In the realm of repositioned “Cinderalla” buildings, Milstein Properties’ 22 Vanderbilt – once known as 335 Madison Ave. – stands with the most elite.

The Madison Avenue tower between East 43rd and 44th streets recently landed five new leases totaling 460,000 square feet, bringing the 1.19 million square-foot address to 91 percent leased. None of the deals were previously reported.

The tower replaced the old Biltmore Hotel at the site. It lost much of its juice after its largest tenant, Bank of America, left 10 years ago. But it recently underwent a quarter-billion-dollar investment in upgrades that brought it 275,000 square feet of new amenities.

Bergamo’s Bar, cocktail lounge at 22 Vanderbilt. Rachel Vanni
The Terrace, block-long landscaped outdoor terrace overlooking Grand Central Station. Rachel Vanni

The program spearheaded by Michael Milstein, son of company founder Howard Milstein, includes a public-friendly lobby with quality eatery options under the name Melangerie, a luxurious bar/lounge called Bergamo’s, and 80,000 square feet of tenants-only features including conference and wellness centers.

The largest new lease, which was signed last week, was for management consulting firm Bain & Company, which took 235,000 square feet. Bain’s move will double its Manhattan footprint. It will leave Brookfield’s nearby Grace Building, where its former space has already been scooped up by Trade Desk in that firm’s 126,000 square-foot expansion there.

Separately, TD Securities signed for 80,000 square feet at 22 Vanderbilt.   

We first reported the Bain and TD talks last October. Landlord reps denied at the time that any leases were out, which led some industry grumps to say that our sources were wrong. But they rarely are.

The Perch, a private library within 22 Vanderbilt. Blaine Davis

Bain was repped by CBRE’s John Maher, Chris Corrinet and Paul Myers. TD was repped by CBRE’s Ryan Alexander, Matthew Saker and Nicole Marshall.

The other new tenants at 22 Vanderbilt are law firm Duane Morris, which took 80,000 sf; wealth manager AlTi Tiedemann Global for 40,000 square feet; and global law firm Kennedys for 25,000 square feet.

The landlord was repped on all the leases by CBRE’s Paul Amrich, Neil King, Jeffrey Fischer, Sacha Zarba and Meghan Allen, with Brookfield Properties’ Duncan McCuaig, David Caperna and PJ Massey.

Brookfield has no equity in 22 Vanderbilt but serves as Milstein’s strategic partner for leasing, asset manager and marketing.

Melangerie, chef’s counter and market café at 22 Vanderbilt. Yvonne Albinowski
The Palm Court, lobby with direct connection to Grand Central Station. Yvonne Albinowski

Milstein COO Damon Lopez-O’Dwyer attributed the lease boom to its “setting a new standard for the modern office” and the fact that 22 Vanderbilt is one of only six office buildings with direct indoor access to Grand Central Terminal.

Bain New York co-managing partner Allison Gans noted, “Our New York office has grown exponentially over the last several years.” She said the new location “gives us the opportunity to create a space that works for 2030 and beyond.”

The revitalized tower’s leasing campaign gained traction last year when it lured public relations firm Joele Frank, which took 75,000 square feet – an expansion over its former 50,000 sf at Charles S. Cohen’s 622 Third Ave. The building at that time was 68 percent spoken for.

A source familiar with the building said the asking rents were all in triple-digits.

22 Vanderbilt landed public relations firm Joele Frank last year.

The entire Grand Central commercial district is “on fire,” one broker said, as more highly-paid workers return to their offices.

The success of SL Green’s towering One Vanderbilt helped drive the boom, which has spilled over into the retail sector. Swedish men’s shirtmaker Eton is launching its US flagship at Munich Re’s 330 Madison Ave. and Watches of Switzerland just opened a large store at One Vanderbilt.

Dan Biederman, who founded the Grand Central Partnership and the Bryant Park Corporation, told us he sees the back-to-work trend every day in “huge pedestrian volume” in the area and “full parking lots at Metro North stations” that were half-full until recently.

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