Time now for one of our occasional updates on the state of B+B’s home base, the ever buzzing Cooper Square.51 Astor
The owner and developer of 51 Astor Place, Edward J. Minskoff, tells us he’s signed more leases for office space in the chic black building. One is with 1stdibs, a mid-century furniture and antique dealer that will lease 42,000 square feet on the third floor, and another is with Mail Online. The British company publishes the Daily Mail, the world’s most-read newspaper Website, which had been looking to expand its New York operation.
Mail Online — which adds media clout to the area in the wake of the Village Voice‘s departure — joins another high-profile tenant, IBM Watson, which is taking up a third of 51 Astor. St. John’s University announced earlier this year that it will lease all of the building’s educational space, totaling 71,000 square feet.
Minskoff told Bedford + Bowery that he expects the building to be completely full within the next three months. A lease with a financial company will be signed later this week, and “three or four” other leases are pending, Minskoff said.
That leaves the retail space. “We have interest from a lot of [possible] tenants,” Minskoff said, adding only that it’s always been part of his business strategy to lease the retail space last.
Meanwhile, the lobby has recently gotten some permanent bling — a 14-foot tall, bright red balloon rabbit designed by artist Jeff Koons. “It’s probably one of the most iconic sculptures Jeff Koons has ever done,” Minskoff said.
Astor Place reconstruction
A block south of 51 Astor, part of Cooper Square is closed, again, and workers are straining the eardrums and nervous systems of passerby with a cacophony of construction noise.
The Department of Design and Construction (DDC) began work this week to replace the water mains running along Cooper Square West between East Sixth Street and Astor Place.
The work is part of the Astor Place and Cooper Triangle reconstruction, which will take two years and add oodles of amenities people typically associate with modern urban centers — trees, plazas to increase and support foot traffic, and more than 100 CitiBikes (the city can’t help itself).
During that process, DDC is replacing all the utilities in the area, including water mains, sewers, and catch basins. “While we’re making a new plaza, we’re doing all the underground stuff, rather than doing it later on,” said Craig Chin, a public information officer with DDC.
The construction is expected to take about a month, weather permitting.
20 Cooper Square
Finally, yet more art students have joined Cooper Union’s feisty bunch on Cooper Square. Over winter break, NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development moved its art studios from 383 Lafayette to the first floor of 20 Cooper, where Bedford + Bowery happens to be situated. Seniors going for a BFA in Studio Art started using the space at the beginning of the semester.