PR firm Joele Frank scoops up space at 22 Vanderbilt, aka 335 Madison

The rarest sighting in this bleak office-leasing season is a deal for more space than a large area rug would cover.

But here’s a substantial one: public relations firm Joele Frank is taking 78,353 square feet at Milstein’s 22 Vanderbilt, aka 335 Madison Ave.

Joele Frank, which specializes in strategic corporate representation, will leave 50,000 square feet at Charles S. Cohen’s 622 Third Ave. by year’s end.

The new lease is for 16 years with an asking rent of $95 a square foot.

The rose-colored marble tower at Madison and East 43rd Street is wrapping up a years-long, under-the-radar repositioning spearheaded by Michael Milstein, son of Milstein Properties founder Howard Milstein.

The quarter-billion-dollar project includes a new, public-friendly lobby with eatery options — not a “food court” — under the overall name of Melangerie, overseen by accomplished New York chef Graceanne Jordan; a richly appointed bar/lounge called Bergamo’s; and nearly 80,000 square feet of tenants’ amenities including conference and wellness centers.

I had wonderful, hearty matzo ball soup (called “Schmaltz”) and tangy soba noodle salad at Chef’s Counter, the first of several eateries to open in the lobby. More are due later this year.

The quarter-billion-dollar project features nearly 80,000 square feet of tenants’ amenities including conference and wellness centers.
photo credit: CBRE

“There are obviously not a lot of large deals now,” said Paul Amrich, leader of the CBRE team that represented Milstein.

After a year-long search for a new home, he said, “The entire Joele Frank partnership fell in love with 22 Vanderbilt.”

The 27-story, 1.19 million square-foot tower is 68% leased. It has two large availabilities right now — 300,000 square feet in the tower and 120,000 square feet in the base.

The Milsteins demolished the former Biltmore Hotel at the site in the 1980s and built a new headquarters for Bank of America, which later moved to One Bryant Park.

The famous Biltmore lobby clock, which also stood for some years in the BofA lobby before disappearing into storage, is to be restored and installed in Bergamo’s.

When the bank left, the Milsteins leased the property out on a floor-by-floor basis, including to Giorgio Armani’s North American headquarters.

Now they’re touting the building, which stands across the street from SL Green’s One Vanderbilt, as an integral part of the fast-revitalizing Grand Central Terminal area.

This week marks a coming-out party of sorts for 22 Vanderbilt. It will host a press briefing called “Grand Central Reimagined” at 12:30 p.m. on March 22, where speakers are to include MTA chairman Janno Lieber and Grand Central Partnership president Fred Cerullo.

CBRE’s Amrich, Neil King, Sacha Zarba, Jeff Fischer, and Meghan Allen represented Milstein. Newmark’s  Andrew Sachs and Ben Shapiro repped Joele Frank.

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