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The Tide is High: Jamaica, Queens Could Become a Destination in its Own Right

Sutphin Boulevard, Jamaica, Queens

Ask the average New Yorker about Jamaica, Queens and you’ll likely hear an answer about its rail station or proximity to J.F.K. airport. Despite the development boom occurring west of the neighborhood in Astoria and Long Island City, Jamaica continues to feature more prominently in the minds of many city residents as a stopover en route to more glamorous locations.

But since the neighborhood was rezoned, local stakeholders have become increasingly optimistic that the perception of Jamaica as a gritty transit and discount shopping hub can change.

“We see the downtown [area] as a regional center of many activities that if concentrated here would have a high public purpose,” said Carlisle Towery, the president of the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, the area’s economic development entity. Read More

Sales Beat

HAP Investments to Buy East Harlem Site

2211 Third Avenue. (Credit: PropertyShark)

HAP Investments is in contract to acquire a development site at 2211 Third Avenue in East Harlem for $13 million, Commercial Observer has learned.

The buyer intends to develop the 17,500-square-foot site into a 120,000-square-foot mixed-use project, according to a press release announcing the deal. The development will consist of 78,000 square feet of luxury rental residential space, 26,000 square feet of commercial space, 5,000 square feet of parking and 1,000 square feet of community space. Read More

The Lobby

Ron Solarz Returns to Eastern Consolidated

Ron Solarz

Investment sales broker Ron Solarz has rejoined Eastern Consolidated as an executive managing director and principal, Commercial Observer has learned. The industry veteran spent close to 17 years at Eastern Consolidated before joining Brookfield Financial in 2011.

“I’m sure I’m going to hit the ground running and it’s going to be a good experience because it’s comfortable,” said Mr. Solarz, who starts work at Eastern Consolidated today. Read More

Lease Beat

Novus Partners Signs 200 Park Avenue Sublease

Met Life Building. (Credit: Tishman Speyer)

Novus Partners has signed a sublease from British bank Barclays at the MetLife Building at 200 Park Avenue, Commercial Observer has learned.

The financial data analytics business signed a short-term deal for an 18,375-square-foot portion of the 27th floor. The company will relocate from 130 East 59th Street on a deal through May 2017.  Read More

Grand Openings

Brownstoner’s Crown Heights Development to Open Tomorrow

1000 Dean Street.

The Crown Heights commercial development spearheaded by Brownstoner’s Jonathan Butler will officially open tomorrow, Commercial Observer has learned. The 140,000-square-foot building at 1000 Dean Street, a former Studebaker service station, recently received a temporary certificate of occupancy from the New York City Department of Buildings.

The property will welcome its first 24 tenants over the next two to three weeks, according to Chris Havens, the head of the commercial division at aptsandlofts.com, who handles leasing at the property. A ribbon cutting will be scheduled for a later date. Read More

Lease Beat

Lebenthal Wealth Advisors Inks Helmsley Building Sublease

230 Park Avenue.

Lebenthal Wealth Advisors has signed a six-year, 43,295-square-foot sublease from HSH Nordbank at the Helmsley Building at 230 Park Avenue, Commercial Observer has learned.

The subtenant will sublease the 31st and 32nd floors of the building while HSH Nordbank consolidates and relocates to the 34th floor. The sublandlord, a northern European commercial bank headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, operates its capital markets, shipping and restructuring business units in New York. Read More

Lease Beat

Fashion Designer Takes Space at 501 Madison Avenue

501 Madison Avenue

Designer Randi Rahm, who has designed dresses for the likes of Beyonce and Carrie Underwood, has signed a 10-year lease for a 6,433-square-foot office and showroom space on the eighth floor of 501 Madison Avenue, Commercial Observer has learned.

The tenant is expected to relocate to the Plaza District property, where asking rents range from $60 to more than $80 per square foot, in June. The landlord, KRW Realty Advisors, assumed responsibility for the build-out of the space. Read More

On the Market

Seventh Avenue Retail Space Hits the Market for Lease

425-427 Seventh Avenue. (Credit: PropertyShark)

A potential flagship retail opportunity in the shadow of Madison Square Garden is being marketed for lease by Eastern Consolidated, Commercial Observer has learned.

The two-building space, located at 425-427 Seventh Avenue, boasts 2,400 square feet of space on the ground, basement and second levels, with the third and fourth floors potentially available for a total of 12,000 square feet. The entire property is being marketed as a triple-net lease for $1.9 million per year. Read More

Sales Beat

West Village Property with Ralph Lauren Retail Location Trades for $17M

383 Bleecker Street. (Credit:: PropertyShark)

A West Village mixed-use property with a Ralph Lauren retail location at its base has sold for $17 million, according to public records. The five-story building, located at 383 Bleecker Street, was acquired by RWN Real Estate Partners in a deal that closed in February.

In addition to the retail component, the building boasts seven one-bedroom market-rate rental apartments. An 850-square-foot unit in the building last rented for $4,500 per month last year, according to StreetEasy. Read More

Preservation

Borough President Calls for Landmarks Reform

Rizzoli Bookstore. (Credit: PropertyShark)

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and city preservationists today called for reforms to the landmarking process following the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s refusal to consider landmark status for the Rizzoli Bookstore building at 31 West 57th Street.

“The landmarks process requires reform; we must avoid more Rizzoli-like ambushes on our history. We are here today to ask that the LPC immediately study those remaining buildings on West 57th Street to identify and landmark those that represent the best of their eras, and I will introduce legislation which will require the LPC to follow transparent and consistent time frames in responding to future designation requests,” Ms. Brewer said in a prepared statement. Read More

The Lobby

Michael Schlein Appointed as Chairman of NYCEDC Board

Michael Schlein. (Credit: Accion)

Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed Michael Schlein as chairman of the board of directors of the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

Mr. Schlein, a veteran of the financial services industry, currently serves as president and chief executive of Accion, a nonprofit microfinance firm. Previously, Mr. Schlein worked as president of International Franchise Management at Citigroup. Prior to Citigroup, Mr. Schlein gained public service experience as chief of staff of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and served in economic development roles under Mayors Ed Koch and David Dinkins. He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Read More

Lease Beat

HAP Investments Relocating to 3 East 54th Street

3 East 54th Street. (Credit: PropertyShark)

HAP Investments has signed a nine-and-a-half year lease for the entire 11,200-square-foot 15th floor of Cohen Brothers Realty Corporation’s 3 East 54th Street, Commercial Observer has learned. Asking rent for the space was in the low-$50s per square foot.

The tenant, a real estate investment and development company, expects to relocate its New York headquarters from 347 Fifth Avenue during the third quarter. HAP also operates an office in Tel Aviv, Israel. Read More

Sales Beat

Lloyd Goldman Buys Murray Hill Apartment Building for $126M

The Nash

Lloyd Goldman of BLDG Management has acquired The Nash, a 191-unit apartment building located at 222 East 39th Street in Murray Hill, for $126 million.

The sellers, a partnership led by Atlas Capital, Rockpoint Group and The Procaccianti Group, acquired the debt on the property, then known as the Eastgate Tower Hotel, in 2012 with a plan to convert the building to apartments. The property exited bankruptcy in November 2012 and renovation of the building began in early 2013. Read More

Sales Beat

Florida Pension to Buy 1370 Broadway from Normandy

1370 Broadway

The Florida Retirement System Pension Plan is in contract to acquire 1370 Broadway from Normandy Real Estate Partners for $186 million in cash, a source familiar with the deal confirmed with Commercial Observer. The sale went to contract in February and is expected to close within weeks.

The seller acquired the Midtown property in 2012 for $123 million and promptly hired architects MKDA to spearhead renovations, including a new glass entry, new revolving doors and new elevator cabs. Read More

The Sit-Down

Empire State of Mind: Tony Malkin on Empire State Realty Trust

Tony Malkin. (Credit: Aaron Adler)

Last year, the Empire State Realty Trust, a real estate investment trust that counts the Empire State Building among its assets, went public. Under the symbol ESRT, shares in the REIT have traded up over 14 percent since the initial public offering early last October. The road to the New York Stock Exchange was a somewhat rocky one for the REIT, with a small, yet vocal group of investors rallying against the initial public offering. Undeterred, Tony Malkin, the chairman, chief executive and president of ESRT, pushed forward, confident that the consolidation and public offering of the portfolio formerly known as Malkin Holdings was the best route for investors. Nearly six months since the NYSE’s bell tolled for ERST, Mr. Malkin’s confidence is paying dividends. Having just signed LinkedIn to a 160,000-square-foot lease at the Empire State Building, ESRT is committed to redeveloping both its globally beloved 34 Street asset and other properties in the portfolio. Mr. Malkin spoke to Commercial Observer last week about ESRT’s road to its IPO and what’s planned for the future. Read More