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Downtown market steals leasing spotlight.

While activity in Manhattan's Midtown and Midtown South districts continued at an even pace, the Downtown area stole the city's commercial leasing spotlight during the 30-day period ending May I as the eagerly awaited Prudential Securities mega-deal was completed.

The transaction, consisting of a renewal of space at One Seaport Plaza and a new lease for just over I million feet of space at Chase Manhattan Bank's One New York Plaza, brought Downtown leasing activity for the year up to 2.2 million square feet - a significant increase over the 1.5 million feet leased during the first four months of 1992, reports Stephen B. Siegel, president of the Edward S. Gordon Company, Inc. (ESG), in the firm's monthly analysis of the Manhattan office space market.

With the recent leasing activity serving to stabilize the marketplace, Siegel noted that a "near equilibrium" between the leasing of space and the return of space to the Downtown market has now been achieved. The Prudential Securities deal - the only transaction in the district for more than 250,000 square feet of space - accounts for 40 percent of all downtown leasing so far this year. Transactions of less than 50,000 square feet made up about 53 percent of all activity.

Among the other significant Downtown leases last month, Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York took 48,000 square feet at 32 Old Slip and Dealers Digest leased 22,000 square feet at One World Trade Center. The district's availability rate rose slightly during the period to 22.5 percent or 20.5 million square feet of space.

Midtown leasing activity totalled just over one million square feet last month, about in line with the previous 30-day period, but a significant drop from the 1.7 million leased during the same month last year.

While it remains the strongest segment of the Manhattan office market, with year-to-date net absorption of 300,000 square feet, absorption numbers nonetheless took a dive last month when more space was returned to the market than was leased. As a result, the overall Midtown availability rate increased slightly to 16.4 percent from 16.2 percent a month earlier.

The Sixth Avenue/Rockefeller Center corridor experienced the greatest jump in availabilities as a result of the "listing" of nearly 400,000 square feet of space at 1133 Avenue of the Americas and 140,00 square feet at 1155 Avenue of the Americas. Year-to-date, more than 4.2 million square feet of space have been leased in Midtown, with small transactions of less than 10,000 square feet making up the bulk (38.6 percent) of that activity. Among the largest transactions last month, Cushman & Wakefield leased 155,000 square feet of space at 51 West 52nd Street for its headquarters; Golden Press leased 35,000 square feet at 825 Eighth Avenue; and Sybase leased 29,000 square feet at 1114 Avenue of the Americas.

Leasing activity in the "alternative" office market of Midtown South continues at a steady pace. It totalled 140,000 square feet last month bringing cumulative figures to 470,000 square feet for the first four months of the year - slightly ahead of the four-month total of 456,000 square feet in 1992.

Another sign of stabilization in the district is the slowdown of the return of space to the market. More space, Siegel noted, was leased than added to the market last month, causing a net absorption of nearly 70,000 square feet. This resulted in a dip of available space from 6.6 million square feet to 6.5 million square feet during the period.

The Flatiron, Park Avenue South and Hudson Square/Tribeca segments accounted for most of the activity - and also have the largest stock of space. Together, they total 4.5 million square feet of the 6.5 million available.

The largest transaction in Midtown South last month was the 30,000-square-foot lease by the Association for the Help of Retarded Children at 200 Park Avenue South.
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Title Annotation:commercial leasing activity increases in Manhattan, New York, New York
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:May 26, 1993
Words:667
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