Morgan Stanley Expanding To Take Over BlackRock’s Manhattan HQ

Morgan Stanley has signed one of the largest leases in Manhattan since the start of the pandemic, continuing the recent surge in demand for office space in the heart of New York City.

The financial services firm has agreed to a 15-year, 400K SF lease at Fisher Brothers‘ Park Avenue Plaza in Midtown, taking over the space currently occupied by BlackRockBloomberg reports.

While the terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed, the agreement continues the momentum from a strong fourth quarter for Manhattan’s office market that saw a run of massive leases over the past four months.

The deal expands Morgan Stanley’s already significant presence at Park Avenue Plaza, where the Times Square-based firm already occupies around 93K SF.  BlackRock is vacating the building to relocate its headquarters across town to 50 Hudson Yards, where it signed a 15-year, 850K SF pre-lease in 2016.

In a market with record vacancies, inking Morgan Stanley ensures that Park Avenue Plaza will remain largely occupied for the foreseeable future. The 41-story tower on East 52nd Street faced the imminent departure of its two largest tenants, BlackRock and insurer Aon, who together leased around half the building. 

Now, Morgan Stanley will take over BlackRock’s former headquarters, while Aon’s footprint is set to be leased by a pair of financial firms already subletting the space, The Real Deal reports. Additionally, asset manager Jennison Associates agreed to a 119K SF lease last February that runs through 2040. 

Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman has been among the most vocal financial CEOs about the importance of office work, saying last summer at a conference, “If you can go into a restaurant in New York City, you can come into an office.”

He has since walked back those comments with the onset of the omicron variant and a record number of cases in New York and globally.

Morgan Stanley’s expansion continues a trend of strong demand growth across the Manhattan office market that gained momentum in the last quarter of 2021. But even after a quarter punctuated by a series of large office leases, Morgan Stanley’s agreement ranks second by square footage since October of last year. Only MSG’s 428K SF renewal at 2 Penn Plaza was larger. Close behind was NBCUniversal Media’s extension at 1221 Avenue of the Americas at close to 340K SF. 


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