Zut Alors! French Bank Needs a New U.S. HQ

Société Générale has hired CB Richard Ellis to scout for new space, thanks to the impending expiration of its 1221 Avenue of the Americas lease in 2013, according to sources.

Sadly, neither CB Richard Ellis nor the French banking giant would comment for this story. But one source told us the bank is looking for something like 500,000 feet, which would make it one of the bigger kids on a leasing block as underpopulated as a Parisian office after 5 p.m.

It was back in 1994 that Société Générale moved its U.S. headquarters from 50 Rockefeller Plaza to 312,000 square feet at the McGraw-Hill building. (The New York Times made much of the new French signage, with all of its accents aigu: “It will still be known as the McGraw-Hill Building, but new black polished-granite cornerstones at 48th and 49th Streets in front of 1221 Avenue of the Americas bear a decidedly French accent in their gilded lettering.”)

In that move, the bank doubled its size. In 1998, the bank took an additional six floors at 560 Lexington Avenue. Now, it looks like the bank might be trying to consolidate its operations into one building. Given the utter upheaval in the market, transforming it from a fantasyland for landlords into a golden tenant’s market, Société Générale has begun its search at a propitious time. 

  Zut Alors! French Bank Needs a New U.S. HQ