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Goldman Sachs new palace - now with a bigger line between the 'haves' and 'have nots'

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NEW YORK—Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s new headquarters in lower Manhattan has the kind of amenities befitting masters of Wall Street. The $2.1 billion steel-and-glass building has giant murals, opera-house ceiling heights, and a gym with overachiever fitness classes, like "Awesome Abs."

But a new class of haves and have-nots has emerged—even at Goldman where the notion of have-nots is relative. Outside offices are now reserved only for the firm's more than 300 elite partners. Managing directors, next down in the Goldman hierarchy, almost always get windowless inside offices.

By the Numbers

Key facts about the new headquarters building

 

$2.1 billion Cost of Goldman's new headquarters

$13.39 billion  Company's profit in 2009

7,500  Number of employees set to work in the building

Roughly 300  Partners with outside-view offices 
 

1.7 million  Pounds of ice made daily in the basement to cool the building

12  Classes in Goldman's gym starting at 8 a.m. or earlier, including "Martial Arts Boot Camp"
 

And vice presidents, many of whom had offices before the move, now sit at open-space workbenches that in an earlier era would have been called a typing pool. They aren't thrilled.

"I haven't had a desk like this since high school," said one employee who asked not to be named.

Even some managing directors are grousing. Vice presidents, they note, often get a window seat at their bullpen desks, a sort of consolation prize for having lost an office. "I used to have an office with a view," explained one managing director. "Now I need binoculars to see sunlight."

In many other ways, though, Goldman employees aren't feeling let down by the upgrade. Unlike their old digs on 85 Broad St., which was cramped and had an obstructed view of New Jersey, Goldman's new space at nearby 200 West St. is steps away from the Hudson River, offering a panorama that includes New York Harbor.

The company has been secretive about its new headquarters, especially as it tries to counter criticism that has hurt the company's sterling image. So far, 6,500 of the 7,500 employees that will work in the 43-story building have moved in. Chairman and Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein arrived a few weeks ago.

Founded in 1869, Goldman has always been based in downtown New York. In 2004, Goldman decided it was time to trade up from its Broad Street headquarters. At the time, financial companies rattled by the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center were threatening to leave downtown Manhattan. In 2005, Goldman received tax breaks and grants valued at more than $200 million toward the new building, which stands just across the street from Ground Zero.


 

The new place has a mural in the lobby (bottom, as seen through a window with reflections from street.)

 

Goldman broke ground in 2005. The construction was plagued with problems. In 2007, seven tons of steel fell off the 740-foot-tall building, paralyzing an architect on the ground. Then a sheet of steel plummeted from the 18th floor, landing in a baseball field where a Little League game was being played. There were no injuries.

The first employees arrived by November 2009. The building occupies 2.1 million square feet and features six massive trading floors, each larger than a football field and equipped with enough flat-screen monitors to stock a Best Buy. The basement houses 92 storage tanks that hold 1.7 million pounds of ice made each night when electricity rates are lower than during daytime hours. Air cooled by the melting ice circulates throughout the building.

One of the building's most notable features is the Sky Lobby on the 11th floor. Flooded with light from a glass ceiling, the area resembles a massive auditorium-like space that houses banks of conference rooms, a cafeteria and employee gym. Henry Cobb, a partner at Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, the building's lead architect, calls the Sky Lobby the "living room" of the building.

Baristas serve French Toast Baba pastries and lattes in the cafe, not to be confused with the Sky Lobby cafeteria that offers a deep panini lineup and deadly cupcakes, employees say. Considering the old building's cafeteria was in a windowless basement, one of the most welcome features of the new eatery is the light of day.

The 54,000-square foot gym, called the GS Wellness Exchange, has classes from 5:45 a.m. to 7:50 p.m. The new steam rooms for men and women are drawing mixed reviews. Some employees find the idea of "steaming" with co-workers objectionable. Others, not so much. "Once you have seen your colleagues naked in the locker room, steaming with them isn't that weird," says one employee.

The employee reading lounge features Goldman-approved books, including "On the Brink," the bestseller by former Goldman Chairman and CEO turned Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr. Employees also can thumb through "The Psychology of Persuasion: How to Persuade Others to Your Way of Thinking" by Kevin Hogan and Mitch Albom's "Have a Little Faith: A True Story."

The reading room is too hushed and open for vice presidents evicted from their old offices to use for confidential phone calls. If they have sensitive issues to discuss, they can slip into private offices now reserved for visitors.

"If I had been at a bench my whole life, it would be fine," said one vice president, "but I used to have an office."

Source: WSJ

Manhattan Office Space , New York Office Space , Office Space , Office Space Design

Take Your Office Space Cubicle from Drab to Fab

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Tired of working in a bland, boring, office cubicle? Interior designer Kelley Moore has the solution with Cube Chic, a hip, irreverent style book with inspirational cube designs for every taste, from Tiki to Zen. With dazzling full-color photography and helpful decorating tips,you'll learn how to create:

The Garden Cube: Rather be gardening? This cube features bright grassy greens, floral prints, and a desk covered in bright gerberas.

The Cabin Cube: Like a ski lodge at your desk, this cube features dark wood tones and creature comforts aplenty.

The CEO Cube: Get on the fast track to the executive lifestyle, and create a corner office in your own space.

And that's just the beginning there's also a Hip-Hop Cube, a Pub Cube, a Safari Cube, and even a Cubism Cube. With so many eye-popping design options to choose from, Cube Chic will inspire office drones of all ages!

Buy: Cube Chic: Take Your Office Space from Drab to Fab!

 

Flexible Workspace , Office Space , Office Space Design

Medical Office Space will be Expanding...by 2014

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By the end of the decade, droves of previously uninsured Americans will be heading to the doctor’s office as result of health care reform.

But where will they be treated?

Doctors with private practices will soon need larger spaces. And amid a dismal year for commercial real estate, brokers and landlords that specialize in medical space are banking on that growth.

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Blogger's Note: A bit of good news among all the negatives.  Unfortunately, the medical office space won't be needed until after the current recession ends and the new Health Care Legislation take effect in 2014. The author of the article was a bit optimistic about the "end of the decade."

Medical Office Space , Office Rental , Office Space , Office Vacancy Rate

Is it Better to Lease or Buy Your Business Space?

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Your business location should be tailor-made to fit with your company budget, spacing requirements and ease of operation. For some business owners, leasing affords a sense of freedom and relieves the financial burden of a down payment, yet may be too restrictive for some kinds of operations. The decision to buy a piece of commercial property offers its own set of risks and rewards, and should be considered carefully before entering into a mortgage contract.

Leasing Commercial Space

1. Cost Effective

Leasing a commercial space will usually require a one to two month move-in deposit, making the rental space a cost efficient way to do business. New business owners may be strapped for cash, and by leasing, rather than purchasing, your storefront or office is cost effective to set up shop with minimal funding.

2. Flexibility

Leasing a commercial space gives the entrepreneur plenty of room to grow, downsize or change locations. Although once you sign a lease, you are locked into a fixed amount of time to make the lease payments, the terms may be only a matter of months to be released and start over in another location.

3. Freedom

Setting up shop without the burden of a mortgage to pay allows a sense of financial freedom. Albeit, a purchased piece of commercial property could be leased or sold to another, there could be months before the owner receives any income from the property. A hefty mortgage may also interfere with business profits and may demand downsizing of personnel.

4. Maintenance

A leased office or shop has a landlord to lean on, taking away tedious responsibilities with the plumbing, electricity and security. In a leasing situation, any repairs or legal liabilities are left in the hands of the building management team.

5. Subletting

In some situations, you may sublet your leased office space to another. However, this must be cleared in writing from the management office, and careful attention given to their rules and regulations for renting out the space.

Buying Commercial Space

1. Secured Location

Buying a piece of commercial property adds assurance that the space is secured and cannot be given to someone else. In a leasing situation, when the lease expires, the renewal process may not have the same initial terms, thus proving unfavorable to renew. However, when you purchase, your prime location is secured.

2. Equity

As with a residential piece of property, a commercial owner may take out cash against the mortgage. In an emergency financial crisis, having a mortgage to borrow from lends a sense of security and provision of funds. Most commercial purchases will require 20 to 25 percent down on the purchase price, giving instant equity to the business owner.

3. Remodeling

When you have bought a property, it is your to do with as you wish. Remolding, expansion and reconfiguration are yours for the taking. The ownership allows the business structure to be molded around the enterprise for a perfect fit and usage of space.

4. Tax Deductions

The interest on a commercial loan is tax deductible, with allowances for deducting any depreciation.

5. Lease Your Excess Space

If you own the property, you may lease your excess space without any restrictions from a third party over your head.

Article Source: Is it Better To Buy Or Lease Commercial Space For My Business

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For a more detailed analysis see Lease vs Buy office space on OfficeFinder.com

Buying Office Space , Lease Negotiations , Lease vs Buy , Office Building Sales , Office Relocation , Office Space

Office Market Nearing Stabilization as Economy Improves

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PR NewswireST. LOUIS, April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- The latest data for the first quarter of 2010 shows that demand for U.S. office space continues to improve, according to Cassidy Turley, one of the largest commercial real estate service providers in the U.S. 

Net absorption registered at negative 3.2 million square feet in the first quarter of 2010, marking the 5th straight quarter of decelerating declines.

"The first leg of the recovery begins when the office market returns to positive demand.  The trajectory of recent job growth figures indicates that the U.S. economy will be consuming office space again by the second or third quarter of 2010," said Kevin Thorpe, Chief Economist at Cassidy Turley. "In other words, the office sector has not yet turned the corner, but it is at the cusp."

Despite decelerating declines in demand, the report reveals that the national office vacancy rate increased from 16.4% in the fourth quarter of 2009 to 16.6% in the first quarter of 2010, which is the highest vacancy rate since 2003.

"National vacancy remains elevated; it is now 260 basis points above its historical average," said Mr. Thorpe.  "With a myriad of high-quality options for tenants to choose from, effective rents will remain low until the excess space is absorbed.  It is a classic inventory overhang problem that can only be resolved with steady economic growth and time." 

Net effective rents remained flat in the first quarter of 2010 at $23.88 – marking the first time in five straight quarters that rents did not decline. 

"Based on the vacant stock figures, the U.S. is no less than 2 years away from seeing healthy rent growth again, but certain pockets within top tier markets will firm before then," added Mr. Thorpe.  

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Blogger's note: I wish the economy were improving. What we are told and what we see are two differnt things. I think we still have more declines in rental rates as the commercial market continues it's downward trend for at least the remainder of the year. There are still a lot of building owners with refinanincing needs coming up this year that are not going to be able to be met. I do not believe we have hit bottom, yet.

Office Rental , Office Space , Office Space Negotiations , Office Vacancy Rate