St. John’s grabs space in New York

St. John's landed space in New York City.

Edward Minskoff looks to come through on his claim that the Minskoff Equities building at 51 Astor Place in New York City will be fully leased before the start of February.

Minskoff told Commercial Observer, "By January 30 we'll be 100 percent leased there, and that's all I'll say."

In October, online auctioneer 1stdibs signed a 15-year lease for the entire 42,232-square-foot third floor of the 12-story building.

Minskoff added an even bigger leasing partner earlier in December. Minskoff and Co. agreed to a deal with St. John's University for a 71,000-square-foot lease across the first and second floors. The deal also includes some space on part of its concourse level. The building totals approximately 400,000 square feet.

"This location puts St. John's in the heart of one of New York City's most vibrant neighborhoods with unlimited student engagement opportunities and access to a host of potential employers," Martha Hirst, St. John's chief operating officer and treasurer, told Commercial Observer.

What about the space?
The deal allows St. John to replace the school's 101 Murray Street campus in Tribeca, which sold for $223 million in July 2013.

The 51 Astor Place facility will be home to St. John's School of Risk Management, the Kathryn & Shelby Cullom Davis Library and its English language institute called The Language Connection. The site will also house the world's largest collection of risk and insurance literature, according to Commercial Observer.

"51 Astor Place's forward-thinking infrastructure allows tenants to have a high-performance platform for employees and clients, and I am confident that St. John's will flourish in the space," said Minskoff, according to the Commercial Observer.

St. John's plans to have the space open for students in time for the 2014 fall semester.

No tenants at time of construction
Minskoff has had success starting construction without any deals in place. He built the World Financial Center — which has been renamed Brookfield Space — and the 7.5 million square feet of space it covered without a single tenant under contract. Minskoff, though, soon landed big-time organizations such as American Express, Merrill Lynch, Oppenheimer and Dow Jones, according to reports from Commercial Observer.

The building, which is LEED Gold-rated for its energy-efficient design, has a 24-hour McDonald's and wide variety of other small shops and restaurants to drive foot traffic.

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