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Successful renovations require tenant input.

There is no more challenging position for a professional property manager than the hands-on management of a building undergoing a major transformation. Here at Five Penn Plaza, where we have just completed a more than $60 million renovation, the last five years have been demanding, exciting and rewarding for everyone involved in the project -- especially the property management team.

The fact is, property management played a key role in the successful metamorphosis of Five Penn Plaza. From its development in 1916 up until just about eight years ago, Five Penn Plaza was known as The Printing Arts building. It was essentially an antiquated, yet structurally sound and well located loft building that had been home to many of New York's most famous printing companies.

In the 1980s, with the tenancy on decline and an office market booming with modern, new product, the owners of Five Penn Plaza began a comprehensive renovation of the property. This project covered every single aspect of the building: exterior restoration, new window installation, complete gut rehab of interior space, design and build-out of a modern, marble lobby, and the upgrade and installation of state-of-the-art electric, mechanical, HVAC, elevator, life-safety and security systems.

Clearly, we embarked upon this massive project with the intent to establish Five Penn Plaza in a unique niche: a Class A office building with the most modern systems available. However, while it is relatively easy for architects and engineers to plan such a project, it takes a tremendous amount of research, time and work for the on-site property management team to turn the plans and systems into an effective reality.

Throughout the renovation it was our job to make sure the existing tenants remained comfortable and, more importantly, to educate them about the changes taking place and how the renovation would impact their businesses. Sensitivity to tenant concerns and maintaining positive relations was an integral part of the overall plan to renovate the building and restore it to 100 percent occupancy.

At the same time, it was equally vital that the Five Penn Plaza building staff learn about all the new systems, installed. It would be meaningless for us to spend time and money installing high-tech building security, life-style and mechanical systems without the ability to master them.

Over the last few years, we have spent many hours in training, learning the intricacies of each and every new building service. Through intensive training seminars and regular staff meetings, we have mastered these systems -- most of them computerized and extremely sensitive. The result is that each and every member of the Five Penn Plaza team is comfortable with the new technology available and able to respond to questions, problems and changing situations around the clock.

Five Penn Plaza's transformation from loft building to Class A office building has successfully enabled the property to just about reach its leasing goals. In fact, during the first nine months of 1993, over 275,000 square feet of space was leased. With just two floors remaining available, the building has also undergone a transformation of tenancy, now serving as home to such businesses as CNN, AT&T, News America, Thomas Publishing, and Cable & Wireless.

We feel an effective on-site management team played a major role in both retaining and attracting tenants at Five Penn Plaza. Through open communication and determination to master all new systems and maintain a clean, calm environment during the renovation, the property management team has helped make the building owner's risk pay off in the end.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Hagedorn Publication
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Building Management & Maintenance; advice for renovation of commercial buildings
Author:Telesco, Nicholas
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Oct 6, 1993
Previous Article:Informed owner reps facilitate leasing.
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