HSBC is moving its US headquarters to a new Tishman Speyer-developed tower on the west side of Manhattan, joining a flight of tenants to top-tier office space outside of the island’s central Midtown office district.
The global bank said on Monday that it had signed a 20-year lease for 265,000 square feet of space across three floors in the Spiral, a 65-story tower at 34th Street and 10th Avenue in a once-faded part of the city undergoing rapid revitalisation.
The nearly complete Bjarke Ingels-designed skyscraper, which features a distinctive strand of foliage that wraps around its exterior, is an example of the sort of plush and energy-efficient building that property developers believe will thrive in an era of flexible working that may reduce demand for office space and render more dated towers obsolete.
Office attendance in New York is still below 40 per cent, according to the mayor’s office. Yet technology firms and other sought-after tenants are paying a premium for space at One Vanderbilt, an SL Green-owned tower by Grand Central Terminal that is one of the city’s newest offerings. The office towers at Hudson Yards, Related Companies’ sprawling development on the far west side, have also commanded top rents in spite of the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to features such as advanced air filtration, lavish dining options and outdoor space, such buildings also emit less carbon dioxide relative to their size, helping tenants to comply with new city regulations and their own environmental pledges. The Spiral is expected to result in a 60 per cent reduction in energy consumption at HSBC’s US headquarters.
“This new space demonstrates our commitment to the US and is an investment in strengthening our employee and customer experience while also bringing us closer to our net zero objectives,” Michael Roberts, HSBC’s chief executive for the US and the Americas, said in a statement .
Tishman Speyerone of New York’s largest commercial property developers, had previously secured pharmaceuticals company Pfizer as its anchor tenant for the Spiral.
There is a growing consensus among developers and property executives that, in an era of flexible working, owners of New York’s older towers will have to embark on expensive redesigns or accept lower rents.
HSBC’s longtime US home on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue consists of a 1980s-era glass tower that wraps around the historic Knox Building. It featured a below-ground vault that stored gold for clients. Israel’s Property and Building Corp sold the tower to New York’s Innovo Property Group in December for $855mn, taking a $45mn loss.