Edward Minskoff’s Fumihiko Maki-designed 51 Astor Place is close to landing its first tenant: Hult International Business School is in discussions to lease the entire second floor of the 12-story, 400,000-square-foot tower in what would be a 55,000-square-foot deal. Asking rents would start in the $60s/square foot, escalating to the $100s by the end of the term.
Although a lease with an educational institution of at least 50,000 square feet is required by the parcel’s zoning terms (which Cooper Union sold to the developer in 2007), it would still mark an important milestone for the project, which is being built entirely on spec. Still, high-profile technology tenants – including IBM, Microsoft, and Facebook – have been kicking the tires around 51 Astor Place, some of whose design features were recently profiled by Mr. Minskoff at a Young Men’s/Women’s Real Estate Association luncheon (calling it “the coolest” building he’s ever developed. It doesn’t appear that the presentation is available anywhere online – yet – but the building’s low-e, glazed glass and aluminum curtain wall will help support the project’s application for a LEED Gold rating from USGBC.). According to the Commercial Observer, the developer disclosed during the luncheon that his firm has invested nearly $100 million in equity to finance the project – essentially betting that a high-profile tenant will jump at the chance to anchor a boutique trophy building.
A 51 Astor Place location would be Hult’s sixth overall: Boston and San Francisco in the U.S. and London, Dubai, and Shanghai abroad.