Mortgage Observer

PRC Lands $52M Construction Loan for Student Housing Project

A rendering of the planned development at The College of New Jersey

New Jersey-based developer The PRC Group nabbed $52.5 million in construction financing for its $80 million student housing project at The College of New Jersey, Mortgage Observer has learned.

HFF secured the three-year loan for the 130-unit development, which should be complete by fall of 2015. The trio of lenders was led by M&T Bank, an M&T spokesperson confirmed, and funds from The Provident Bank and Columbia Bank were bundled into the deal, according to Greg Lentine, director of university campus development for PRC.  Read More

Sales Beat

San Francisco-based Prana Investments Sells Bronx Apartment Building for $10.5M

1530 Sheridan Avenue.

A longtime Bronx landlord has paid San Francisco-based Prana Investments $10.5 million for a six-story building with 84 apartments in the Claremont section of the Bronx, Commercial Observer has learned.

The 96,000-square-foot elevator property “offers investors upside and scale,” Besen & AssociatesAmit Doshi, who represented both sides in the deal at 1530 Sheridan Avenue, said in a prepared statement. Read More

Lease Beat

Veracen Partners Among Pack of New Leases at 250 West 55th Street

250 West 55th Street. (Credit: New York Yimby)

Veracen Partners is among a set of several new tenants to take space at Boston Properties250 West 55th Street, signing a 10-year, 11,263-square-foot lease for a portion of the 16th floor at the 38-story tower.

CBRE, which represented the landlord, announced the lease concurrently with a 7,196-square-foot deal with RTW Investments & LifeSci Capital and a 4,806-square-foot Coltrane Asset Management lease. All three firms will occupy the 16th floor of the building, which features new high-end prebuilts designed by Gensler, with 10-foot ceilings and perimeter offices. Read More

Legal Disputes

Durst Organization Sued by U.S. Attorney’s Office Over Inaccessible Buildings

The Helena, which the federal government claims is inaccessible.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has filed suit against The Durst Organization, the second major New York developer to come within the cross hairs of the federal government in a dispute over what does and should constitute accessible housing. The federal government alleges that Durst “has engaged in a pattern and practice of developing rental apartment buildings that are inaccessible to persons with disabilities.” Also named in the suit are The Helena Associates and FXFOWLE Architects, who designed the Helena, a 595-unit rental building in Hell’s Kitchen that is at the center of the lawsuit. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Natixis and UC Funds Lend $27M to Convert Historic Baltimore Office To Apartments

Equitable Building in Baltimore

Long Island-based JK Equities closed $27 million in construction funds from Natixis Global Asset Management and Boston-based UC Funds, to redevelop a historic downtown Baltimore building, Mortgage Observer has learned. The three-year, 4.91 percent loan closed earlier this week.

The Equitable Building, at 10 North Calvert Street in Baltimore, dates to 1891 and was acquired by JK last November for $7.2 million, according to published reports. The loan proceeds helped fund the acquisition and will also help with the $32 million bill to renovate the property, currently an office building, into 188 market rate residential units.The redevelopment will also include 25,000 square feet of retail, said Jerry Karlik, the president of JK Equities. Read More

On the Market

Cobble Hill Met Foods Quietly Listed, Receiving $20M-Plus Bids

197 Smith Street.

Met Foods, which has had a history of failed health inspections, has been quietly put on the market, sources told Commercial Observer, and its sale could transform an area with a dearth of big blocks of available space.

The 10,000-square-foot property, at 197 Smith Street, has apparently been receiving bids exceeding $20 million. The new owner could build a 20,000-square-foot property at the site, between Baltic and Warren Streets. Read More


REIT Rocket Man Launches New York City Trust

When I try to translate New York real estate into words, I cannot help to think about the lyrics to “Rocket Man.” Maybe the only difference is that Nicholas Schorsch is not burning out his fuse alone.

Instead, thousands of investors have fueled the engine called American Realty Capital where Schorsch serves as the chairman, Read More

Lease Beat

J. Crew Paying $90PSQ Plus $3.5M in Improvements for W’burg Store

234-236 Wythe Avenue.

Global apparel chain J. Crew has signed a 6,000-square-foot lease in Williamsburg at $90 per square foot and has agreed to pay millions of dollars in significant improvements to the property, a source with knowledge of the deal told Commercial Observer.

The New York-based chain is bowing in a single-story warehouse building at 234-236 Wythe Avenue, near North 4th Street. There is speculation that the retailer will build a multi-level store as it did in Cobble Hill. Read More

Lease Beat

Main Street Hub Signs Lease at 1407 Broadway

1407 Broadway.

Austin, Texas-based marketing platform developer Main Street Hub has signed a long-term lease for the entire 13,700-square-foot 26th floor of The Lightstone Group’s 1407 Broadway, Commercial Observer has learned.

The landlord is currently renovating the building and has been actively courting tech and media tenants. As previously reported, Techstars, a startup accelerator, signed a lease for the entire 24th floor at 1407 Broadway earlier this year. Read More

Market Reports

Brooklyn Led Multifamily Market in February

Brooklyn Heights.

Year-over-year multifamily investment sales activity showed large gains across New York City in February, with Brooklyn leading the way in terms of transaction volume and dollar volume, according to Ariel Property Advisors’ latest Multifamily Month in Review report.

Brooklyn was the most active borough with 52 buildings trading across 18 transactions for a total value of $343.5 million in sales. Last February there were just nine Brooklyn transactions, totaling $28 million. Read More

Lease Beat

Fresh & Co. Nesting Where Chirping Chicken Flew the Coop on UES

1260 Lexington Avenue

Fresh & Co. has taken a space on the Upper East Side that Chirping Chicken vacated not too long ago.

The healthy quick-serve offerings chain signed a 15-year lease for 1,200 square feet at 1260 Lexington Avenue at 85th Street, marking the eatery’s 10th location in Manhattan. Fresh & Co. is commencing work on the space in 30 days, according to Lee & Associates NYC‘s Brad Schwarz, who represented the tenant and landlords Jason and Ryan Sorkin of White Plains-based Sierra Assets Group, in the deal. Read More

Lease Beat

Life Insurance Company Renews Early at 460 West 34th Street

460 West 34th Street.

SBLI USA Mutual Life Insurance Company has signed an eight-year renewal for the entire 33,000-square-foot eighth floor of 460 West 34th Street, Commercial Observer has learned. Asking rent for the space was in the mid-$40s per square foot.

The tenant, formerly known as the Savings Bank Life Insurance Fund, has occupied space in the building since 1987. As previously reported, the New York-based insurance provider had signed a five-year renewal at the building as recently as 2012. Read More