David Cheikin is betting that skateboard millionaires will be happy where the Thundering Herd once roamed. As vice-president of leasing for Brookfield Office Properties Inc., Cheikin is leading the push to remake Lower Manhattan's former World Financial Center into a destination for technology and media companies. Once home to Merrill Lynch & Co., the brokerage firm known for its bull logo, the Hudson riverfront complex is now Brookfield Place New York, and much more than the name is changing.
Brookfield is stripping away brass and marble trims and adding bicycle parking, free Wi-Fi in public spaces and electric-car charging stations. At Merrill's former headquarters, clear glass is replacing the imposing, dark-tinted facade built as a barrier to the public, Cheikin said.
"We're just trying to work out ways to make it more in line with how people want to work today," he said ...
There's "a mismatch between the unprecedented amount of class A space currently available and the preferences of the tech sector for loft space in a neighbourhood with a non-corporate vibe," according to tenant brokerage Studley Inc.
Sublets Lure Manhattan Startups
Studley Report, 2013 2Q (PDF)