Mix It Up: The Deal
Todd DeGarmo, the CEO of Studios Architecture, is clued in to an elemental truth about architecture: “We have learned that there is no project without a deal.” And for 200 Fifth Avenue, which was at one point slated to become condominiums, Studios played an important role in helping David W. Levinson, the chairman of L&L Holding Company, close the 2007 deal for the property and, soon afterward, attract Grey as the anchor tenant.
DeGarmo didn’t just tour the gutted building with Levinson at the outset. (“We were immediately excited,” the architect says, “because we’d done work on similar buildings in D.C. and Paris.”) He also made design presentations to help the developer secure financing, met and collaborated with the leasing broker, and, very early in the process, pitched Grey. “By combining the design with the financing and space brokerage, the time was significantly compressed,” DeGarmo says. “The marketing of the building was essentially integrated as part of the design.”
Levinson had a more immediate and pragmatic goal. “Our motivation in bringing on the design team early was to assess the feasibility of the deal itself,” the developer says. “It did speed up the process, but that was not the intention. We had to know what it would take—financially and from an architectural standpoint—to move forward.”
“Mix It Up” sidebars: