Billy Gray

REBNY 2014

REBNY Banquet: The Rules of the Pregame

Michael Bloomberg and Mary Ann Tighe at the 2012 REBNY Foundation cocktail party. Photo: Steve Friedman

The formal dinner held in the Hilton’s cavernous Grand Ballroom is the centerpiece of the REBNY banquet celebration. But the preceding cocktail party in the Mercury Ballroom is just as lively despite its more intimate size—450 this year, compared to the banquet’s roughly 2,200. Indeed, invites to the cocktail hour are especially coveted by the wheelers and dealers in an industry that’s famously fond of status symbols. Read More


Astoria Waterfront Site Sells for $27 Million

3-15 26th Avenue

Could Astoria be the next Williamsburg or Greenpoint? The Queens neighborhood just might follow in the footsteps of those Brooklyn hotspots after a waterfront development site traded for $26.5 million.

Boris Aronov, a co-developer of 101 Leonard Street in Tribeca, acquired the 160,000-square-foot lot at 3-15 26th Avenue, which was marketed last year for its potential transformation to an 800,000-square-foot residential development. But its fate hinges on an uncertain change to its current zoning for manufacturing. Read More


Red Hook Five-Building Complex Hits Market

12-18 Commerce Street

The Brooklyn commercial real estate brokerage TerraCRG will exclusively represent the sale of 12-18 Commerce Street, an 11,200-square-foot property in Red Hook.

Five buildings constitute the 107-foot-by-100-foot lot between Richards and Columbia Streets. The property also includes a 966-square-foot shared courtyard. The asking price is $2.3 million. Read More

Lease Beat

Qatari Designer Inks 680 Madison Deal

580 Madison Avenue

The Doha, Qatar-based apparel retailer Qela has signed a 6,230-square-foot lease at 680 Madison Avenue, the first deal in the retail property since Thor Equities purchased it for $277 million one year ago.

The shop will occupy 3,000 square feet at ground level and 3,230 on the second floor when it opens in the fall of 2014. Qela will pay upwards of $2,000 per square foot for the prime ground-floor space–among the highest rental rates in the city. Read More

Lease Beat

Avison Young Named Exclusive Office Leasing Agent of Strand Building

Strand Bookstore

Avison Young has been named the exclusive office leasing agent of The Strand Building at 826 Broadway,The Commercial Observer has learned.

Michael Leff, Anthony LoPresti and Stephen DeFlorio of the fast-growing commercial real estate services firm will manage leasing on behalf of the building’s landlord, Bass Real Estate. The Union Square-area property is home to the legendary Strand Book Store and its 18 miles of books. Read More

Sales Beat

East Williamsburg Properties Sell for $14M

213 Maujer Street Photo: The Real Deal

New York real estate aficionados may debate whether East Williamsburg is a “real” neighborhood, but developers see definite potential in the area.

A partnership between Jeff Kurtz of the Kamson Corporation and Dean Marchi of Grand Street Development has acquired 774-784 Grand Street and 213 Maujer Street for $14.2 million. The two properties will be combined into one featuring 63,000 square feet of residential unites and 12,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. Read More


LPC Slams Empire Stores Plan


The Landmarks Preservation Commission has sided with Dumbo residents who oppose Midtown Equities‘ current plans for the $150 million Empire Stores project.

Criticism centered around designs for the marquee development’s rooftop that include a two-story glass-walled structure and large bulkhead. Read More

Lease Beat

Scripps Inks 121,000-SF Lease at 1180 AoA


Scripps Networks Interactive renewed and expanded with a 120,721-square-foot lease at 1180 Avenue of the Americas, The Commercial Observer has learned.

The tenant, a media company whose brands include HGTV, the Food Network and the Travel Channel, previously occupied 98,908 square feet at the Midtown West tower. Read More

Lease Beat

Savanna Leases 11,378-SF at 430 Park Avenue

430 Park Avenue

The real estate private equity firm Savanna has leased 11,378 square feet at 430 Park Avenue.

Savanna will occupy part of the 12th floor in the 300,000-square-foot, 19-story Midtown office building. Gus Field, Kevin Daly and Clark Finney of Cushman & Wakefield represented the landlord, Midwood Management, in the transaction. Gordon Ogden of Byrnam Wood repped the tenant. Read More


Midtown Misses Top 10 List of World’s Priciest Office Markets: Report


Midtown Manhattan again laid claim to being America’s most expensive office market but, according to a CBRE ranking, it failed to crack the top 10 internationally and its gains paled in comparison to those of Boston and San Francisco’s downtowns.

Released yesterday, CBRE Global Research and Consulting’s semiannual report on office occupancy costs found that Midtown averaged $121 per square foot, a 5.6 percent year-to-year increase. London-Central (West End) topped the list, with average occupancy costs of $259 a foot. Read More

Lease Beat

Reebok Fit Hub Headed to 1 Union Square West

1 Union Square West

Reebok is getting in on the CrossFit craze, and will combine its own cross-fit gym with a retail space at an address currently occupied by Diesel jeans.

The athletic apparel  and footwear company inked an 11,600-square-foot deal at 1 Union Square West that will become the flagship Reebok Fit Hub retail space and cross-fit center. Read More

Sales Beat

Rockrose Acquires 15 East 26th Street from Savanna

15 East 26th Street

Rockrose Development Corp. purchased 15 East 26th Street from the real estate private equity firm Savanna for $105 million and will move its headquarters to the commercial condominium.

The 150,000-square-foot commercial portion of the Madison Square Park-area tower comprises the first eight floors of the 93-year-old building. Savanna initiated a $9 million capital improvement campaign there after acquiring the property in 2012. It is currently over 95 percent leased. Read More

Year in Real Estate

In Memoriam

New York real estate is some of the most desirable and expensive in the world, but the ever-fluctuating price of a square foot is unquestionably dwarfed by the value of human life. This year, the real estate industry lost two figures whose talents transcended leasing and sales

Read More

Year in Real Estate

The Biggest Brooklyn Leases

A rendering of the Empire Stores project. 
Photo: Studio V

West Elm’s 150,000-square-foot lease at 55 Water Street in Dumbo was the crowning Brooklyn deal of a year when the big-boy developers seemed to (belatedly) pounce on Kings County all at once.

News of the deal in early September followed an announcement that Midtown Equities, in partnership with Rockwood Capital and HK Organization, had clinched the sought-after project of converting the 327,000-square-foot Empire Stores site on Water Street—once a coffee and dry goods warehouse—into a gilded office and retail complex. West Elm’s lease was the biggest in Brooklyn this year, and at an address whose reported penthouse office space asking rent, $90 per square foot, set a borough record.  Read More