According to today's New York Times, an increasingly important factor in all commercial real estate dealmaking is feng shui, the ancient Chinese rules governing energy flow and really picky interior design. That's because Asian investors are snapping up Manhattan office space as the market continues its slide, and they don't want any bad vibes. Here's an example from 131 West 33rd Street:
Adjacent floors were available, but the company, Om-Ah-Hum Realty L.L.C., chose the 9th and 15th for its offices, then switched to the 9th and 14th upon learning that there was no 13th floor. And although the price had been set at $450 a square foot, the company asked for $448 — and offered to make up the difference in another way. In addition, Om-Ah-Hum requested that the deal be signed on a day with a date ending in 8. Hey, we choose our Mega Millions numbers in some equally weird ways, so who are we to judge? This all brings us to the city's current second-biggest development controversy: the Empire State Building vs. 15 Penn Plaza. Want to know why the ESB's owners are so mad about 15 Penn invading their air space? It's messing with their chi, obvs!
Malkin Properties, Empire State Building owner and chief 15 Penn Plaza critic, has been negotiating a big lease with a Hong Kong company?one headed by a CEO who is a feng shui believer, the Post's Lois Weiss reports. He'll "likely be put off by Vornado's Giant Finger," because, according to a local feng shui practitioner, the proposed new 1,200-foot tower will diminish the Empire State Building's life force, seeing as how the landmark draws strength from its unimpeded visibility and all. Will the impact on the Empire State Building's chi be big enough to derail the deal? We'd consult the building's feng shui consultants to get an answer, but it's difficult getting them to come out of their shells.
· A matter of feng shui [NYP]
· 15 Penn Plaza coverage [Curbed]