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A First Look at REBNY’s Historical Archives, Now at LaGuardia Community College

They’re not the Dead Sea Scrolls,” admitted Michael Slattery, the senior vice president of research for the Real Estate Board of New York, “but for us, they’re the equivalent.”

Slattery is talking about the 35 boxes worth of materials that REBNY delivered from its Midtown headquarters, at 570 Lexington Avenue, to the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives at the City University of New York’s LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, Queens, this past September. The shipment contained a treasure trove of historical documents, tracing the course of REBNY’s 122-year history—and with it, the history of New York City real estate.

“We had them in our offices. I had some in my office. We had diaries in the storage room. We had property cards in metal file cabinets in the conference room,” William Auerbach, REBNY’s chief financial officer, said of the documents REBNY donated to the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives.

He said the industry group decided that providing LaGuardia with the materials would be the best way to ensure their future preservation, while also making them available for academic and research use to the wider public.

In addition to thousands of institutional artifacts—membership directories, annual diaries, meeting minutes ledgers and photographs from REBNY galas and dinners past—the boxes shipped to LaGuardia Community College contained an estimated 300,000 “property cards” that, for decades, REBNY used to document property information “for every block and lot in Manhattan,” Auerbach said.

Those property cards—12-by-6-inch index cards featuring information on everything from property transfers to mortgage details to zoning alterations—comprise the most expansive, and arguably most valuable, facet of the historical trove. The organization maintained and updated the cards, which date back to the 1920s, up until the turn of the 20th century as “repositories of information” for members interested in a given property’s history, according to Slattery.

“It was a member service to provide information and save you from going down to the city register’s office [near City Hall],” Slattery said.

Since the handover, archivists at the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives have been busy at work, going through the boxes and undertaking the painstaking task of gaining “informational control,” according to LaGuardia Community College archivist Douglas Di Carlo—a process that includes counting, ordering, processing and eventually digitizing the documents.

“There are some volumes, particularly the early volumes from the late 19th and early 20th century, that will need conservation work—repaired bindings and pages,” Di Carlo said.

City historian Kevin Draper of New York Historical Tours said the documents will provide researchers with firsthand source materials on the history of New York City real estate. And beyond real estate, Draper added, the REBNY archives’ value extends to the general history of the city.

“One thing about New York is that from the very beginning—when the Dutch settled here 400 years ago—it was always about real estate,” he said. “Everything in this town always starts with the real estate, and having access to archives like this is a great way to find out that information.”

Source: commercial

The Plan: For a Furniture Dealer, a ‘Showhouse’ Is the Best of Both Worlds

A “showhouse” is how designer and furniture dealer Meadows Office Interiors describes its second New York City location on the fifth floor of 625 West 55th Street between 11th and 12th Avenues.

Showhouse, yes, in that it’s been decorated and made to look like an exhibition—but being that it’s near the West Side Highway, with easy access to ship its goods and has 18-foot ceilings, it’s also a 17,000-square-foot warehouse.

The remaining 3,000-square-foot section is an office-showroom furnished with products from 53 of the 300 manufacturers with whom Meadows works. This setup allows for the actual office to be a display for clients who visit.

“We made sure that a client can come in here and see a whole range of products,” Sheri David, the chief executive officer of Meadows, told Commercial Observer on a recent tour of the new digs.

Take the 65-inch tabletop screen near the middle of the office for example. It has architecture software installed so that clients can work on office designs while on site. At the same time, Meadows is a distributor for Ideum, the manufacturer of the screen, so it showcases a product as well.

Most of the office is set up on a platform, which pushes the flooring higher to allow electrical wiring to run directly underneath the floors. As with tenants that purchase the flooring Meadows can easily move outlets in case it needs to relocate or expand workstations quickly.

“If [tenants] want to move at a moment’s notice, this helps,” said Marissa Allen, the chief operating officer of Meadows. “You need to show clients the ability to be flexible.”

Currently, 12 employees work at the showroom—under a multicolored painting of diamond shapes—in sales and client advisory roles. There are also four in the warehouse division. Construction of the project wrapped up in December 2017. The 91-person company’s main showroom and offices are at the Lipstick Building at 885 Third Avenue. (It also has additional locations in New Jersey.)

The showroom has three “mockup rooms,” which allow clients to set up products—like desks and chairs—to test the design and feel. And there is stadium seating in front the model rooms that allow people to watch the action. Meadows designed the walls between the showroom and warehouse in glass so light fills the storage area.

A flexible room, called “the den,” features a Ping-Pong table and comfortable colorful chairs. It can be used to relax or for team meetings. And there is a conference room, equipped with a 14-seat table and 95-inch television, guarded by plant-covered barn doors.

In the furniture business, every purveyor has dealt with clients missing small parts (screws, nuts, bolts). To combat this, Meadows prepared a parts room in its new space with thousands of small replacement pieces.

“So when those boxes of casters for chairs disappear,” Allen said, “we can help, so people can sit.”


Source: commercial

Five City-Shifting Projects Credited to the Late John Portman

John Portman, Jr., who died on Dec. 29, 2017 in his hometown of Atlanta at age 93, was more than just a famous architect and developer—his large-scale complexes changed the faces of cities. They planted a flag for a city. They were the sudden skyline changer. They were the kinds of projects that spurred urban renewal around the United States and the world.

Choosing his top project is nearly an impossible task as his work spans nearly seven decades. He started his Atlanta-based eponymous architecture firm John Portman & Associates in 1953, after working at another firm for a few years, and he worked to the bitter end, according to The New York Times. (He was also a savvy businessman: Besides his architecture firm, he established development company Portman Holdings and the AmericasMart marketplace, a wholesaler of home, gift, area rug and apparel merchandise.)

His projects have inspired legions of followers, as his “city-within-a-city” mega-projects helped rejuvenate urban areas. We take a look at five of his most city-defining projects.


Source: commercial

The Plan: Inside AlphaSights’ Linear Designed Offices in Midtown East

To London-based AlphaSights, which helps top executives address challenges by connecting them to industry experts around the globe, the line is an important concept.

The company likes to highlight its mission showing a world map with ample crisscrossing lines, reflecting business connections it helped facilitate.

So when it came to the design of its new offices at RFR Realty’s 350 Madison Avenue between East 44th and East 45th Streets, the architecture firm Ted Moudis Associates focused on blending lines throughout the 47,000-square-foot offices.

The architects made a series of curved lines on the ceiling by using dark and white exposed and dropped ceilings and on the floors via the contrast between wood and polished floors. The curved theme can be seen in the sleek reception desk.

“We wanted to evoke connections that were being made,” Jeff Knoll, a design director at Ted Moudis, told Commercial Observer. “We thought that that was an appropriate image. So a lot of the design has these curving, fluid lines.”

AlphaSights relocated to the new offices in August last year, expanding from 22,000 square feet at 229 West 43rd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. The company has the entire 12th and 14th floors and half of the 15th floor at 350 Madison Avenue. (There is no 13th floor in the building.)

Bright red is accentuated throughout the new digs in chairs, walls and table legs because it’s AlphaSight’s branding color. The hue stands out because it is the only non-neutral color (black, white or gray) that is being used in the space, excluding the wood.

Since the U.K.-based company wanted its New York offices to feel like the Big Apple, the Ted Moudis team designed the offices to look like industrial New York properties. That’s why the ceilings are exposed and the floors are polished concrete. The conference rooms are encased in glass resembling factory windows, and the columns have been stripped.

The architecture team recognized that this industrial look tends to be a bit dark. So to warm the space up, they added a hint of nature: wood floors and walls in some areas. They even decked out some of the columns in wood and embedded planters in the columns.

There is a green wall in the café, an unenclosed area at the center of the office. It doubles as a town hall space, which can hold up to about 75 people, and has a variety of seating schemes.

“A lot of [AlphaSight’s] employees are millennials, and this is a kind of environment where they are providing a lot of amenities for the staff,” Knoll said. “There is beer, wine and snacks. The café becomes a space that is used all day long.”


Source: commercial

So Long, NYC: Real Estate Execs Flee Big Apple for These Five Cities

Leave it to Jonathan Kalikow, the president of Gamma Real Estate, to tell it like it is.

“In New York City, it’s ridiculously expensive,” the veteran investor said in an interview last month. Pick your poison: property values, legal expenses and most of all taxes—all can conspire to make the cost of real estate deals in the Big Apple as inflated as the price of a pack of cigarettes at a Wall Street newsstand.

Not so long ago, that tab was just the cost of doing business. But with flagging infrastructure investment dinging New York’s livability, ever-improving communications technology rendering geography less relevant and hoards of under-30s flocking to regions with more affordable housing rents, New York might want to reconsider resting on its laurels.

The squeeze tightened considerably last month when Donald Trump signed the Republican tax overhaul into law. The new code, finalized just before Christmas, caps deductions for state and local taxes at $10,000—previously, such deductions were unlimited. It’s a move that stands to hit New Yorkers and Californians especially hard—and most of all those with significant real estate holdings. Residents in the two states alone receive about a third of the deductions the Internal Revenue Service hands out for state and local taxes. In Westchester County, N.Y., more than 73 percent of residents pay more than $10,000 in property taxes—to say nothing of New York State’s top-line income tax bracket of 8.82 percent on income over $1 million.

At a time when New York’s streets and development market have never been more crowded and expensive, some savvy market players are striking out across the country in search of greener pastures—and better deals. Here are five cities that real estate pros told Commercial Observer they are eyeing.


Source: commercial

The Plan: Emerge212 Brings High-End Hospitality to 1185 Avenue of the Americas

While the stratospheric rise of WeWork has raised the profile of coworking to an unprecedented level in recent years—with more firms than ever seeking to cater to the market for short-term, highly amenitized shared working spaces—“not all spaces are created equal,” according to James Kleeman, a director at boutique shared office provider Emerge212.

“There’s a wide landscape of coworking spaces out there,” Kleeman said during a recent visit to Emerge212’s newest location at 1185 Avenue of the Americas in Midtown. “The trajectory of officing is only going more nimble, more flexible, more [able] to suit each individual company and entrepreneur’s needs.”

Emerge212 was formed in 1999 as a wholly owned subsidiary of SL Green Realty Corp., which makes the firm “old-timers in this industry,” as Kleeman put it. But despite its relatively senior status, the office provider is going for an altogether different vibe than its competitors—one bringing “the best of hospitality and design into officing,” Kleeman said. “Our value proposition is the three S’s: style, service and sophistication.”

The two-level, 56,000-square-foot space at the SL Green-owned 1185 Avenue of Americas opened this past summer as Emerge212’s third New York City location, and like its other two (at 3 Columbus Circle and 125 Park Avenue, also SL Green properties) offers a sleekly designed, aesthetically minded office environment featuring high-end finishes and amenities. There are conference rooms named after famous artists (Warhol, Picasso, Pollack) that pay homage in their choice of carpeting and wallpaper (think splattered patterns on the walls of the Pollack room), while common area flourishes including a blue wooden staircase, a wall decked out in green, moss-like material and a glass table featuring gold-leaf decor that responds to static from the touch (designed by Kleeman himself) add a vibrant, modern feel to the place.

Café areas include diner-style seating and top-of-the-line coffee machines plus sparkling water and wine on tap—a WeWork-esque touch that lifts the coworking giant’s infamous tap beer amenity but “underscores the sophistication and the differentiation” of Emerge212’s product, Kleeman said. There is a “bistro” area housing a kitchen and movable furniture that can be reorganized to accommodate events; a building code-compliant fireplace; a glossy bicycle storage room; and a lounge area featuring soundproof “serenity” chairs equipped with speakers that can play audio of the user’s choice. Meanwhile, common area users can pipe in music through the rooms’ speaker systems with a tap of a smartphone.

And then there are the offices themselves, which line hotel-style corridors equipped with chic lighting fixtures but—with their three-foot-thick obfuscated glass panels and keyless entry—go for a more traditional and “private” office experience than many shared office spaces. Emerge212 clients, who Kleeman said mostly come from the financing, technology, legal and consulting industries, can take anywhere from a single cubicle up to several suites banded together to accommodate dozens of employees.

“We don’t have these big team rooms that are split desk by desk by desk,” Kleeman said, noting that the space’s more corporate aesthetic is going for a more “Midtown” feel than more creatively minded coworking environments.

While Kleeman had significant input in the design, Emerge212 enlisted the help of architecture and interior design firm LB Architects, which also designed the locations at 3 Columbus Circle and 125 Park Avenue. Rachel Talavera, a senior designer at LB Architects, said Kleeman’s vision was inspired by European boutique hotels and a desire to equip the space with furnishings and finishes “that were new to the marketplace.”

“They’re very particular in that someone walks into their space and doesn’t say, ‘Oh, that’s a Restoration Hardware table,’ ” Talavera said.

For Kleeman, it’s not only about designing the most beautiful space possible—one capable of “satiating the five senses”—but also building an environment that tenants will want to stay in “year over year over year.”

“When you build and design something that’s not as traditional, you’re taking a leap that the clientele you’re building it for is going to love it, want it, sign for it and pay for it,” he said. “We’ve gotten great feedback.”


Source: commercial

The Plan: The Box Factory Breathes New Life Into Ridgewood Former Industrial Building

When Chris Fogarty, one of the founding partners of architecture and interior design firm Fogarty Finger, was approached by developer Daren Hornig about helming the redevelopment of a former manufacturing building in Ridgewood, Queens, he was initially reluctant. Fogarty’s firm had previously worked on a similar repositioning project for Hornig Capital Partners, at 95 Evergreen Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn, but this assignment was more limited in scale.

“I said, ‘Oh, I don’t want to go out there; it’s a little too small for us,’ ” Fogarty said. “And I went out there and walked around the space, and the building was so beautiful. I was like, ‘How can I not work on this?’ ”

The three-story, 63,000-square-foot building at 1519 Decatur Street was built in 1929 and for years served as a box and packaging manufacturing facility. By the time Fogarty walked through the space, however, “it was just a mess,” he said. “There was all this old equipment there; [the walls were] all painted white and graffitied and peeling.” On top of that, the building, which was originally connected to an adjacent property, had no entrance of its own.

But even in a state of disrepair, the bones of the building—wood joist ceilings, wood floors and brick exteriors—stuck out. “You didn’t really know what to do, but you knew it was amazing,” Fogarty said.

Armed with a $10 million budget from Hornig and its development partner, Brickman, Fogarty Finger got to work on the building in the summer of 2016. A year and a half later, the newly branded Box Factory is now complete. In addition to having resuscitated the old manufacturing building back to life in a new form, the project seeks to bring the kind of loft-like office product that’s been all the rage during the current commercial real estate cycle—tailor-made for young, creatively oriented tenants—to the area straddling the border between Ridgewood and Bushwick.

In addition to having to create an entirely new entrance on Decatur Street, “we had the pleasure of putting in 110 new windows throughout the entire property,” Hornig noted. They also removed sheet rock that covered the wood joists on the second floor. “We opened that up to expose the joist and give it that creative look and feel that a lot of these creative tenants are looking for, and kept as much [of the original structure] as we could to retain the authenticity of the property,” he said. Meanwhile, the building got new bathrooms, elevators and mechanical systems, as well as a significant rehab of its roof and facade.

With ABS Partners Real Estate marketing the property’s roughly 56,000 square feet of office space and Ripco Real Estate in charge of leasing its more than 7,000 square feet of retail, the building is primed for any possible mix of tenants—from marketing companies seeking to claim its 3,700-square-foot third-floor suite as their new home, to artisans who may fancy the first floor’s prebuilt suites (which range from 1,100 to 3,600 square feet), 14-foot-tall ceilings and access to an outdoor courtyard.

“What we’re finding is there are a lot of people who live around this area and this is at a much better price point than any comparable building in that area,” said ABS Managing Director Ben Waller, who pegged asking rents for at the Box Factory between the high $20s to mid-$30s per square foot. “There’s a huge creative community—there’s a film studio one block away and also four, five breweries [in the neighborhood].” Waller added that the property is seeking a retail tenant, such as a brewery or coffee roastery, that could serve as an amenity for other tenants in the building.

Yet while the Box Factory certainly brings a fresh commercial product to the neighborhood, for Fogarty, the best thing about the project was the opportunity to breathe new life into a beautiful old building.

“That’s the nice thing about these buildings—they get this whole new life for the next 50, 100 years,” he said. “To bring them back to the market you have to invest so much money and time, but it’s a great savior for these buildings. It probably would have wasted away and been knocked down at some point.”


Source: commercial

Times Square’s Opry City Stage Promises to Bring the Nashville Sound to Gotham

On Tuesday night, Trace Adkins did something a lot of country music singers do: he dropped by the Opry to do a set.

The weird thing was that it was in Times Square—not Nashville.

The Grand Ole Opry—the legendary country music venue (and radio program that has been running since the 1920s) in Tennessee—has a new incarnation in New York City called Opry City Stage.

Yes, country can survive in the city. (Hopefully.)

The 28,000-square-foot music and food venue, which takes up four floors, hadn’t officially opened yet when Adkins was jamming with the country music band Big Hix (it opens today); Adkins just performed for family and friends. But if it is a sign of what is to come, Gotham will be getting in touch with its inner Hank Williams in short order.

Owners Gadi Peleg, Gary Korn and Ken Sturm first looked at the space two years ago. They thought, “obviously something great has to happen here,” Peleg, who partnered with Ryman Hospitality Properties on the project, told Commercial Observer during a tour earlier in the week.

The venue is at 1604 Broadway, between West 48th and West 49th Streets and just north of the bowtie, a space that had spent a very long time languishing without a tenant. It was the site of David Copperfield’s doomed restaurant that never opened (The New York Times memorably headlined the announcement that Copperfield’s plan was kaput: “Poof! $34 Million Vanishes on Broadway.”)

But what to do with the space controlled by Atlas Capital through a ground lease?

Peleg said that Sturm “had the crazy idea about going to Nashville and bringing country music to New York.”

Ryman’s Grand Ole Opry, for those who aren’t country music fans, is a historical institution in Nashville; it has attracted the luminaries of the genre, from Patsy Cline, to Johnny Cash, to living legends like Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood, who perform multiple times per year. Peleg, Korn and Sturm worked out a deal for the Opry’s first satellite location in its more than 90-year history.

Plus, the idea has the unusual potential of walking the line between appealing to tourists and locals alike.

“Because of the location it will certainly be a tourist location,” Peleg said—but added, “I could definitely see this as a place for New Yorkers” who love country music. Indeed, Peleg and his partners promise a non-stop roster of local and national country music performers coming through. LoCash, for instance, is promised for New Year’s Eve. “This gives you a little piece of Americana in Times Square,” Peleg said.

And unlike a lot of Times Square venues that are all about flash and glitter, it would seem that Peleg, Korn and Sturm, have put some effort into giving it a slathering of substance as well. (As well as a forgivable dose of kitsch: There are, for instance, Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash outfits—a white suit, in Cash’s case—behind the glass in the back of the venue.)

Opry City Stage will certainly distinguish itself from its neighbors in terms of the food.

We like doing food that has “some kind of theater to it,” said Bruce Bromberg, who along with his brother Eric—the heads of the Blue Ribbon empire—is doing the menu.

The Bromberg reputation for fried chicken is one of the most highly respected in the city, so it makes sense they would be chosen for this kind of venue. However, it’s worth noting that they’re a unique presence in a part of town that has traditionally been more receptive to chains like Bubba Gump Shrimp or Applebee’s.

Bromberg has created a menu that would impress any sons of the south (he told Commercial Observer he’s expecting 1,500 covers per night): dinosaur-sized ribs; tender and sweet helpings of pulled pork; cheddar sausages; Nashville hot chicken (with waffles); and an enormous monkey bread with vanilla ice cream.

While Peleg and Korn declined to reveal the rent, The Real Deal reported that when the deal was signed in mid-2016, asking rents in the corridor were $2,363 per square foot, as per a Cushman & Wakefield report. (During construction, the building was the site of a tragedy when construction worker Jose Cruz fell to his death.)

There will be ticketed performances on the fourth floor, as well as other shows in the central space taking up the second and third floors, plus a retail component on the ground floor selling guitars made out of license plates (and going for just under $1,000 a piece), Goo Goo Clusters (it’s a southern candy thing) and trucker hats.

Perhaps all the rhinestone cowboys of 2017 have found their new home.


Source: commercial

Developers Talk the Remaking of Downtown, One Brick and Restaurant at a Time

When Larry Silverstein realized he would have to rebuild the World Trade Center in 2001, he never anticipated that the Financial District would experience a renaissance. But after the construction of three new World Trade towers, the new Fulton Transit Center, the Oculus, and the Shops at Brookfield Place, Manhattan’s long-sleepy downtown is seeing something of a rebirth.

 

co downtown 65 Developers Talk the Remaking of Downtown, One Brick and Restaurant at a Time
co downtown 104 Developers Talk the Remaking of Downtown, One Brick and Restaurant at a Time
co downtown 71 Developers Talk the Remaking of Downtown, One Brick and Restaurant at a Time
co downtown 109 Developers Talk the Remaking of Downtown, One Brick and Restaurant at a Time
co downtown 10 Developers Talk the Remaking of Downtown, One Brick and Restaurant at a Time

“​Sixteen years later, it’s nothing short of remarkable,” said Silverstein, speaking at Commercial Observer’s New Face of Downtown event in L&L Holding Company’s 195 Broadway. He touted the area’s 12 subway lines, its wealth of new restaurants, and its relatively youthful residential community compared to more established ‘hoods like the Upper East or Upper West Sides.

​”We’ve decided we’re moving away from the old fogies up there, because of the youth down here,” said Silverstein, who is himself picking up and moving with his wife from Park Avenue to his new condo development at 30 Park Place. “It’s the youthful vibe, it’s the authenticity, it’s the access to great amenities, access to great transit.”

Downtown Alliance head Jessica Lappin pointed out that the Financial District offers Class A office space at an average of $63 a square foot, a $20 discount from typical asking rents in Midtown, and class B office space for $53 a square foot. And 90 percent of the neighborhood’s jobs are within a five-minute-walk of at least seven subway lines, she said. Their conversation, which occurred during the day’s second panel on the “WTC Effect,” was moderated by Michael Zetlin, the founding partner of Zetlin & DeChiara.

During the morning’s first panel, on how building upgrades could attract tenants to Downtown properties, everyone agreed that millennials and their companies were looking for more efficient workspaces and amenities that could help them attract talent and run their businesses well in the 21st century. Fried Frank real estate chairman Jonathan Mechanic moderated, and the speakers included Brookfield Properties Senior Managing Partner Ric Clark, L&L Holdings Chairman David Levinson, and Matt Straz, the founder and chief executive officer of a human resources software startup, Namely.

Clark explained that he had encouraged his tenants to order an app called Ritual, which allows workers to order food from restaurants in the Shops at Brookfield Place and get a notification to go down and pick up their food when it’s ready, rather than standing in line. He’s also working on setting up a security system that allows tenants to use an app on their phones rather than a key card to swipe into the building.

Most of our tenants look at geography as the key,” said Cushman & Wakefield chairman Bruce Mosler. “They want open space, large floor plates. They want to be around a 24-7 environment.”

Mosler emphasized the need for landlords to bring in companies like Convene, which create communal workspace amenities, like conference rooms, that tenants can choose to rent on an hourly or daily basis. “Ownership that has gone through those processes [to invest in their buildings] are going to reap the benefits,” said Mosler. “And buildings that haven’t been invested in are going to have trouble in the future.”

Levinson explained that he had tried to “future-proof” 195 Broadway, which is a century old but features large blocks of column-free space. However, he noted that “some people want something with a vintage, a history,” even though older properties like 195 Broadway have lower ceiling heights than new construction.

Ultimately, though, everyone wanted to celebrate FiDi’s new lease on life.

You’d come down here at 5:30 at night and there’d be no one on the street,” said Levinson. “Now it’s a full blown, serious community.”


Source: commercial

The Plan: Flexibility, Greenery and a Large Pantry for a FinTech Firm

Before Ajay Chopra, the founder of Echo Design + Architecture, began designing the new 30,000-square-foot offices for financial technology company Broadway Technology at 28 Liberty Street, he set out to get a sense of what was important to its employees by interviewing them.

“What was interesting about this process is the amount of analysis that we had to do was pretty extensive,” Chopra said. “In order to maintain employees in today’s market, there are a lot of things that tech companies have to do.”

After four days of talking things over with many of the employees in groups, he came away with a few critical themes for the new office: flexibility, greenery and a large pantry.

So the offices will feature 10 meeting spaces and adjustable open-plan workstations, a sizable kitchen with two smaller satellites ones on either side of the new digs and enough plants to form a greenhouse (just kidding, but there are a lot). To reduce audible interruptions, Echo Design + Architecture will place acoustic panels throughout the space.

Chopra’s team began discussions about Broadway Technology’s new headquarters in the spring and he hopes they will complete it by next summer. (A construction manager has not yet been chosen for the project.)

The new offices for Broadway Technology, which has locations in Canada, the U.K. and Texas, will feature clean, polished concrete floors with 11.6-foot ceiling heights, walnut panels on walls and—if we weren’t clear before—lots and lots of plants (mostly ferns with a few lilies).

There will be plant walls near the reception area and in the main pantry, and there is more greenery along the edges of the office section that has a 1,550-square-foot town hall space. (The plant walls will have sprinkler systems).

“Generally plants makes you feel better,” Chopra said. “Not only the color but also it freshens the air. It has a comforting feeling, and it adds an element where it starts to warm up the space.”

To make the space available for employees to work in various ways, meeting spaces will come in a wide variety of sizes. There’s a boardroom, which can hold up to 16 people, but also phone booths for private conversations, “chat rooms” for one-on-ones, meeting spaces that can hold up to six persons and team rooms for up to 10. Some of the meeting rooms are connected by soundproof sliding doors and can be combined to make larger rooms.

The town hall section has a mix of uses. It will have a Ping-Pong table and stadium-like seating and projectors that can display movies. (Movies at work? Can Commercial Observer get in on this?) And when a glass sliding door is pushed back the space connects to the main pantry for an event venue that has standing room for 150 people (or 70 seated persons).

“Our goal is to allow employees to enjoy different parts of the space,” Chopra said.

Being on the 50th floor of the former One Manhattan Chase Plaza building comes with the advantage and disadvantage of Lower Manhattan views.

To give employees the option to reduce windows glare on computers, Chopra’s team designed “dual pocket shades” on the windows, which allow workers to completely black out the natural light or dim it.

“Lighting is critical,” Chopra said. “The idea was to give the employees an option so they can actually feel comfortable to work, so they are not distracted.”


Source: commercial