in the Empire State Bulding is for the bottom. King’s College is negotiating to renew and expand to 60,000 square feet on the lower floors there.

The Christian liberal arts college currently houses its administrative offices and classroom space in 50,000 square feet on the concourse and lower levels of the iconic tower, controlled by Anthony Malkin‘s W&H Properties, but their lease expires in 2012, a source with knowledge of the deal told The Observer. “From a branding and a building recognition standpoint,” said the source, “they love being in the Empire State building.”

Negotiations for the renewal and expansion are “moving slowly” one source told The Observer and another called them “preliminary,” but the deal could be wrapped up by the summer. One person said the negotiations have moved slowly while the landlord focused on the huge Li & Fung deal and also possibly on putting an Equinox gym on the lower levels. The latter deal was apparently killed.

Even without the gym, the expansion could prove a challenge: Floors in the building are around 60,000 square feet each, but other retailers, such as Bank of America and Heartland Brewery, are eating up some of the lower-level space with staircases to the basement.

King’s College, which was founded in New Jersey in 1938 but moved to New York City in 1999, wants to stay at the famed address—which if nothing else makes it unlikely freshmen will get lost. “What’s great,” said one source, “is the Empire State Building is truly back on the map as being a desired place to do business after so many years of being passed over by the marketplace because it was seen as a neglected building.”

UPDATE: Cushman and Wakefield is leading the assigment representing King’s.

lkusisto@observer.com