Daniel Geiger

Power Broker

Paul Massey on Massey Knakal’s Growth

Paul Massey.

Paul Massey began his career at CBRE in 1984 but disembarked on his own within months after becoming disenchanted with the company’s hierarchical atmosphere. Senior brokers there, he found, were unwilling to collaborate with or groom younger talent.

It was the start of what seemed like the career of someone bent on doing things his own way.

Four years later, Mr. Massey would launch the scrappy, eponymously named startup he founded with colleague Robert Knakal, overseeing just a handful of staff. The two developed a system of brokerage that no other firm had then employed, in which employees were assigned to specific territories in the city.

Many observers of the firm thought the plan would be a death knell, limiting its ability to recruit talent. After all, what top broker would want to be assigned to some obscure neighborhood in Queens or Staten Island?

The pair eschewed the real estate establishment in more glaring ways, too. Read More


The Incredible Shrinking Tenant


Earlier this year, approximately 150,000 square feet opened at the Midtown office tower 399 Park Avenue when the law firm WilmerHale, a tenant in the building, left to relocate to Lower Manhattan.

The property, a 1.75-million-square-foot skyscraper owned by the large commercial owner Boston Properties, is home to the global headquarters of Citibank and is widely considered one of the finest office buildings along Park Avenue, an exclusive and highly desirable corridor in Midtown.

Boston Properties had found takers for the building even in the worst of times, filling the few hundred thousand square feet that suddenly became available in 2008 when Lehman Brothers, a former tenant, collapsed and sparked the financial crisis.

Fast-forward to 2012, a market several years removed from the depths of the recession, and this time around, Boston Properties wasn’t taking any chances. According to the leasing agent at the property, Peter Turchin, an executive at the real estate services firm CBRE, Boston Properties quickly switched to the leasing strategy du jour: finding takers for the space one floor at a time rather than waiting for one big user to fill a large portion or all of the space. Read More

Power Broker

Brooklyn Buzz: From Spike Lee to Etsy, C&W’s Glenn Markman Has BK Down

Glenn Markman.

Glenn Markman first began to pay attention to Brooklyn long before there was a Barclays Center to crystallize the borough’s rise.

Like so many success stories in real estate, buying in early was key.

Having done deals in Brooklyn for 20 years, Mr. Markman by now is known as an expert in office leasing in the borough, though he is also prolific in Manhattan. From his résumé, there’s no mistaking his prominence as a Brooklyn dealmaker.

In 2008, he represented Spike Lee in finding a Dumbo office for the film director’s advertising company, Spike DDB.

Earlier this year, when the Brooklyn Nets decided to relocate the team’s executive offices from New Jersey to be closer to the new Barclays arena, Mr. Markman, who is a leasing executive at Cushman & Wakefield, led a C&W team that brought the Nets into 35,000 square feet at 15 MetroTech Center in Downtown Brooklyn. Read More

Lower Manhattan

Lower Manhattan’s Growing Pains

Illustration by Joel Kimmel.

Gleaming new skyscrapers are rising, and more are planned. A cavernous retail complex that was once the highest-grossing shopping mall in the country is being reborn. The biggest and boldest investment in grand transit infrastructure in a generation is winding its way toward completion.

There’s no doubt that Lower Manhattan, with its blooming residential population, is not the office district it was a decade ago. During the recession, while other areas of the city like Midtown were wilting as tenants cast space onto the market and leasing activity plunged, the area, which experts were initially concerned would suffer the worst of the downturn, unexpectedly held its own.

Downtown’s sparkling newness, combined with its economy—space there comes at a substantial discount to Midtown North and South—has already drawn big tenants who believe it will be the city’s commercial district of the future.

Last year, Condé Nast signed a lease in excess of 1 million square feet at 1 World Trade Center, a deal that was perhaps even more beneficial to lower Manhattan than all its construction projects combined, thanks to what analysts describe as the company’s ability transform the area’s staid image. As exciting as all the progress is, lower Manhattan success stories, as they often do, come with caveats. Read More

Lease Beat

Brookfield to Rename World Financial Center

World Financial Center

Brookfield Properties will rename the eight million-square-foot office complex it owns in Lower Manhattan several sources familiar with the company’s plans say.

What is known currently as the World Financial Center will become Brookfield Place under the plan, in what appears to be an effort to distance the property’s image as a home predominantly for financial tenants at a time when leasing demand from that sector has been weak. Read More

Lease Beat

IDC Renews at 100 William Amid Leasing Lull Downtown

100 William Street

Interactive Data Corporation has signed a 67,000-square-foot renewal deal at 100 William Street, the latest lease at the building during an otherwise sleepy period of activity in Lower Manhattan.

IDC will renew its lease for the building’s entire 15th, 16th and 17th floors. Asking rents at the property are in the $30s and $40s per square foot. The company, which is publicly listed, provides data services and trading support to financial firms. Read More

Sales Beat

Taconic Close to $110 Million Deal for 619 West 54th Street

619 West 54th Street

Taconic Investment Partners is acquiring the office building 619 West 54th Street for around $110 million in a bet Manhattan’s fast changing West Side will continue north to an area that, until recently, has been largely overlooked as a desirable commercial neighborhood of the future.

“Go all the way up the West Side,” said Paul Pariser, who is a co-CEO of the firm along with Charles Bendit. “Tribeca is fabulous, Hudson Square is great, the Meatpacking District and Chelsea are booming, then there is the High Line and Hudson Yards and north of that there has been tons of residential development.” Read More

Lease Beat

LionTree Climbs Into 660 Madison

Lion in a Tree

LionTree LLC has signed a deal for 10,400 square feet at 660 Madison Avenue.

The company, founded by the former UBS executive Aryeh Bourkoff, will take a portion of the building’s 10th floor, where asking rents are around $95 per square foot according to the online leasing database CoStar. Read More

Midtown South

Computing Midtown South: Tech Is Booming, but for How Long?

Midtown South.

Late last year, when the education publishing company Scholastic offered up about 60,000 square feet of sublease space at the top of the Soho office building 568 Broadway, the firm quickly found it wouldn’t be difficult to fill.

Within weeks, a host of tenants were competing for it, including several tech firms, one of the most active sectors of the leasing market in Manhattan right now. Tumblr, foursquare and AppNexus, all well-known names in the industry, moved to the front of the pack.

On the face of it, such a decision would seem easy. Of the three, only AppNexus, a firm that specializes in online advertising and is backed by the software giant Microsoft, is known to be profitable. But in a tech boom in which riches don’t always flow from the most likely sources, the deal for the space took a different turn.

The competition soon boiled down not to AppNexus but to Tumblr and foursquare, two companies that have become top brands in the new internet boom and have raised tens of millions of dollars in venture capital between them, but have yet to find income-producing platforms for their services. Read More

Market Report

Where Are the Big Tenants? CBRE Data Shows Lack of Large Deals in Manhattan

Peter Turchin

The leasing market in Midtown and Lower Manhattan is down due to a paucity of big office deals, the real estate services company CBRE announced this morning, releasing its data for the third quarter of the year.

“In 2011 we had five deals over 250,000 square,” Peter Turchin, a leasing executive at CBRE who delivered a presentation to the media at the company’s headquarters, said, referring to Midtown.  “In 2012 we haven’t had any. In 2011 we had 10 units leased above 100,000 square feet totaling 1.3 million square feet of deals. So far we’ve had two this year. So the real drop-off has been in the large tenant market.” Read More

Lease Beat

Microsoft the Latest Big Tech Company to Come to Midtown South

641 Avenue of the Americas

After making plans to swap locations in Midtown, Microsoft is now in talks to take another space in Midtown South, an area of the city that has become a magnet for software and technology companies.

The company, which is close to releasing the latest version of its operating system Windows 8 and a new tablet computer that will compete with the iPad, is nearing a roughly 22,000-square-foot deal for the entire seventh floor of 641 Avenue of the Americas. Read More

Sales Beat

Two Trees Closes on Domino Factory in $185 Million Deal

Domino Katan

Two Trees has completed a $185 million acquisition of the Domino Sugar Factory, an 11-acre parcel on the Brooklyn Waterfront where the development firm plans to build potentially billions of dollars worth of residential apartments.

The site had been at the center of a months-long legal dispute between its two previous owners, CPC Resources and the Katan Group, in which Katan had tried to block the sale to Two Trees on claims it had received higher offers from other buyers, including the investor Joe Chetrit. Read More