The New Epicenter Of Manhattan

Company Brief

Vornado Realty Trust (vno.com) is a preeminent owner, manager, and developer of office and retail assets. Vornado’s portfolio is concentrated in the nation’s key market – New York City – along with premier assets in both Chicago and San Francisco. Vornado is a real estate industry leader in sustainability policy. The company owns and manages over 27 million square feet of LEED certified buildings and received the Energy Star Partner of the Year Award, Sustained Excellence 2024. Vornado is listed on the NYSE and is a member of the S&P MidCap 400.


THE PENN DISTRICT (above and following)

Will you highlight Vornado’s history and what have been the keys to Vornado’s industry leadership?

Throughout our history, Vornado has been defined by our vision, patience, and precision in execution. We’ve made it our business to dream and then deliver on bold, complex projects – THE PENN DISTRICT, which we have been amassing for over 40 years, chief among them. Our portfolio is concentrated in the nation’s key market – New York City – along with premier assets in Chicago and San Francisco. We were among the earliest adopters of sustainability measures throughout our portfolio. We currently manage more than 27 million square feet of LEED certified buildings and are a recent recipient of the Energy Star Partner of the Year Award, Sustained Excellence. Plans of grand scale demand unwavering commitment and perseverance to materialize. As we have demonstrated over time – on masterpieces like 731 Lexington Avenue and 220 Central Park South and now in THE PENN DISTRICT – we are patient, even while facing market headwinds and other external challenges. We have built Vornado and our projects to withstand any market cycle, and our strategy has proven successful.

Vornado 2 Penn Plaza

Will you discuss Vornado’s commitment to not just developing and creating buildings, but also building and creating stronger communities?

Our tenants are our partners, and we listen to them. What they are telling us is that the way they want to work is rapidly changing. There is a large and growing list of tenants who are rejecting the rigid, formal, closed-door model in favor of the less formal, creative, interactive West Side model. This has led us to think of our buildings as connected communities unto themselves. We’ve built the highest-quality amenities possible – flexible office space and conference centers, to vaulted lobbies that double as informal social spaces, to fitness options like wellness centers and pickleball, to food and beverage offerings that take you from a morning coffee to a late-night cocktail. Coupled with premium office space itself and a plethora of activations centered around education, wellness, culinary, and entertainment, you have a true physical ecosystem that is enriching and gives our tenants endless ways to come together.


What was the vision for THE PENN DISTRICT?

THE PENN DISTRICT is the new epicenter of Manhattan, and we are developing it as a dynamic new mixed-use campus that is already transforming people’s perception of the area. We are incredibly proud of PENN 1 and PENN 2, our trophy buildings at the heart of the district that sit directly atop mass transit, but we also fully own and control 10 million square feet with the ability to develop. We own virtually all of the street retail in and around Penn Station and have additionally invested millions of dollars in public realm improvements. We are raising the bar for what it’s like to work, dine, shop, and navigate through the neighborhood. Midtown’s center of gravity has shifted to the west and the south, and THE PENN DISTRICT is at the center of it all.


What should tenants and visitors expect when experiencing THE PENN DISTRICT?

THE PENN DISTRICT is unlike any other neighborhood in New York City. It sits directly above Penn Station, the busiest and most accessible transit hub in North America: over 650,000 people a day use Amtrak, 15 subway lines, the LIRR, NJ Transit and PATH trains, and will be joined by access to Metro North in 2027. It is home to Madison Square Garden, the world’s most famous arena; and such titans of industry as Amazon, Apple, Meta, Morgan Stanley, The Hartford, Cisco Systems, and Samsung, and others to be announced. We have cultivated the most authentic and sought-after New York City culinary offerings and brought them to THE PENN DISTRICT, including a newly announced Avra destination opening in Spring 2025, Bar Primi and Roberta’s Pizza opening this April, the recently opened Blue Ribbon Sushi and Steak, and the Moynihan Food Hall which offers both commuters and neighborhood locals diverse options on the go. The Irish Exit, the new bar from the team behind The Dead Rabbit, also recently opened in the Moynihan Food Hall. Later this year, Sunday Hospitality, owners of the internationally recognized Sunday in Brooklyn restaurant in Williamsburg and the popular Café Chelsea in the Hotel Chelsea, will open a restaurant at PENN 2 called The Grand Astro Room. It is equally important to note our “greening of the district” efforts that will provide safe pedestrian plazas, trees and plantings, and quality activities throughout the public realm. In THE PENN DISTRICT, there will be something for everyone.


Will you highlight Vornado’s holdings in the District and its role in reimagining the neighborhood?

Vornado has long been and remains THE PENN DISTRICT’s largest owner, developer, and operator. Our holdings in THE PENN DISTRICT encompass over 10 million square feet of reimagined office, retail, and public realm space. At its heart are the redesigned and reprogrammed PENN 1 and neighboring PENN 2 tower. We’ve reimagined these as a two-building connected campus that encompass 4.4 million square feet of premium office space. The redevelopment includes more than 140,000 square feet of new “WorkLife” amenities located across the first three floors of PENN 1.

These amenities, which are available to all tenants throughout our PENN DISTRICT holdings, incorporate The Landing, a full-service restaurant, bar, and private dining rooms; a grand social stair and bleacher seats; all new ground floor retail; a 35,000-square-foot wellness and fitness center with pickleball courts by Life Time; and 100,000 square feet of flexible workspace and conference facilities managed by Industrious. The redevelopment also entails several new and improved entrances to Penn Station and the surrounding subway system; a reinvention of the district’s street level and below-grade retail, including dozens of new food and beverage and health and wellness options; and an enhanced public realm, punctuated by acres of inviting new public plazas, lush landscaping, and widened sidewalks. This holistic approach means that anyone coming to THE PENN DISTRICT – for work or entertainment – will find a premium experience at their fingertips.


How critical is transportation access for THE PENN DISTRICT and do you see location as a competitive advantage for the development?

Over the course of two decades, we managed to assemble a major portfolio of development sites and trophy office properties in the heart of the only district in New York City that offers a one-seat ride from New Jersey, Westchester, Long Island, the outer boroughs, and the northeast corridor. Being situated directly above North America’s busiest mass transit hub is at the very core of THE PENN DISTRICT’s identity. When you consider that the primary reason people want to work from home is the length of their commutes, you understand just how profound our competitive advantage is. Going to work, dining out, experiencing a live event in the district – it’s incredibly accessible from anywhere in the region. We’re proud to be an integral piece of the successful public-private partnership that is strategically redefining the transportation experience by building a host of new accessible entrances to Penn Station – including the recently opened 32nd Street Entrance we built in partnership with Amtrak – and the vital 33rd Street LIRR Concourse which we recently completed.

Vornado curated all-new retail spaces which now provide appealing options tailored to the full range of workers, residents, commuters, families, concertgoers, and other visitors who traverse the station on a daily basis. A host of food and beverage options are available any time of day – from Dunkin’ and Starbucks in the morning, to Dos Toros and Shake Shack for lunch, to Insomnia Cookies for a late-night snack – it’s all here in the new Penn Station.

How is Vornado approaching restaurant/food and beverage offerings at THE PENN DISTRICT?

As with all our efforts, we place enormous value on the highest-quality hospitality experience possible. We have been very intentional in curating a mix of local and national brands that offer something to everyone – and at a range of price points – both within Penn Station and at street level across THE PENN DISTRICT. As a result, the neighborhood is experiencing a restaurant renaissance, and each proprietor is excited to be an integral part of the elevated experience.

What are your views on New York’s future and the importance for people to be in an office to collaborate and build culture?

New York has long been and remains the most important city in America. It is the nation’s economic and cultural capital and the finance center of the world with the largest concentration of Fortune 500 headquarters. Our conviction about Manhattan’s future performance, importance, and even dominance is stronger than ever. Watching our buildings teem with activity has made us more resolute than ever that the urban office is the future of work. Companies will continue working to strike a balance when it comes to hybrid work policies and the right level of flexibility. But make no mistake, they now fully understand the productivity, collaboration, creativity, and cultural benefits inherent in bringing their workers together in person. We hope they join us in THE PENN DISTRICT.