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Seagram Building invests $25 million in fitness amenities for office workers

Yahoo Finance's Dave Briggs reports on the new amenities in the Seagram Building.

Video Transcript

DAVE BRIGGS: Numbers out this week show return to office reaching a post-pandemic peak of just 47.5% in 10 major metro areas, leaving employers across the country wondering how in the world do we get workers back in. Well, perhaps, they should recall that lesson from Field of Dreams more than 30 years ago. If you build it, they will come. That's what developer RFR Holding did in building a $25 million playground inside the famed Seagram Building in Manhattan.

- It is probably considered the most copied office building in the world. It set a whole new standard.

DAVE BRIGGS: Since it was built in 1958, the Seagram Building on Manhattan's Park Avenue has inspired similar designs around the world. 64 years later, developers are copying its former parking garage, now a $25 million playground.

ALLEE COLON: We're trying to create a community here, trying to get people to socialize again, come out of their rut, and trying to establish some sort of a culture, a work-life balance culture.

DAVE BRIGGS: The signature is a 22-foot climbing wall with 10 different skill levels. There's a full court basketball and pickleball court, fitness center, spin room, game room, even a theater for those ready or forced to return to the office.

SHELDON WERDIGER: We're helping out by giving you an alternative to sitting in your bedroom or sitting in your office at home versus coming here and having a pickup game with your colleagues.

DAVE BRIGGS: The one critique about the playground-- employees may never actually make it to the office.

SHELDON WERDIGER: Many spaces, an office building used to be a cliche. We don't like working with cliches. We want to do something that's outstanding, that's different. When Mr. Rosen, who's the owner of the building, he said, we need to do something that's extraordinary and just wows people or don't do at all.

DAVE BRIGGS: Extraordinary, indeed. The amazing thing is they dreamed this concept up pre-COVID, even though it's serving as a model for office buildings around the country coming out of COVID. And Seana, they had 250,000 square feet of vacancy when they converted that parking garage. It's been leased up 95% at a time where office buildings are relatively empty in New York City. A huge success.

SEANA SMITH: It is a very huge success. You're right. 49% of New York City workers are back in the office, so just less than half. Maybe if more offices had facilities like that, they would be more likely to come back to the office. Dave, real quick, were you tired after that shoot? They had you playing about 10 different sports out there.

DAVE BRIGGS: I could stay all day. That's my dream, man. I would never leave work.