Sales Beat

Benchmark Sells Flatiron District Residential Building for $13.4M

28 West 26th Street.

Less than three years after buying a 27-unit residential building in the Flatiron District, Benchmark Real Estate Group has sold it for roughly double what it picked it up for, property records indicate.

Long Island-based Gould Investors purchased the seven-story elevator building at 28 West 26th Street for $13.4 million from Benchmark. The deal closed on Jan. 8 and was recorded with the city on Jan. 21. Benchmark bought the building for $6.3 million in April 2012. Read More

Lease Beat

Flushing Bank Opening Second Manhattan Branch

99 Park Avenue.

Flushing, Queens-based Flushing Bank is preparing to open its second Manhattan branch and its first office in the borough, Crain’s New York Business reported.

The bank signed a 6,541-square-foot ground-floor and lower-level retail lease for the branch and a 5,727-square-foot office lease on part of the eighth floor at 99 Park Avenue between East 39th and East 40th Streets, the publication said. Read More

Lease Beat

Crystal Designer Swarovski Takes 18,000 SF in Midtown East

10 East 53rd Street.

Austrian crystal maker Swarovski signed an 11-year-deal for 17,850 square feet at SL Greene Realty Corp.‘s 10 East 53rd Street, according to a press release from SL Greene. The lease is for the entire 26th and 27th floors of the 37-story tower between Fifth and Madison Avenues, according to the landlord. The 354,046-square-foot-building is currently undergoing a $64 million renovation.

Mark Mandell of Cushman & Wakefield represented Swarovski in the transaction, while JLL‘s Paul Glickman, Cynthia Wasserberger, Alexander Chudnoff, Frank Doyle, Mitti Liebersohn and Benjamin Bass represented the landlord. Representatives from Cushman & Wakefield and JLL were not immediately available for comment. Read More

Real Estate and Politics

Leonard Litwin, Tied to Speaker’s Arrest, on City’s DNC Host Committee

The Barclays Center is the hopeful home of the 2016 Democratic National Convention. (Photo: NYC Mayor’s Office)

Leonard Litwin, whose company Glenwood Management is believed to be the unnamed developer in the complaint against Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, was on a list Mayor Bill de Blasio released today of members of his host committee seeking to bring the 2016 Democratic National Convention to New York City.

The 100-year-old Mr. Litwin—known for his massive donations to Mr. de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, among many others—is one of 119 committee members hailing from the upper echelons of the worlds of finance, real estate, organized labor and politics. Last week, Crain’s New York Business noted that Glenwood Management, a luxury real estate firm, fits the description of “Developer 1″ in U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara‘s corruption complaint against Mr. Silver. Read More

Sales Beat

W’burg’s 340 Wythe Avenue Sells for $7.5M

340 Wythe Avenue.

The building at 340 Wythe Avenue in South Williamsburg has sold for $7.5 million, Commercial Observer has learned.

According to a spokeswoman for TerraCRG, the firm that brokered the transaction, the 8,633-square-foot “L-shaped” property is zoned for commercial use and sits between South First and South Second Streets. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Jet Stream: Life Companies Land in Europe

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Slowly but steadily the European financing landscape is moving towards a U.S. model of lending, where banks are no longer the dominant lenders.

Life insurance companies are among the lenders that have been active in the U.S. for a long time, but only in the last few years have emerged as important players on the other side of the ocean. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Astoria Bank’s Commercial Real Estate Head Is Out

Matthew Gutauskas (Photo: LinkedIn).

Astoria Bank’s head of commercial real estate lending, Matthew Gutauskas, has parted ways with the bank, sources told Mortgage Observer. The circumstances surrounding his departure are unclear.

Mr. Gutauskas, who took over as managing director of Astoria’s multifamily and commercial real estate services group in January 2014, is “no longer with the company,” a bank employee confirmed without commenting further. Read More

The Lobby

Wesley Rudes Named Executive Director at C&W

Wesley Rudes.

Wesley Rudes has been named an executive director at Cushman & Wakefield, according to a press release issued by the company.

Mr. Rudes will work out of Cushman & Wakefield’s Downtown Manhattan office at 100 Wall Street and will work with Frank Cento, one of the company’s executive directors, doing landlord and tenant representation in the downtown market. Read More

Lease Beat

Tech Company Expands at 17 State Street

17 State Street.

6D Global Technologies, which helps organizations optimize their digital experience, has expanded at 17 State Street by nearly 9,000 square feet, Commercial Observer has learned.

The company took an additional 8,887 square feet on part of the 25th floor, bringing its total footprint to 13,400 square feet in RFR Realty‘s 42-story office tower at Pearl Street across from Battery Park. The lease, signed this week, is for five years, a spokesman for RFR said, with an asking rent of $70 per square foot. Read More

Lease Beat

French-Inspired Rotisserie Chicken Coming to UWS [Updated]

426 Amsterdam Avenue.

Poulette is getting even more serious about its French-inspired rotisserie chicken, opening a second Manhattan eatery, Commercial Observer has learned.

The new 650-square-foot spot is on the ground floor of a five-story Upper West Side residential building at 426 Amsterdam Avenue between West 80th and West 81st Streets. It was occupied by a newsstand until the end of last year. The 10-year lease includes a full-storage basement and an asking rent of $240 per square foot, according to a spokeswoman for Eastern Consolidated. Read More

Lease Beat

Consumer Brands Company Snags 10K SF in Flatiron District

276 Fifth Avenue.

MindsInSync is moving to a 10,000-square-foot space a bit south and east of its current location at 1350 Broadway between West 35th and West 36th Streets, Commercial Observer has learned.

The global consumer goods company that invented the original memory foam bath mat is moving to a suite on the fifth floor of the 11-story 276 Fifth Avenue at 30th Street, according to a spokeswoman for EVO Real Estate Group, the brokerage representing landlord, Shlomo Bakhash‘s the Kash Group, in the deal. The lease is for 10 years and the asking rent is $65 per square foot, the spokeswoman indicated. Read More

Market Reports

Sharks Drive Demand for Cultural Construction in 2014

New York Aquarium (by Flickr user @e_chaya, used under a Creative Commons license).

Sharks drove much of the demand for cultural construction last year, according to a report released today by the New York Building Congress. In January 2014, The New York Aquarium broke ground on a $157.1 million, 57,000-square-foot facility called Ocean Wonders: Sharks, according to a press release from the Wildlife Conservation Society. The project was the Read More

Lease Beat

NYC Elite Takes 25,000 SF in Tribeca

40 Worth Street (photo: Newmark Holdings).

Gymnastics studio NYC Elite is relocating from its current home in Soho to a sprawling 25,000 square foot space in Tribeca, Commercial Observer has learned.

The studio, which has three locations in Manhattan, will relocate from its 14,000 square-foot space at 100 Avenue of the Americas between Broome and Grand Streets to Newmark Holdings40 Worth Street, according to a spokeswoman for the landlord. NYC Elite plans to open its new space this fall. Read More