The temperatures rose at the Retirement Real Estate Association’s annual spring conference. Developers and real estate financiers have been flooded with questions without clear or immediate answers – what is going on in the office market? How will AI and the currently amorphous tech industry reshape real estate? How can the company anchor in this climate?

They’re questions that go a long way towards building the front-ends of projects, continually increasing the pressure on people trying to come up with blueprints.

But some of New York’s most prominent architects have weathered the pressure and come up with large-scale solutions to some of the industry’s challenges. They applied technology to invent office-to-residential conversion tools and ignored supply chain problems by incentivizing proactive conversations with manufacturers. Others let their imagination run wild, envisioning large-scale opportunities for neighborhood overhaul in the midst of runaway office straits.

While developers and clients saw the problems, the New York architects saw the potential.

Across the board, three years into the pandemic, architects were all able to agree on one thing: 2023 is definitely not “business as usual.”

TIt’s the real deal compiled rankings of the most active architecture firms in New York over the past year. One is based on the estimated initial costs of major renovations, as shown in permits filed between June 2022 and June 2023, while the other is based on the total square footage of new construction as shown in permits during the same period. Through the data, we see ultra-luxury housing projects, as well as logistics and healthcare projects, which have seen investments across the five boroughs. Similarly, architects have benefited from education and infrastructure projects.

aadaptive measures

Unlike last year, many assets, including office buildings, are being held back until they are revalued by developers.

“With some of these assets being revalued, it could get harder before it gets easier,” said Joseph Brancato, Gensler’s chairman and co-manager, who attributed his company’s best-in-class rating to renewals. Diversified portfolio. “Once they’re re-evaluated, I think there’s a huge opportunity on the design side.”

High vacancy rates in older office buildings have sent the company’s assets lower in value than they were before the pandemic, sometimes forcing developers to hand over keys to lenders.

Businesses and landlords who insist on keeping their office space are looking to improve it in a bid to get the workforce going again, calling for a wave of post-pandemic investment to modernize a collection of aging buildings.

In addition, the architects anticipate what to do next with the untapped assets, including conversions of big boxes and the conversion of shorter buildings into shopping malls.

“Either you spend a lot of money on a Class B or C office building, or you might consider doing something else with it,” Brancato said.

Mfinal switch

Combined with the pressure on multi-family projects, which have suffered greatly in the past year under a flood of unbroken political promises, some New York City developers are turning away from work in New York.

“There are quite a number of developers based in New York City who are looking elsewhere and may be looking for the first time to develop in emerging markets,” said Iran Chen of ODA Architecture, referring to cities like Charlotte, Washington, D.C., or Tampa. . “It’s an interesting trend in the architecture world, because it’s bringing some of the more sophisticated developers into markets that may have seen more general forms of development.”

Despite this, permits for businesses across the city increased by nearly 60% compared to 2022, with 1,088 renewal applications submitted by the top 10 companies alone.

aLiterary revelation

Once again, international architecture firm Gensler ranks above the rest on retrofit projects in the Big Apple, projecting more than $681 million in upfront costs for its 230 projects in the five boroughs.

The largest notable projects in this issue included the comprehensive renovation of a multi-story building at 40 Worth Street in Tribeca that serves as the East Coast headquarters for The Gap, as well as a host of non-profit organizations including the Legal Aid Association, the Acumen Fund and the Innocence Project. Gensler also oversees several renovations to the Morgan Stanley Building at 1585 Broadway.

The firm, which masterminded the building’s interior design along with Gwathmey Siegel, was tapped again last year to oversee more than $125 million in renovations to the second, fourth, eighth, ninth and tenth floors of the investment bank’s 42-story global headquarters.

TPG Architecture jumped two places to second place. Like Gensler, the 44-year-old’s broad portfolio runs the gamut, covering the construction and renovation of corporate offices as well as luxury retail, hospitality and healthcare. Recent jobs include a 120,000-square-foot renovation of JLL’s Mutual of America building at 320 Park Avenue, as well as a 523,000-square-foot retrofit at 498 Seventh Avenue in Times Square South.

Third place Ted Moudis Associates has significantly improved its position on the list, thanks in large part to a 210,000-square-foot modification of the Paramount Group’s Credit Agricole CIB building at 1301 Sixth Avenue. And one block away, the company scored a $26.5 million project to renovate nearly 100,000 square feet at 660 Fifth Avenue at Brookfield Properties.

On the other end of the spectrum, a different group of companies has been collecting square footage for the new buildings that will transform the city.

ground up

The 10 largest architecture firms across the city have placed orders for 145 new projects – totaling 4.7 million square feet.

New York City-based firm Hill West Architects outpace their competitors with more than 1 million square feet of planned space, primarily in Queens and Brooklyn.

These include Silverstein Properties’ 427,000-square-foot mixed-use project on a triangular lot at 44-01 Northern Boulevard in Astoria, Queens, which plans to offer 351 one- and two-bedroom apartments and 25,000 square feet of retail space. and a 22-story twin-tower project for the Naftali Group at 480 and 490 Kent Street along the East River in Williamsburg.

S. Wieder Architects took second place with 17 permits covering a total area of ​​1,019,000 square feet, which includes a 236,000 square foot mixed-use project by developer Chess Builders in Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn that is set to provide 218 apartments, 66 of which It will be accessible to everyone.

J. Frankl Architects also had a strong showing, coming in third with filings of more than 700,000 square feet in new buildings, mostly attributed to a 23-story, 488,000-square-foot building at 147-35 95th Street in Queens, near Van Rd. Wake Highway and Jamaica Yard on the Long Island Rail Road.

The ratings show an abundance of activity that indicates incremental improvements rather than growing pains.

Looking ahead to next year, the city’s most successful architects are optimistic about new business but wary of political inaction that could stagnate the industry, pointing to tax incentive programs in other states that have helped developers make the leap from offices to residential. Transfers.

“I hope New York City will follow suit,” ODA’s Chen said.

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