JPMorgan Chase Real Estate Chief David Arena On 270 Park Avenue – Commercial Observer

Towering Manhattan skyscrapers are nothing new, but every skyscraper in succession is an expression of its time, including obsessions and delusions.

As such, the new 270 Park Avenue is entirely within that tradition. The future 1,388-foot, 60-story JPMorgan Chase & Co. headquarters tower will feature a 50-foot-tall lobby with a 350,000-pound fan column that will rest on top of the rest of the tower . The support beams are already there. The tower is scheduled to open in 2025 (for comparison, the Empire State Building with its spire is 1,454 feet tall).

JP Morgan did not disclose the amount spent. Elsewhere, a $3 billion price tag has been reported.

Designed by world-renowned Norman Foster, the tower represents the heart of a global investment bank. Especially for New York, finance has always been oil for Dallas and Houston, and movies for Los Angeles. The lobby alone is flooded with natural light from all directions, with views across the park to Madison Avenue, a block away. No matter how you cut it down, JP Morgan’s Chase headquarters building and its lobby will be the latest expression of the continuing power and importance of New York City’s financial mammoth.

A lot depends on the success of the new 270 Park. For one thing, the site sits between East 47th and East 48th Streets, just two blocks north of Grand Central Terminal, so it’s fairly close to the city’s main entrance.

Another is that unlike many new skyscrapers, the old 270 Park, built in the late 1950s, had a constituency. At the time, you can find testimony on the website of the Municipal Arts Society urging the city council to preserve the building. “When completed, the Union Carbide Building was the tallest stainless steel-clad building in the world and the tallest skyscraper on Park Avenue,” said Elizabeth Goldstein, President of MAS. It was also designed by Nathalie de Blois and Gordon Bunshaft, making her one of the most prominent female-designed buildings in the world.

But David Arena, the bank’s global head of real estate, explained that the old 270 Park is hopelessly outdated. Built in the 1950s, it did not meet the environmental standards the city expects from today’s buildings. His new No. 270 will accommodate up to 14,000 employees and offer zero net carbon emissions.

Of course, whenever a project of this magnitude is undertaken, we are at the mercy of everything that happens in the seven years from conception to completion. Bank.

Arena took time out with 270 Park in late July to talk about how banks have responded to changing times in the financial industry. His remarks have been edited for clarity and length.

Commercial Observer: The world changed during the planning and execution of this project. I know that Deutsche Bank on Columbus Circle has a large outdoor area where you can sit at picnic tables overlooking Central Park and approve loans. what is similar here?

David Arena: I will tell you a funny story. Yesterday’s lunch was 2 men my age and 2 men in their 40s. I’m fine with working from home if I’m not in the office. I have a big study. So having kids at home is great. But her two young men married say: Because my kids run around the house all day. ‘ Another set said, ‘I want to learn my craft. I can’t learn my craft at home. How do I do that?”

For the rest, we are human. We like being with humans. Many studies show that people want connection.

One thing we’ve seen is a much higher turnover rate. People are moving from job to job. When people aren’t connected, they don’t have a connection with the company. Employees do not get the benefits of being together. There may always be people in your class who go alone, but I don’t think that’s the norm.

Tell us a little bit about how this building has evolved within its purpose, from the beginning to how you perceive the future.

In many ways, it’s the same as before. Employee wellness, interconnectedness, good design, diversity of places to work, all of the things we feel are important today are things we’ve been thinking about in the real estate business for 20 years and are nothing new. .

So what we’ve done is go back and discuss all the decisions we made before the pandemic, and put four constituencies at the center: our shareholders, our employees, our customers and our community, to see if we can do better. was to confirm. And the truth is, they just did different things around the margin.

Let me give you an example. Before the pandemic, we knew the benefits of fresh air. This particular building is therefore the only building that can be produced on a large scale in this kind of environment 40 [cubic feet per minute] more than twice that of fresh air [American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers] standard. The reason is that many years ago, a Harvard guy named Joe Allen discovered that fresh air leads to better cognitive performance. We have the most advanced air conditioning systems of this kind. And it’s always appreciated.

So I didn’t need a pandemic to tell it.

exactly. It didn’t take a pandemic to tell people that they love community collaboration and coworking. WeWork is a good example. We have many of the same ideas at our headquarters.

We find ways to make our work more purposeful. That’s why we have Workplace Ambassadors, Community Managers, and Workplace Enablers. They are all people thinking about how to create energy at work, how to make someone’s day better, how to make people happier. It’s about creating a sense of being there. And people want it. But we were doing it before the pandemic. I may have increased it in the margins.

In many banks, especially in wealth management, you walk into an office and you run into people who used to work at Citigroup, who used to work at Goldman Sachs, and so on. If their name is George, their loyalty is George, not JP Morgan. Maybe that will change.

To earn loyalty, you must give loyalty. Trust must be induced. It’s really hard if you can’t connect. That’s kind of our philosophy and why people love being together.

Talk about what this building does better than the old one. Why is this building better than the building that was there, which was also JP Morgan’s global headquarters?

The building was carefully preserved at the time, but was designed in the 1950s and built in the late 1950s. In the early 1960s he opened with 3,600 people [when JPMorgan left, there were more than 6,000 employees in it]inadequate bathrooms, a system that failed to adequately support a trade business, and a really modern workforce.

Park Avenue is a treasure, unique in Manhattan and unique in the world. People are starting to rediscover it.

So place, place, place.

So, first, it’s in the right place. Right next to the transit.

The second is to get back to voters. From a community perspective, we made the building taller. The building also has 250% more public space. That’s why 47th and 48th Streets have large sidewalks that are twice as wide. Madison Avenue has a very large park with water features. I plan to commission artwork and planting. It will be a place of relaxation for the people in the neighborhood.

There is a large square on the Park Avenue side. For example, Seagram’s Square. It makes you feel great about the neighborhood. We respected our urban context and neighbors. From Park Avenue to Madison Avenue, it’s one of the few buildings with a one-way view. The building is made so that the base part is transparent.

Another thing is that this building is all-electric. And all that power is purchased from hydroelectric plants in upstate New York. Zero carbon emissions from operations.

As you know, New York City is making a big move to reduce the carbon footprint of its buildings.

This results in zero carbon emissions. And the original building wasn’t bad at all.

What is the normal ceiling height?

Ceilings in older buildings were 8.5 to 9 feet high. The new buildings are slightly taller: 9.5, 10.5 feet, and 15.5 on the trading floor.

It features the latest in cybersecurity, biometric access.

We invited Deepak Chopra and Danny Meyer to the team. I believe Danny Meyer and Chopra of Union Square Hospitality have been named the World’s Most Respected Doctors for helping promote wellness in the building.

Here we use biophilic design. I thought it was about plants, but it’s not. Biophilia is a design based on the connection between humans and nature. And it can be anything from fractal patterns to materials. The building has circadian lighting. It’s lighting that mimics the natural light of the sun and the rhythm of his day.

We will create a great restaurant, a great place for our people to meet and collaborate. That’s why, when they want to stop by, they stop by in a wonderful hospitality space.

All systems communicate with each other. Let’s say David just left the office. Save money and energy by lowering the temperature to 75 degrees. Close the blinds as it signals a heat load on one side of the building. So it will save a lot of energy.

Will this building be sparsely populated for people who want to stay at home or work remotely? Will there be significantly fewer people in this building than originally planned?

The building was designed for 15,000 people, but seats 11,000. There are a further 2,500 so-called flex seats built into hospitality spaces such as cafeterias, restaurants and a kind of co-working space. We expect near 100% uptime almost all the time.

We think we know, but we don’t know what actually happens. We study it, we approach it, but ultimately it’s human behavior. Therefore, you need to remain flexible.

As Winston Churchill said, “We build and then our buildings shape us.”

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