375 Pearl Street stands at the base of the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge and has been primarily a telephone switching center, most recently for Verizon, since it opened in 1975 to uniformly negative architectural reviews. (Paul Goldberger of the New York Times called the tower “disturbing.”) Earlier this week, renderings for a comprehensive, LEED-certified makeover of the 1.3 million-square-foot building, designed by Richard Cook of Cook + Fox, were unveiled.
The $350 million rehab, which was reported by Steve Cuozzo of the New York Post yesterday, comes on the heels of Verizon’s $172 million sale of most of the building to Taconic Investment Partners (which actually purchased a condominium interest in the tower, as Verizon will retain the 8th through 10th floors). Taconic will look to lease out two different contiguous blocks of space above and below the Verizon floors- 924,000 square feet and 210,000 square feet, respectively. Cook’s design calls for the stripping of all exterior limestone off the tower and the installation of an efficient glass curtain wall. It’s too early for details on other green features, but the building’s HVAC and electrical systems will also be completely replaced and a new lobby and outdoor plaza installed.
Cuozzo reports that CB Richard Ellis’ Bob Alexander, retained by Taconic to lead the project’s leasing efforts, expects 375 Pearl to be attractive to media firms; unlike other recent speculative projects in Midtown, construction won’t commence until an anchor tenant is retained. Asking rents will likely be in the $60 per square foot range- lower than those at other new Downtown office towers like 7 World Trade Center, where rents have hovered around $70 per square foot. The tower’s location is somewhat off the Downtown beaten path, but its green features, access to mass transit, and river views will likely make it a good fit for a number of firms.
375 Pearl Street reminds us of another similar project in Midtown- 1095 Sixth Avenue- which did not seek a LEED rating but completely overhauled a similar former Verizon switching building. There, at a cost of $409 million, the building’s marble exterior was removed and similarly replaced with an energy-efficient glass curtain wall, designed by Moed de Armas & Shannon Architects and Gensler. 375 Pearl will be another important Downtown green project that we’ll track, both given its high-profile green architects and unique location outside the ambit of the World Trade Center site, where the bulk of Downtown’s green commercial construction is currently taking place.