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· Disney,Walt Disney Corp,New York City,Manhattan,Hudson Square



Disney is officially relocating its headquarters from the Upper West Side to 4 Hudson Square. According to the New York Times, “the company is leasing the property for 99 years…from Trinity Church” in a transaction valued at $650 million. Disney CEO Rob Iger plans on modernizing the LEED-certified complex and incorporating next generation technologies as the company seeks to expand its influence, especially after acquiring 21st Century Fox from Rupert Murdoch for $71.3 billion.


Bird's eye view of the Hudson Square project on Manhattan's Lower West Side.

Although Disney made the frontlines, investment banks, commercial real estate firms, and other investment firms played major roles that facilitated the relocation. In a separate transaction, Disney sold its two Upper West Side campuses to real estate mogul Larry Silverstein, founder of Silverstein Properties, for nearly $1.2 billion. Silverstein financed the deal by taking out a $900 million loan from Deutsche Bank while also using $300 million of its own equity. Eastdil Secured, a boutique real estate investment bank, also advised Disney over the past year. Additionally, Disney is working with development and management company Hines as it prepares to find an architect to lead the project.

Residential component of the Hudson Square project.

While the transaction has been exciting for these private companies, it should also excite many New Yorkers, as the redevelopment will continue to improve and enrich an area that was once a humble commercial neighborhood. Hudson Square used to be known as the printing district, as printing companies bought and leased concrete and steel factories close to Wall Street clients. By the 1980s, startups moved into the affordable area, forming a hub for innovation, technology, and media. In 2013, however, new zoning laws led to a residential building boom that produced over “3,300 units of residential units, 140,000 square feet of retail space, 140,000 square feet of office space, and 75,000 square feet of community facilities,” according to 6sqft. Additionally, a $27 million streetscape plan is also in progress. All the progress, however, comes at a cost: while new infrastructure has redefined the area for the better, housing prices have risen to nearly $2,100 per square foot.

Map of lower Manhattan.

This deal will bring additional growth, development, and jobs not only to Hudson Square, but also to property bought by Silverstein Properties. In an effort to please the community and prevent protests, Silverstein Properties’ CEO Marty Burger promised to work with the local community and preserve "what we love about New York.” Surely, however, these new projects will alter the landscape for years to come.

Disney and subsidiary ABC's current Upper West Side Headquarters.

Written by Albert Daniel Shub, Edited by Rachel Weissman & Alexander Fleiss

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