Office Development Survives Tech Wreck

Developers of i.park — a 1.4 million sq. ft. reconfigured office complex 15 miles outside of Manhattan — had to shelve their original vision of opening a “telco hotel.” But i.park Holdings LLC is having success with a new strategy of luring tenants in need of large blocks of office space as well as businesses seeking backup operations in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks on the Word Trade Center.

i.park Holdings LLC planned to target telecom tenants when it began a $55 million demolition and renovation of the former military manufacturing site in Lake Success, N.Y., in the spring of 2000. However, the company, along with leasing agent Cushman & Wakefield, changed its marketing emphasis when its high-flying leasing candidates began imploding.

The office building, which opened its doors in July 2001, has pending commitments to lease 200,000 sq. ft. of space. With those leases, roughly half of the building will be occupied.

Tenants — including the New York Mercantile Exchange — pay moderate rent, ranging from $20 per sq. ft. to $23 per sq. ft., compared with more than $27 per sq. ft. for similar space in the region, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

Joseph Cotter, president of i.park Holdings, says the office complex offers 25% more usable space than a conventional office building. That's because of the wide gaps between steel columns in the biggest section of the building — a one-story wing that was formerly a manufacturing plant.

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