The Times Square vacancy rate, as befitting this carnival-like submarket, has been on a bit of a roller coaster ride during the past few years. The figure, including direct and sublet availability, dipped to a record low 3.2 percent back in December 2006 then climbed to 15 percent by February 2010—before diving back to 8.8 percent in August of this year.
The latest figure shows it climbing to yet another peak, closing this past October at 10.7 percent.
The cause for the most recent increase is two particular properties. First up is 229 West 43rd Street, a.k.a. the former New York Times building, which, at one point, expected to convert to residential or hotel use, was pulled from availability. A recent sale changed all that and now its 478,000 square feet is once again being marketed as office product. Second is 1140 Avenue of the Americas, which underwent a renovation complete with shiny glass and aluminum curtain wall.
Approximately 175,000 square feet of relatively new office product has been made available. Beyond those two more recent availabilities is 11 Times Square, with 633,000 square feet of prime space still available after law firm Proskauer Rose signed for 406,000 square feet back in May 2010. This building will apparently not be getting a new neighbor across the street for a while, either, as Vornado Realty announced it has nixed the idea of building a new 1.3-million-square-foot office tower (to be known as 20 Times Square) on top of the Port Authority Bus Terminal. This is the second time in more than a decade this project has been postponed, with the inability to land financing supposedly being the death knell this go-round. Talk about a roller coaster ride.
Robert Sammons, Cassidy Turley