By Gail Kalinoski
After considering a move to the Far West Side, JPMorgan Chase has decided to build a new headquarters on the site of its current home, 270 Park Ave., making it the first skyscraper planned in East Midtown Manhattan since a rezoning was approved last summer.
Jamie Dimon, chairman & CEO of the global financial services firm, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, jointly announced plans for JPMorgan to build a new 2.5 million square foot headquarters that could contain 70 to 75 stories. The skyscraper would be considerably taller than the current 52-story headquarters located between 47th and 48th streets and would be one of the highest towers in Manhattan.
“At JPMorgan Chase, we believe that investing for the long-term is a hallmark of our success. With a new headquarters at 270 Park Ave., we are recommitting ourselves to New York City while also ensuring that we operate in a highly efficient and world-class environment for the 21st century,” Dimon said in a prepared statement.
JPMorgan would demolish the current building next year and begin construction soon after in hopes of completing the project in five years. Although the city’s Midtown East Rezoning plan was approved in August 2017, the project would still be subject to various approvals. The company would also have to purchase air rights from several owners of landmark properties in the area. Under the rezoning law, sellers of air rights must pay the city at least $61.49 per square, leading some to estimate the city could possibly collect as much as $40 million to put toward public improvements in the neighborhood.
East Side vs. West Side
There is no design ready yet nor cost estimates. But the firm was looking at spending about $6.5 billion four years ago to build two towers on the Far West Side before scrapping the idea when the city balked at providing about $1 billion in tax breaks and incentives.
The new building, which would create over 8,000 construction jobs, would eventually house about 15,000 employees, allowing JPMorgan to consolidate its workers in one facility from the numerous offices it leases in Manhattan. A new fully LEED-certified, energy-efficient office tower would replace the outdated facility designed in the late 1950s for about 3,500 employees.
During construction, JP Morgan’s employees will be housed at several locations including 237, 245 and 277 Park Ave. and 390 Madison Ave., according to Bloomberg. Some employees will also work out of 383 Madison Ave., the former offices of Bear Stearns that JP Morgan has owned since it bought the firm in 2008.
The mayor and City Council members said the JPMorgan plan is the kind of development they had hoped would result from the rezoning. The area, which includes Grand Central Terminal, could support about 6.5 million square feet of new office space under the changes.
“It was barely six months ago that we secured the East Midtown rezoning into law, and building owners are already responding in a major way. This is a true win-win. The City of New York retains a major company and its employment base, the surrounding community sees improvements in its public spaces, and JPMorgan Chase will have a new headquarters that helps the firm compete for decades to come,” Alicia Glen, deputy mayor for housing and economic development, said in prepared remarks.
The JPMorgan skyscraper will be the second new major office tower to be developed in the area. SL Green Realty Corp. broke ground in October 2016 on One Vanderbilt, a 58-story, 1.7 million-square-foot East Midtown Manhattan office building that is being constructed on the corner of 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue, next to Grand Central Terminal. As part of its deal with the city, SL Green is contributing $220 million to upgrade transit infrastructure around Grand Central, including creating direct connections between the two buildings and improving access to subway and commuter train lines.
Image courtesy of JPMorgan Chase