Neuberger Berman, the wealth management unit that cast aside the detritus of its parent company, Lehman Brothers, to establish itself as an independent operator in 2009, has hired Newmark Knight Frank in a bid to reconsider its office space needs, according to industry sources.
In so doing, Neuberger once again demonstrates an acute sense of timing. The firm first relocated to a dark glass skyscraper at 605 Third Avenue during the recession of 1991, opting for midtown over Jersey and taking 159,275 square feet.
“At a time when companies are taking ever more jobs out of New York, and many companies are currently pondering moves, the deal marks an important vote of confidence in New York by a financial services firm,” reads a Crain’s New York Business article from May 1991.
In a deal reminiscent of today’s market, Neuberger took over the lavishly prebuilt offices of a failed accounting firm called Laventhol & Horwath. Then, during another recession, this one in 2002, the firm reportedly signed a new lease at 605 Third for 340,000 square feet.
And now, in the worst recession to hit the United States since the 1930s, Neuberger is again in the market, this time with Newmark vice chairman Neil Goldmacher, who declined to comment for this article.
It’s unclear whether Neuberger plans to stay at 605 Third or find new office space. If it’s looking to expand, there is more than 170,000 square feet of sublease space available in Fisher Brothers Management’s nearly 1 million-square-foot building, according to real estate database CoStar. At the present, Neuberger is the tower’s largest tenant, and the scraper has come to be known as the Neuberger Berman Building.
In a statement, a Neuberger spokesman said, “As a growing, independent firm, Neuberger Berman continues to evaluate its resource needs on a global basis. For our largest office, at 605 Third Avenue, we have an existing lease that runs through April 2017.”