September 30, 2011
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor
The good news continues for Manhattan’s office market. Among the latest leases signed is Marks Paneth & Shron L.L.P. which just found a new home with more elbowroom. The accounting firm signed a lease for nearly 85,500 square feet of office space at 685 Third Ave. in Midtown Manhattan. The agreement marks a coup for the 600,000-square-foot building’s landlord, TIAA-CREF, as MP&S will be the first tenant to commit to a long-term lease since the pension fund acquired the property for $190 million in July 2010 with nary a tenant on the roster.
MP&S turned to commercial real estate services firm Colliers International to find an office building to accommodate an expansion and relocation from its current digs at 622 Third Ave. The firm will make its new home on the third, fourth and fifth floors of 685 Third Ave., which is getting a multi-million dollar makeover at the hands of TIAA-CREF. The pension fund plans to take the premier property, which also features ground-level retail space, to a higher level, and transform its former single-tenant accommodations to a leading destination for multiple users.
The lease at the 33-story tower at 685 Third is indicative of the slow-but-sure rebound of the Manhattan office market. While MP&S will simply relocate from one Midtown building to another in the fourth quarter of 2012, it will soak up some square footage. Businesses are now ready to make those expansions they had delayed during the recession. In August, the market posted net absorption totaling 600,000 square feet and the vacancy rate dropped to 10.9 percent from July’s 11.1 percent, according to a report by commercial real estate services firm CB Richard Ellis, which represented TIAA-CREF in the MP&S lease transaction.