Three Times Square, one of the office-tower quartet that brought commercial rebirth to the Crossroads of the World, opened 20 years ago sporting a handsome design by Fox & Fowle.
Now the 30-story tower’s principal owner, the Rudin family, has tapped the same architects, today known as FXCollaborative, to gently tweak the trophy for the post-pandemic future.
The estimated $25 million project comes as 3 TS faces the departures of several large tenants over the next 12 months that will leave its entire 850,000 square feet to be refilled.
The tower opened in 2001 as the North American headquarters of Reuters Group PLC. The company now known as Thomson Reuters still has some space in the building and is also a joint-venture ownership partner with Rudin, but is reportedly considering a sale of its stake.
Exits by several tenants and subtenants over the next 12 months, including Bank of Montreal and FTI Consulting, challenged Rudin to lure new tenants at a time when physical office occupancy citywide is a mere 15 percent and when Times Square is particularly desolate.
But Rudin decided that the tower’s strengths — including column-free 28,000- to 35,000-square-foot-floor plates, private outdoor terraces and state-of-the-art air-filtration systems — made relatively few changes necessary. Some older Midtown properties have received entirely new facades, such as the former Time & Life Building on Sixth Avenue.
The work at 3 TS includes two major improvements. FXCollaborative is creating a new, glass-walled, triple-height lobby that Rudin Management CEO William Rudin calls a “sanctuary from all that’s happening outside” — a reference to Times Square when it’s once again bustling with theatergoers and sightseers.
The effect will be achieved with a ground-floor, exterior sculptural facade that will diffuse Times Square’s bright lights and make the lobby “more warm and inviting,” Rudin said.
The lobby will also boast a touchless-entry destination elevator system.
Also new: a dedicated tenants amenity space on the 16th floor. It will have a spacious dining area and lounge overlooking Times Square, a conference and events center and modern fitness center and a spa.
Rudin said asking rents will be in the low $70s per square foot on base floors and in the mid-$80s higher up.
Marketing is handled by a Cushman & Wakefield team led by powerhouse leasing legend John Cefaly.
Luxury condo apartments at 200 Amsterdam Ave. go back on the market on Monday after a one-year hiatus. Brown Harris Stevens is handling the listings.
Developer SJP Properties and partner Mitsui Fudosan had to pause marketing the tower’s 120 units on Feb. 20, 2020, when a state Supreme Court judge ruled that the controversial project violated zoning rules and that it must lose 20 of its 52 floors.
But the state Appellate Division unanimously reversed the ruling on March 2, 2021, stating that the project complied with zoning and noting that it had a valid permit from the Department of Buildings since 2017. The new decision allowed the developers to restart the sales campaign, but they briefly held off to gauge demand in today’s much-changed market.
“We had a tremendous positive reaction by brokers and buyers since the latest ruling,” said SJP Chairman and CEO Steven J. Pozycki. “Buyers who came in two years ago have been waiting for us to come back. Many of them are Upper West Siders who wanted to move within the neighborhood, but couldn’t find anything with the amenities we offer.”
Pozycki noted that after the 2020 chop-down ruling, “nobody terminated their sale contracts although they could have.”
He also expressed confidence in the city’s future despite the pandemic crisis and the loss of some residents to other locales.
“I think the young people who left will come back,” he said, while noting that “the jury’s still out” on how soon employees will return to offices in large numbers.
Critics of 200 Amsterdam, led by the Municipal Art Society, made a last-ditch plea to the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest, to take up the case last week. Such reviews are rare when an earlier ruling was unanimous. The appeals judges have yet to agree to or decline the application.