The landmarked 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza is on the market, and the Times reports that seller JPMorgan Chase could select a winning bidder as early as this week, selling the building for up to $700 million. But the sale, and the bidders' plans for the building, have many industry experts and civic leaders wondering what a converted 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza would mean for the Financial District. The construction of the 60-story building was an optimistic sign for Downtown in the 1950s, and experts think the conversion of the building to condos, a hotel, or retail?all possible plans from the bidders?could be the opposite. In other words, losing this iconic office building would make the FiDi lose cachet as a business district. But there is already a lot of new office space (see: World Trade Center, Brookfield Place) in need of tenants, and as one expert put it, "it's a struggle to sustain office buildings in the face of the unrelenting demand for residential properties."
Converting the tower would not be without difficulties. Operable windows would need to be installed in apartments and hotel rooms, and all changes would have to be vetted by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. First round offers were due September 30, and bidders included a lot of familiar names: Harry Macklowe, Tishman Speyer Properties, Starwood Capital, investors Joseph Chetrit and David Bistricer, and Steve Witkoff, who apparently started this whole thing. Earlier this year, he made an unsolicited offer of $650 million with plans to create retail at the base, a hotel in the middle, and condos at the top.
· Sale of a Landmark Building Reflects the Changing Needs of Lower Manhattan [NYT]
· All Chase Manhattan Plaza coverage [Curbed]