Handel Architects

Space 26,000 sq ft

Type Architecture Firm

Location 120 Broadway

When we first worked with Handel Architects a decade ago and moved them to Hudson Square, they were seen as a pioneers. Ten years later, rents on Varick Street have tripled and Hudson Square has emerged as a hot spot. Handel brought us back to help find more space while at the same time controlling their costs. They were willing to relocate to a different area of the city if they could double the size of their space and save substantially on price. By moving to the financial district, they were once again pioneers, in the forefront of non-financial companies making their home where banks and law firms once ruled.

The Challenge

As a well-known architecture firm that builds iconic buildings around the world, Handel Architects needed space worthy of its brand. As a long time tenant on Varick Street in Hudson Square, they had just the kind of space they wanted with an abundance of natural light and high ceilings in a premiere loft like building. The issue was that when we moved them to Varick Street ten years ago, this kind of “cool” space was not in vogue and thus rents were low in Hudson Square. Now, however, this area is “hot” and rents are at a premium. Additionally, Handel had grown considerably and now needed a much larger footprint, but even if they paid the price, their building could not accommodate their growth. So the challenge was to find for them the right of kind of space at a price that was palatable.

The Solution

We looked at many buildings for Handel — casting a wide net and kissing our fair share of frogs on their behalf before landing on 120 Broadway. Built in 1915, 120 Broadway was the largest building in the world when it was completed and boasts a grand lobby with soaring ceiling heights and 50,000 square-foot floor plates. As it happened, the 6th floor of the building has 13-foot ceilings and massive windows, making this the kind of sun-flooded home Handel was looking for.

Older, classic buildings like 120 Broadway have traditionally been home to law firms, insurance companies and the finance industry. The aesthetic these types of businesses traditionally embrace is one with a lot of private offices and dropped ceilings, which is exactly the opposite of what Handel was looking for. That said, the bones of this space worked well for us. By leaving the space open, exposing the high ceilings and breaking rank from what is typically done in these buildings, Handel was able to transform this space into the exact loft-like feel that they wanted at about half the cost of what it would have been had they stayed in Hudson Square.

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