Earlier this week, Crain’s reported that Hines has secured the construction financing that will allow it to proceed with the LEED-hopeful 7 Bryant Park, the 28-story, 470,000-square-foot boutique trophy office building it plans to build at the corner of West 40th Street and Sixth Avenue in Midtown. The news is significant for a number of reasons – construction financing for new, speculative real estate projects like 7 Bryant Park is hard to come by these days – but it’s unclear how much the lender (JPMorgan Chase) is providing to the Houston-based Hines.
As Crain’s notes, 7 Bryant Park’s relatively small size compared with other spec office towers like Boston Properties’ 250 West 55th Street and Related’s Hudson Yards means it needs to lease up a much smaller block of space (typically, half of an office tower’s square footage) in order to make the project’s finances work. Still, 7 Bryant Park must compete with Edward Minskoff’s 51 Astor Place – the similarly sized boutique office building that’s under construction in Greenwich Village – for the same pool of tenants, many of whom belong to a local technology scene that wants to work downtown. Whether 7 Bryant Park can generate the same initial interest from those types of tenants that have kicked tires below 34th Street – like Microsoft, for example – remains to be seen. But 7 Bryant Park’s prime location, coupled with a continued lack of new Class A office space in Midtown, make it as sure a bet as there is in the current economic climate.
Hines is developing the project in a partnership with Pacolet Milliken, which has owned the development site since 1954. Now that financing is in place, construction could start this year in time for a projected 2014 occupancy. Designed by Pei Cobb Freed principal Henry Cobb, the steel and glass tower will offer 10-foot finished ceilings and full-height vision glass on each tenant floor. Its signature hourglass facade detail will provide dramatic views directly into Bryant Park on the opposite side of Sixth Avenue.