Big office tenants and towers playing high-stakes chess game in Manhattan

Here’s a story of a kind we haven’t written in a while: a large-scale chess game involving potential moves by two huge companies and three first-line office towers.

It’s refreshing to learn of large deals that might or might not even happen at a time when the high-end commercial market is mostly at an eerie standstill, dominated by renewals and small new leases.

Market sources told us that Paul Weiss, a tenant at RXR Realty and China Life’s 1285 Sixth Avenue for nearly 30 years, is considering a move into slightly less space at Fisher Brothers’ 1345 Sixth Ave. when its lease at 1285 expires at the end of 2026.

The powerful law firm has more than 500,000 square feet at 1285 Sixth.

With an eye on landing Paul Weiss, Fisher has supposedly put a hold on several negotiations with prospective tenants at 1345 Sixth to take parts of the former Bernstein floors, which would be used by Paul Weiss. AllianceBernstein moved the bulk of its operations to Nashville, Tenn., last year.

Meanwhile, in a separate but related situation, the buzz is that UBS — an even larger tenant at 1285 Sixth than Paul Weiss, with more than 800,000 square feet —  is toying with moving large units of Credit Suisse, which UBS recently acquired, from SL Green’s 11 Madison Avenue to 1285 Sixth.

Well-placed sources said that UBS’s intentions have thrown a monkey wrench into the situation at 1285 Sixth, where its lease runs  beyond 2030.

1345 Sixth Avenue
Paul Weiss is considering moving from 1285 Sixth Ave. to a slightly smaller space at 1345 Sixth.
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UBS building
UBS is toying with moving large units of Credit Suisse from SL Green’s 11 Madison Avenue to 1285 Sixth Ave.
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“They’re looking to consolidate the Credit Suisse space. If they’re able to do it at 1285 Sixth, it could motivate Paul Weiss to find a new home because they were looking to expand. But there aren’t many blocks [at other buildings] available of the size it needs,” one insider said.

A different source said that Paul Weiss actually preferred to stay at 1285 Sixth if it could grow there, but, “The Credit Suisse thing complicated things.”

An SL Green source said that UBS/CS “is a long way from developing a real estate strategy relative to 1285 Sixth and 11 Madison. They may not yet have clarity as to which CS business lines are to be retained or sold and what the final head count will be. Only after that will they focus on where people will be located.”

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UBS recently bought Credit Suisse for more than $3 billion.
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RXR chief executive Scott Rechler declined to comment, as did CBRE’s Peter Turchin, the agent for 1345 Sixth.

Representatives for Paul Weiss didn’t respond to a request for comment. Neither did anyone from Newmark, where a brokerage team represents the law firm. Reps for UBS could not immediately be reached.

Whether or not any parts of the scenario come to pass, the drama plays out against the backdrop of the Sixth Avenue/Rockefeller Center subdistrict, which is healthier by most metrics than all but one other corridor.

According to CBRE’s 1Q data, Sixth Avenue availability of 12.5% was bettered only by Park Avenue at 11.5% and miles better than 23.7% in East Midtown, 21.3% in the Times Square area, 23.2% in the Penn District and 18.5% in Midtown overall.

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𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁𝘀, 𝗖𝗼𝗽𝘆𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 & 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘆:
𝗙𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗿𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗗𝗠𝗖𝗔,
𝗣𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝘂𝘀 𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗶𝗹 𝗮𝘁

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