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One of the few Class A office buildings in New York’s East Harlem should start construction early next year

Big floor plates will accommodate tenant customization.

October 09, 2020 |

Harlem Headquarters is expected to fill a void in Class A office space in New York's East Harlem neighborhood. Renderings: Gensler

Extell Development Company is moving forward on its first office building in East Harlem in New York City. Known as Harlem Headquarters, this nine-story building, whose construction is scheduled to begin next year and be ready for fitouts by the end of 2022, will offer 441,600 sf of Class A office space. The development includes a 7,500-sf roofdeck terrace and a 40,851-sf community center.

Gensler designed Harlem Headquarters with 56,000-sf floor plates that can be divided into three zones, so layouts can be customized for tenants, says Rose Disarno, Associate and Design Lead at Gensler’s New York office. Each space will have access to its own terrace outside.

Extell is touting Harlem Headquarters’ “smart design,” which Disarno explains includes a solar array installed on the roof and MIRV-14 filters installed throughout the building, whose façade will be insulated to exceed New York’s 2016 requirements.

Leasing is expected to begin sometime this fall, with Cushman & Wakefield serving as the building’s marketing agent. Disarno believes that the Harlem Headquarters’ roofdeck will be a “critical” amenity as employees return to offices on a fuller-time basis. The building is also adjacent to several subway stops, and eventually is expected to have access to the Metro Line rail line that stretches to the city’s surrounding suburbs.

Extell did not disclose the construction cost for Harlem Headquarters, whose Building Team includes Monadnock (GC), GMS (SE), AKF (MEP and lighting), Philip Habib + Associates (CE), IBA Consultants (façade), Bright Power (renewable energy), Matthews Nielsen Landscape Architects (landscaping), Longman Lindsey (acoustics), and JM Zoning (zoning).

Extell had been exploring opportunities to develop property in East Harlem for a while, according to its chairman and founder Gary Barnett. In April 2014, the company acquired the property where Harlem Headquarters will be built, located at 125th Street and Lexington Avenue, for $39 million from a partnership known as East Abyssinian Triangle.

Large floor plates within Harlem Headquarters (above) will accommodate tenant customization. Each tenant will have access to outdoor terraces (below).


Harlem Headquarters will feature 30,000 sf of ground-floor retail, and Disarno says there’s been some talk about luring a grocer as one of the tenants. A grocery would be a welcome addition to this development, which sits on a site that once encompassed a 68,000-sf Pathmark that, when it opened in 1997, was this community’s first supermarket. Hunter College’s New York Food Policy Center estimated that the Pathmark was serving 30,000 customers a week before it closed in November 2015, following the bankruptcy filing that previous July by its parent company The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, better known locally as A&P.

A site on New York’s Lower East Side where another Pathmark closed in 2012 is where Extell, in the spring of 2019, completed construction on One Manhattan Square, an 800-ft-tall, 80-story residential high rise with 815 condos designed by Meyer Davis, the studio behind Oscar de la Renta’s flagship retail boutiques.

An acre of private gardens and quiet spaces that overlook New York's East River and Manhattan Bridge is one of the amenities at One Manhattan Square, an 80-story condo high rise. Images: Evan Joseph


One Manhattan Square features one of the largest private outdoor gardens in New York City, more than one acre—45,000 sf—and designed by The Netherlands-based West 8 Urban Design and Landscape Architecture. The gardens are situated on a gradual incline that overlooks the East River and Manhattan Bridge. This amenity is further evidence of how landscape architecture and biophilia are becoming central to designs for various typologies.

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