Sunday, September 14, 2008

One other Lehman thought is this

This will put a HUGE hole in the Manhattan real estate market. Some months ago I mentioned that the time might be ripe to lease in Manhattan, but that the one thing that could really make things bad would be if there was trouble with the investment banks. And apparently there's already a lot of sublease space available.

Well, those days have come. If Lehman shuts its doors, that could bring another 2.2 million sf of space into the open market, some of which is owned and some of which is leased. Its Midtown HQ could fetch a billion in the open market, and predictions are that space could be 20-30% cheaper as a result of all this turmoil. How much coin are we talking?

Landlords would also sorely miss Lehman. In addition to owning its 1 million-square-foot headquarters on Seventh Avenue, the firm rents 2.4 million square feet at pricey New York addresses, including 399 Park Ave. and 1271 Sixth Ave. Lehman paid $250 million dollars in rent worldwide last year—a good slug of that amount going to Manhattan building owners. And it has committed to another $1.4 billion in leases over the next four years.
In other words, a lot. Those of you in BigLaw who read me may be thinking about your jobs, as the cuts already abounded. But in a way that seems silly since there will be so much work to be done, as well.

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