|One Worldwide Plaza|
Worldwide Plaza Complex in 2007
|Location||825 8th Avenue|
Manhattan, New York City
|Owner||New York REIT|
|Roof||237.14 m (778.0 ft)|
|Floor area||1,706,187 sq ft (158,510.0 m2)|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Skidmore, Owings & Merrill|
|Structural engineer||Skidmore, Owings & Merrill|
One Worldwide Plaza is the largest tower of a three-building, mixed-use commercial and residential complex in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. The complex, known collectively as Worldwide Plaza, was completed in 1989.
One Worldwide Plaza is a commercial office tower on the west side of Eighth Avenue, while Two Worldwide Plaza is a residential condominium tower west of the center of the block, and Three Worldwide Plaza is a low-rise condominium residential building with street level stores on Ninth Avenue, to the west of the towers. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill was the designer for the office complex, and the residential complex was designed by Frank Williams.
The complex, whose component skyscrapers are among the list of tallest buildings in New York City, occupies the entire city block bounded by Eighth Avenue, Ninth Avenue, 49th Street, and 50th Street. One Worldwide Plaza is built on the site of New York City's third Madison Square Garden.
Architecture and design
Designed by David Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the Worldwide Plaza complex was developed by William Zeckendorf, Jr. and Victor Elmaleh of the World Wide Group. The building of One Worldwide Plaza was documented in a Channel 4 / PBS mini-series and a companion book Skyscraper: The Making of a Building by Karl Sabbagh. One Worldwide Plaza is a 50-story, 1.5 million square feet (140,000 m2), 778-foot (237 m) office skyscraper. The building has three separate entrances to accommodate the various tenants in the building, which include the law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore, the Japanese investment bank Nomura, and, formerly, the international advertising agency of Ogilvy & Mather. The base of the building is made of granite and precast concrete. The tower facade is made of brick. The building is crowned by a copper roof and glass pyramid known as "David's Diamond" after the architect, David Childs.
A mid-block public plaza separates One Worldwide Plaza from the residential buildings of Two Worldwide Plaza and Three Worldwide Plaza. The public plaza is a bonus space granted under New York City Department of City Planning. The creation and maintenance of the public plaza resulted in permission to build additional floors in the office tower. The landscaping of the plaza contains over 40 trees and numerous plantings, and a cafe. Public seating is available year round. The center of the plaza is highlighted by a fountain created by Sidney Simon called "The Four Seasons". Four female statues, each modelled by Molly Ackerman and representing a season, hold up a globe. A theater space lies beneath the public plaza; it was originally a six-screen movie theatre but is now occupied by five Off-Broadway theatres known as New World Stages. Access is gained by two kiosk buildings: one on 49th Street and the other on 50th Street. The 50th Street New York City Subway station (C and E trains) is underneath. The southbound platform was renovated when One Worldwide Plaza was built.
New York Times architecture critic Paul Goldberger praised the project's layout and the tower's design as "sumptuous". However, he criticized the cheapness of the building's materials including the use of brick in place of stone and the sparing use of granite as well as the lack of mullions on the tower's windows. He also noted the building's inspiration from the New York Life Building and Crown Building.
Following the opening of the current Madison Square Garden arena at 34th street, the former arena at 50th Street began demolition in 1968. Initially, replacement plans included a four-theater complex sponsored by the City Center for Music and Drama, a film production center and a new home for the American Film Institute. In 1973, Cushman & Wakefield and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill were hired to study the feasibility of constructing a large commercial showroom complex on the site similar to the Merchandise Mart in Chicago or AmericasMart in Atlanta. The complex would be topped by a tower which could have contained a hotel, offices, or apartments.
In December 1976, developer Frank Stanton proposed a $30 million enclosed amusement park for the site named Hippodrome Park. The amusement park would include a variety of rides, restaurants, and films and would be designed by Randall Duell, who had previously designed theme parks including Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags Magic Mountain. The park would host seventeen rides, which included two thrill rides (one of which a looping ride that would carry riders through the roof of the enclosed park) and a log flume ride; there would also be a three-story carousel, a puppet show, an aviary, and 3D films. Admission would cost $7 and include all the attractions. The structure would have had a low profile accented by angular expanses of glass over the larger rides and a central mall with 500 parking spots beneath the park. The enclosed structure would allow the park to be climate controlled and operate year-round, unlike other New York City parks like Astroland at Coney Island in Brooklyn and the short-lived Freedomland U.S.A. in the Bronx. The City of New York was supportive of the project as part of its initiative to clean up nearby Times Square but the developers were ultimately unable to raise the necessary funds to purchase the site.
Instead, conglomerate Gulf and Western Industries acquired control of the 4-acre (1.6 ha) site in August 1977. The company drew up plans for a large three-story podium that would cover the entire site and include a shopping mall and a skating rink. On top of the podium would sit a 52-story office building and two 60-story apartment towers. In total, the proposed development would include over 2.3 million square feet (210,000 m2) of space. However, as a result of a companywide restructuring, Gulf and Western only operated the site as a parking lot before selling it to a group led by William Zeckendorf Jr. and Arthur G. Cohen for $100 million in December 1984.
Planning and development
Late the following year, Zeckendorf announced plans for a $500 million complex containing a 45-story office tower on Eighth Avenue, a 38-story condominium tower to the west and several six- and seven-story residential buildings fronting on Ninth Avenue. Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, at the time the country's fourth-largest advertising agency, agreed to relocate the company's headquarters to the first 12 floors of the office tower. The plans also included a remodeling of the 50th Street station and the renovation of six nearby vacant tenements into low-income housing. Kumagai Gumi, Victor Elmaleh, and Frank Stanton would provide an additional equity investment in the development. The plans totaled 2 million square feet, including 600 apartment units, and would require a zoning variance since the buildings were approximately 40% bulkier than what was allowed under the city's zoning code. The complex also received an eight-year tax abatement valued at $60 million which would have to be repaid in installments starting in the 11th year after completion.
The surrounding neighborhood and West Side of Manhattan consisted mostly of lower-income tenements and small retail buildings with most office development concentrated east of Broadway. The New York Times described the area as "a neighborhood best known for pornography and cheap bars," "synonymous with drugs, pornography and prostitution," and "more red light than blue chip". Zeckendorf predicted the development would lead to "what most consider the bad part of New York disappearing." Following the announcement of the new complex, local Manhattan Community Board 4 announced their opposition due to the height of the buildings and the lack of low- and moderate-income housing. The Board expressed concern that rising real estate tax assessments would push out lower-income tenants and family businesses.
In June 1987, the developers secured a $545 million construction loan from syndicate of 15 different banks spread across the United States, Japan, Canada, and Europe. The development group was required to provide a $100 million letter of credit, effectively serving as 20% recourse on the project. The bank group included Mitsubishi Bank, Hokkaido Takushoku Bank, the Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan, The Bank of Tokyo, Tokai Bank, Sanwa Bank, Taiyo Kobe Bank, Deutsche Bank, Swiss Bank Corporation, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Bank of Montreal, Manufacturers Hanover Corporation, Irving Trust, Chemical Bank, and Lincoln Savings Bank.
In early 1989, advertising agency N. W. Ayer & Son also agreed to move in to the building and lease 335,000 square feet (31,100 m2). Record label PolyGram also agreed to lease 120,000 square feet (11,000 m2) in the building. Following the building's completion, the New York Times' architecture critic Paul Goldberger declared that the project had "turned one of the harshest blocks of midtown Manhattan into a glittering island of corporate luxury."
Sales and foreclosure
In October 1998, Equity Office Properties agreed to acquire the building for $310 million split between $110.6 million in cash and $199.3 million in the REIT's partnership units, essentially the company's stock. The company also agreed to assume the $268.1 million in debt on the property, bringing the transaction's value to $578 million.
In July 2009, Deutsche Bank agreed to sell Worldwide Plaza for $600 million to George Comfort and Sons. In 2011, Japanese investment bank Nomura agreed to lease over 900,000 square feet (84,000 m2) across 20 floors in the building in a move from Downtown's Brookfield Place. The lease brought the building up to 95% occupancy.
George Comfort & Sons put the building up for sale in August 2012, reportedly hoping for a $1.7 billion valuation, almost triple what the company had paid just three years prior. However, by October 2012 bids for the building only reached around $1.5 billion. Potential buyers were reportedly worried about the building's tenants including Nomura, which had recently had its credit rating downgraded by Moody's Investors Service, and Cravath, after prestigious New York law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf suddenly declared bankruptcy in May 2012.
American Realty Capital
In February 2013, Deutsche Bank provided a $710 million mortgage on the property. Nine months later, American Realty Capital New York Recovery REIT, one of several companies owned by New York real estate mogul Nicholas Schorsch, acquired a 48.9% interest in the property for $220 million, as well as the rights to buy the remaining 51.1% at a later date, in a deal that valued the building at $1.325 billion. The move came several months after Scott Rechler's RXR Realty had attempted to purchase the building for $1.25 billion. American Realty Capital exercised their option to purchase an additional 49.9% stake in June 2017 for $277 million, bringing the company's ownership to 98.8%.
Following a decision to liquidate the company's holdings, American Realty Capital began marketing the building for sale in January 2017. While the company had initially hoped to sell the building entirely, bidders were put off by the property's existing $870 million mortgage, which carried a relatively high interest rate of 4.6%, had high amortization costs, and did not mature until 2023. Additionally, foreign entities, especially Chinese firms, had reined in their investment in New York real estate following a rapid pace of acquisitions in 2014 through 2016. All three of the final bidders insisted that American Realty Capital pay off the mortgage before they would purchase the building, a request which would have cost the company over $116 million in defeasance costs. Instead, American Realty Capital opted to sell only a non-controlling stake in the building and pursue a refinancing with more favorable terms following the acquisition. Four years after attempting to purchase the building outright, RXR Realty and SL Green Realty agreed to purchase a 48.7% stake in the building, valuing it at $1.73 billion.
Following the acquisition, American Realty Capital owned 50.1% of the building's equity and George Comfort & Sons maintained their 1.2% stake. Goldman Sachs agreed to provide a $1.2 billion loan to refinance the property following the acquisition. The commercial mortgage-backed security (CMBS) loan closed on October 17 and was one of the largest CMBS loans on a New York office building since the financial crisis of 2007–08. Shortly after origination, Goldman Sachs syndicated 25% of the loan to Deutsche Bank. The loan consisted of $940 million in senior debt split into ten different pari passu notes and a $260 million junior loan in the form of mezzanine capital, split into a $190 million senior tranche and a $70 million junior tranche. The loan had a term of ten years and was interest-only for the entire term. At the time, an appraisal valued the property at $1.74 billion since the building was 98.4% occupied and generating net cash flows of over $85 million a year.
One Worldwide Plaza is anchored by the global headquarters of Am Law 100 law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore and the North American headquarters of Japanese investment bank Nomura Securities, each of which occupy roughly 700,000 square feet (65,000 m2).
As of October 2014[update], CBS TV is going to consolidate numerous locations of their east coast distribution offices during the first quarter of 2015 through a 12-year, 32,598 square-foot lease for the entire 30th floor at 1 Worldwide Plaza. The company's lease followed another media company, M. Shanken Communications (owner of Wine Spectator), lease of 38,400 square feet (3,570 m2) in May 2014.
In April 2015, Howard J. Rubenstein's Rubenstein Associates signed a lease for two full floors in the building, totaling 68,000 square feet (6,300 m2) of space. In June 2015, Prometheus Global Media moved to occupy the entire 29th floor with a 33,000-square-foot (3,100 m2) lease, bringing the building to 100% occupancy. In November 2019, West Monroe Partners signed a 41,715 square feet (3,875.5 m2) lease to move their New York City offices to the building's entire 17th floor.
Facade and main entrance on 8th Avenue
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