NEW YORK – Just two months after opening its latest conference center in New York’s downtown financial district, and immediately following the closing of a $10 million round of growth financing last week, Convene (www.convene.com) announced plans to add a fourth location – 101 Park Avenue – to its growing network of off-site meeting venues.
The 20,000 square foot lease, issued by HJ Kalikow & Co., initializes Convene’s move toward retail locations and establishes its new standard brand for all future sites. The conference center’s breakthrough design is informed by a human-centered design methodology which has been used by IDEO, Apple and others to create innovative and award-winning new products. “From the inception of our business in 2009, we have focused on creating a new category of conference center by reimagining how service and design could be combined to improve the meeting experience,” said Christopher Kelly, principal and co-founder of Convene.
“Through our human-centered design process, we developed 24 principles which were the criteria for the design and will be implemented in their entirety for the first time at Convene 101 Park.” Gensler, a leading global design firm, was selected to design the new conference center near iconic Grand Central Terminal. In addition, Convene and Gensler designed a “kit of parts” that will allow them to consistently implement Convene’s signature brand features at 101 Park and at future locations.
Elements include custom furniture, fixtures, technology, food and beverage offerings, signage and branding. Both firms worked closely with global office furniture manufacturer, Haworth, who was uniquely capable of providing an interchangeable mix of furniture and fixtures to support the strategic design.
The 10-year lease agreement with Kalikow follows months of negotiations with the closing timed to the completion of the fundraising. Kalikow was represented by a Cushman & Wakefield team led by John Cefaly, executive vice chairman; Gus Field, vice chairman; and senior directors Clark Finney and David McBride.
Convene was represented by Jared Freede, vice president; and senior vice presidents Rocco Laginestra and Michael Wellen of CBRE Group, Inc. 101 Park Avenue, completed in 1982, is a dramatic 49-floor, 629-foot skyscraper with a building frontage that sits catty-cornered facing Park Avenue and E. 40th Street in midtown Manhattan.
The building contains 1.3 million square feet of space and serves many prestigious tenants including Kelley Drye & Warren; Federal Home Loan Bank of New York; Tiger Management; Tata Consultancy Services; Morgan Stanley; Nespresso USA; Morgan, Lewis & Bockius; and Booz & Company.
“Given its world-class design and prime location, we found 101 Park to be a fitting site for our client’s flagship property,” said Mr. Laginestra, senior vice president, CBRE Group.
“We were particular and strategic in our tenant selection for this coveted space,” said Peter Kalikow, president of H.J. Kalikow. “We found Convene’s professional use and reputation to be an ideal fit for the building.”
About Convene: Convene (www.convene.com) is the leading developer, owner and operator of urban day conference centers in the United States. Its full suite of business services includes meeting and collaboration space rental, “room service building catering,” audiovisual and conference planning support. Offered through various lease, joint venture and management arrangements, the company partners with landlords and tenants to enhance the quality of commercial office buildings and improve the workplace experience through better service and space design.