Skadden Arps Says They’ve Signed a Letter of Intent to Anchor Brookfield’s Manhattan West

Manhattan WestManhattan West, image from Brookfield

Last month, conflicting reports emerged regarding law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s potential move to Brookfield Office Properties’s Manhattan West development. The Daily News said a letter of intent was signed, the Post said it was not. Now, according an internal email by executive partner Eric Friedman reprinted by the Above the Law blog, Skadden has signed a letter of intent for a 20-year lease for 1 Manhattan West, which would rise on the corner of Ninth Avenue and 33rd Street.

Friedman’s firm-wide email was reportedly as follows:

We are pleased to inform you that the Firm has signed a Letter of Intent for a 20-year lease at Brookfield Properties’ Manhattan West development. Our new, state-of-the-art building, 1 Manhattan West, will be built at Ninth Avenue and 33rd Street, which is part of what we believe will be the most exciting new neighborhood in the city. […]

We look forward to being a part of the ongoing evolution of Manhattan’s west side. Our move is targeted for Spring of 2020. We will provide additional information as the relocation process continues.

A spokesperson for Skadden confirmed to YIMBY that they’ve signed the letter of intent, while Brookfield’s representative declined to comment.

A letter of intent is not a signed lease, and the News reported that Skadden would take around half a million square feet, which might not be enough to move the project forward without other tenants.

But a new building permit application for 1 Manhattan West — official address, 401 Ninth Avenue — was filed last month. The office tower would rise 69 stories and stand 995 feet tall, becoming one of the tallest buildings in New York City. The 1.6 million-square foot tower would eventually be joined by an even taller neighbor to the south, though details on that component of Manhattan West remain tentative. The project’s architect is SOM.

Skadden’s move would mark another major step forward for the Far West Side, and an initial trickle of tenants for the new towers could be turning into a stream. At Related’s Hudson Yards, one block to the west, Coach, L’Oreal, SAP, and (more tentatively) Time Warner have already signed on. JPMorgan Chase is also in talks with the city and Related to take over the sites currently slated for 50 and 55 Hudson Yards, likely hinging on Related’s agreement to give up the sites and the city’s willingness to approve more subsidies than initially envisioned.

Large companies appear increasingly willing to relocate to Hudson Yards and surrounding developments, and with the latest report about Brookfield and Skadden, New Yorkers could expect yet another mega-project to begin rising. Besides the two office towers, Manhattan West includes a 64-story and 790-unit residential component, as well as a hotel, and completion of the entire site would be likely by the early 2020s.

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