Nathan Berman’s Metro Loft reveals design for AIG headquarters


175 Water Street and Nathan Berman of Metro Loft Management (Berman via CityRealty)

175 Water Street and Nathan Berman of Metro Loft Management (Berman via CityRealty)

The long-term headquarters of AIG’s financial district is receiving a major overhaul from a company best known for converting offices into residential real estate.

Nathan Berman’s Metro Loft Management and prolific office architect Gensler unveiled plans for a 31-story office building at 175 Water Street, which AIG has occupied for more than 20 years. Its glass and stone exterior will be replaced by something “more elegant and modern”, according to the report, and the current ground-floor private public space (POPS) will be enclosed in glass and create a new retail pavilion.

Render of 175 Water Street

Render of 175 Water Street

Renovation plans include the addition of a gym, conference center and rooftop deck, café and bar. The redesigned property is scheduled to open in 2022.

Metro Loft Management has entered into an agreement to purchase the Water Street building for $ 270 million in August 2019. It originally planned to convert the upper half of the 684,000-square-foot tower into a residential one when AIG expires in 2021, but it is unclear if it is still on the table.

The leasing agents in this property are David Falk from Newmark, Andrew Sachs and Jonathan Franzel.

British real estate developer Howard Ronson built 175 Water Street in 1983 and sold the tower to anchor NatWest Bancorp tenant while it was still under construction. After NatWest moved to New Jersey in the early 1990s, the bank sold the property to AIG in 1996. AIG plans to move to the former Time-Life Building in Midtown Manhattan.

Berman, a former Ukrainian art dealer who founded Metro Loft Management was known as the “King of FiDi” in 1997 due to its history of converting office space in the neighborhood for rent.

In 2013, he bought Berman 180 Water Street, across the street from AIG headquarters, with $ 151 million for Vanbarton; the partners spent $ 100 million on its conversion into a residential property.

In 2016, the city approved a plan that allowed building owners to turn the POPS that lines the bases of the Water Street towers into retail use to help revitalize street life.

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