By Keiko Morris – AS SEEN IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Creating a flagship office in a glass-and-steel building in the Meatpacking District is part of one company’s strategy for winning a recruiting war in New York City.
Samsung Electronics North America on Tuesday announced plans to open a Manhattan office at 837 Washington St., taking the entire six-story building developed and owned by Taconic Investment Partners and Thor Equities LLC.
The building at 837 Washington St. in the Meatpacking District, where Samsung Electronics North America is renting all six floors. Andrew Hinderaker for The Wall Street Journal
The new location “will play a central role in developing, attracting and retaining some of the best talent in New York City,” Samsung said.
The electronics giant will pay about $500 a square foot for the ground floor and slightly more than $120 a square foot in rent for the floors above, according to a person familiar with the deal. The company declined to comment on the rent.
With a limited supply of high-end buildings in the neighborhood, “it is not surprising that tenants are willing to pay these amounts in order to make their employees happy,” said Noam Shahar, research director of CompStak Inc., a real-estate data firm. But office rents above $100 a square foot in the neighborhood are still rare.
The deal reflects the continuing draw of Midtown South for technology, advertising and media companies. Mr. Shahar noted that the Meatpacking District, which is part of Midtown South, has the additional appeal of being near Google Inc.’s Chelsea offices and Apple Inc.’s store on 14th Street.
The building, which sits across from the High Line park, will house Samsung’s brand marketing team and showcase its business mobile products, the company said.
It will also open a “marketing center of excellence” focused on digital, creative and social media programs. And an “enterprise customer briefing center” will serve New York commercial and institutional customers.
“The new, cutting-edge Samsung office in the Meatpacking District will help guarantee that our business is closer to some of our important customers, an innovation-minded workforce and other key stakeholders for our businesses,” said Gregory Lee, chief executive of Samsung Electronics North America.
“This is Samsung bringing their absolute ‘A’ team into the Meatpacking District,” said Joseph Sitt, chief executive of Thor.
The developers built the building without an anchor tenant, aiming to create an interesting environment with outdoor space and attractive architecture, said Paul Pariser, co-chief executive of Taconic. They combined the two-story historic brick facade with a four-story twisting-glass structure framed in steel.
The building, which is near the Whitney Museum of American Art’s new downtown location, has terraces and a usable rooftop, offering views of the High Line and the Hudson River.
“If we built vanilla, if we built a box in this location, we’d never get a quality tenant,” Mr. Pariser said. As it turns out, the owners received numerous inquiries.
“We had a lot of interest from financial users we thought would only be looking in Midtown,” Mr. Pariser said. “We had fashion houses who looked at this building. It wasn’t just tech.”
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