British Telecom Inks Two-Floor Sublease at Times Tower

A sublease at the New York Times Tower on 8th Avenue suggests some important points about the local commercial real estate market.

According to Crain’s, British Telecommunications has inked a 15-year lease for 63,000 square feet of space at the New York Times Tower on Eighth Avenue at $95 per square foot. The news is noteworthy for a number of reasons. First, British Telecom is subleasing space on the 45th and 46th floors from investment firm ClearBridge Advisors, though the latter never occupied the space that British Telecom will take over. ClearBridge will remain in its existing space on the 47th through 50th floors.

The deal follows a number of reports over the past month that financial services firms across the city have been shedding space that’s now unnecessary given the market downturn. One of the higher profile subleases was at 1095 Sixth Avenue, where Real Estate Weekly had reported in late March that I-Star Financial would shed space. Renovations at that property- which include an upgraded, energy-efficient glass curtain wall- are almost complete.

Second, ClearBridge’s asking rent could have implications across the street at LEED Gold hopeful 11 Times Square, where questions about the speculative project’s financing and progress will continue to mount until SJP secures an anchor tenant. Whether a sub-three figure asking rent in a high-profile, Class A building across the street will play some sort of role in any sort of ongoing negotiations with the French bank Natixis rumored to be linked to the project remains to be seen, but given the triple digit rents that Boston Properties has already secured for its LEED Gold project at 250 West 55th Street, it will be interesting to monitor the leasing climate in the next few months along Eighth Avenue’s commercial green corridor.

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