Coming To An Office Tower Near You: $200 A Foot

Is the $200-a-square-foot office space in trophy towers the new $12 dollar movie ticket—a galling, nerve-grating development that a mere 12 months later becomes the widely accepted paradigm?

At 9 West 57th Street—the stylish Sheldon Solow tower on Fifth Avenue—three firms have recently signed leases at more than $200 a foot, according to a source familiar with the transactions. The source insisted this was “not a story. You’ll start to see that number at the GM Building.”

In a way, that source is right. Rumors of prices like this surface now and again.

And it’s not as though we’re talking Class B space here.

“The 9 West 57th building has always been one of the most expensive buildings in New York,” said Robert Stella, executive vice president and principal at CresaPartners. “The tenant roster in the building is kind of a who’s who in the financial services world.”

The building houses offices for private-equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (better known as KKR) and MacKay Shields, the institutional investment adviser, among others.

That said, as Mr. Stella put it, “Anytime you see anything with a two in front of it, it’s hard to believe.”

Toyota might agree.

The Prius maker, whose lease in Mr. Solow’s tower has one year left on it, has hired a broker to scout out new spaces, according to sources. Toyota declined to comment.

drubinstein@observer.com Coming To An Office Tower Near You: $200 A Foot