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Office market still cautious.

There is still considerable consternation and caution in the marketplace but I'm pleased to report that during the first half of this year, leasing activity was stronger at our more than a dozen Manhattan office buildings than the same period in 1992. And we're hopeful and feel reasonably confident that this upswing will continue during the months ahead.

Recently, for example, we leased all of our retail space at 251 Park Avenue South -- more than 8,500 square feet-to Dixon Galleries, a leading antique auctioneer, and signed Odin Fashion Corp. to two full floors at one of our West Side properties.

While demand has been healthy, the recession appears to be lingering, especially here in the northeast. As a result, I believe the great majority of corporate space users will continue to place a higher priority on value; in other words, finding quality space for the best price. And, I strongly believe that owners who are willing to invest in serious upgrading in an effort to make their property competitive, will ultimately reap the rewards of that decision.

That has certainly been our experience. A few years ago we launched a carefully conceived, multi-million dollar capital improvements program designed to upgrade, over a period of years, our entire portfolio of properties. The results have been gratifying.

As part of this effort, we completed a major restoration and modernization at 251 Park Avenue South last year and this year we are beginning the major phase of a similar effort at our showcase office building at 212 Fifth Avenue.

In addition to new lobbies, elevator controller cabs and other capital improvements to common areas, the F.M. Ring program also incorporates two other important features -- new building installations of the highest quality and flexible terms and prices that reflect a keen sensitivity to market conditions. Those elements, together with our longstanding history of timely payments on brokerage commission, has helped refocus attention on our buildings and the tremendous opportunities they offer for space-users in the current marketplace.

As we continue to confront one of the most challenging markets in real estate history, our company remains committed to adding value whenever it can help to hiring any of our building's to the highest possible level of competitiveness.

While that may be a bit taxing on our bottom line in the short run, we believe it offers us the best opportunity for long-term growth.
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Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Mid-Year Review & Forecast, Section III; evaluation of New York, New York office rental market
Author:Ring, Frank
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Column
Date:Jun 23, 1993
Previous Article:Big Apple's rental housing barely hangs on.
Next Article:Bright future for conversions.

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