For over eighty years, New York Telephone and its successor company Verizon have been located at the iconic, Art Deco-style, landmarked Barclay-Vesey Building at 140 West Street. But first 9/11 and then Superstorm Sandy appears to have been enough for the telecom giant: in a $274 million transaction that connects a number of recent, interesting gbNYC+ storylines, the company has announced plans to move its headquarters back to Midtown and its former home at 1095 Sixth Avenue, across the street from Bryant Park and the somewhat star-crossed (at least from an energy-use perspective) Bank of America Tower.
In the deal, Verizon sold the upper 21 floors of the 31-story, 1.8 million-square-foot tower, which suffered over a billion dollars in losses on 9/11. Then Sandy-related flooding caused millions in damage to various equipment on the lower floors. Yet Verizon will keep the lower ten floors, where nearly 600 Verizon Communications employees will continue to work. 1100 other customer service employees will relocate to another Verizon property at 395 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. The purchaser – Magnam Real Estate – will convert the upper ten floors to residential condo units.
“We are pleased to continue to move forward with the conversion of our building on West Street from a traditional telecommunications hub to a multipurpose building that will contribute meaningfully to the city’s long-term vision for a vibrant World Trade Center neighborhood,” Verizon senior vice president of global real estate John Vazquez told Crain’s. “We believe that with our co-owners, Magnum Real Estate Group, we will stand out in what already has become a desirable tourist and residential center for New York City.”
The transaction is interesting for a few reasons. First, it echoes a disposition pattern: Verizon similarly sold off almost all of 375 Pearl Street in 2011 (for $120 million), retaining only three floors to house various telecommunications equipment. That building is now home to the Intergate.Manhattan data center facility, which continues to expand as New York City’s tech sector’s appetite for data storage and computing power increases. Second, in moving to 1095 Sixth Avenue (pictured, left), Verizon is returning to the address of its former headquarters, which it left in 2005 after selling most of that building off to the Blackstone Group (though, again, it retained a seven-floor condominium interest in connection with that transaction).
In 2008, 1095 Sixth Avenue – which was once known the Verizon Building – underwent a two-year, $410 million, Moed de Armas & Shannon- and Gensler-led renovation that replaced the building’s entire shell, effectively creating an entirely new structure. Its marble exterior was replaced with an energy-efficient glass curtain wall but – as we noted at the time – the project did not pursue any LEED rating or other third-party certification in connection with its efforts.