BNY Mellon Eyeing 1 WTC

The New York Post


Steve Cuozzo

Bank of New York Mellon is considering a complex, three-way real estate maneuver that would include moving part of its operations to 1 World Trade Center and selling its historic Art Deco headquarters tower at 1 Wall St., sources said. Under the scenario now being explored, the bank — which started life in 1784 as New York Post founder Alexander Hamilton’s Bank of New York — would take 450,000 square-feet at 1 WTC, the 1,776-foot tower the Port Authority is building at Ground Zero. It would move the rest of its New York workforce to another building it owns, 101 Barclay St. — a 1983 structure with 1.2 million square-feet more suited to modern office use than 1 Wall St., an Art Deco masterpiece on the corner of Broadway that opened in 1930.

Insiders confirmed that BNY Mellon has expressed interest to the PA regarding 1 WTC, but was told to hold off until the PA completes a prospective partnership deal with Douglas Durst. Under the tentative arrangement announced last week, the Durst Organization would pay about $100 million for rights to market, lease and manage the $3.3 billion tower that’s now impressively rising. Durst and the PA have about three weeks to nail down final terms. Sources emphasized that the BNY Mellon scenario is merely in the talking stage — “but it’s a very plausible idea,” a downtown insider said. “All of a sudden, with Durst involved, 1 World Trade looks like a hot commodity.” In fact, it’s to the often-sluggish PA’s credit that it chose so experienced and nimble a partner from an impressive field that also included Related Cos. and Boston Properties. However preliminary BNY Mellon’s thinking is regarding 1 WTC, it sounds at least as substantial as Condé Nast’s alleged interest in moving there when its lease is up at Durst’s 4 Times Sq. in 2019. The landmarked 1 Wall St. is a logical candidate for residential conversion, with spectacular views up to 50 floors. It has more open views than the old AIG building at 70 Pine St., which AIG recently sold to a developer planning to convert part of the tower to apartments. The bank did not immediately respond to a telephone message seeking comment.

Jones Lang LaSalle President Peter Riguardi, who is BNY Mellon’s real estate broker and also an advisor to the PA, declined to comment, other than to say: “It’s terrific that the Port under [Executive Director] Chris Ward’s direction was able to come to its decision to bring in Durst from among a half-dozen great choices. It shows how much people think of this site.”
The PA declined to comment on the BNY Mellon talks. Douglas Durst — developer of 1 Bryant Park/Bank of America Tower — would say only, “We are thrilled to be involved with 1 World Trade.”

Cushman & Wakefield vice-chairman Tara Stacom, leader of a Cushman team hired by the PA in 2007 as 1 WTC’s leasing agent, wouldn’t say anything specific about the bank either. But she noted, “I’d say every large tenant out in the market is looking at 1 WTC, as they are at other large-block availabilities.” Stacom pointed out that besides architect David Childs’ iconic design, 1 WTC’s attractions include a rich array of government-sponsored economic incentives. In fact, there might be room for both Condé Nast and BNY Mellon at 1 WTC, which will have 2.6 million square-feet of office space. A mere 190,000 square-feet have been pre-leased to China’s Beijing Vantone. Although 1 million square-feet more is often said to be “leased” to the federal General Services Administration and the state Offices of General Services, neither deal has been completed years after they were first announced.
Why they aren’t done yet is a mystery none of the participants would discuss. Another question is Cushman’s continued role at the project if the deal is signed with Durst — who has often done leasing in-house or through CB Richard Ellis. But Stacom pointed out that Cushman had supported the PA in its quest to bring in a partner, and was actively in volved in the agency’s on going negotiations with Durst. “Our expectation is that Cushman will be partners with the Dursts moving forward. But right now, we’re all concentrating on completing the term sheet with them,” she said.