Lauren Elkies Schram

Architecture & Design

High Line Architect Designs Oasis on West 23rd Street

Rendering of rooftop at 50 West 23rd Street (credit: H5 Property).

Landscape architect James Corner of James Corner Field Operations, whose design turned an abandoned elevated train track on the Far West Side into a popular public park, is now hoping to provide a similar transformation—this time 11 stories above ground.

Two Trees Management Company hired the High Line‘s lead designer to create a new 10,600-square-foot rooftop garden and outdoor work space on the 11th floor of the 14-story building at 50 West 23rd Street between Fifth Avenue and Avenue of the Americas. It will be a place for meetings, parties, presentations and eating lunch, said Jed Walentas, a principal at Two Trees, when it opens in the third quarter of the year. Read More

Buildings and Construction

DOB Overwhelmed by Construction Demand

Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick D. Chandler (Photo: Michael Nagle/for Commercial Observer).

The Department of Buildings‘ review of new building plans has slowed to a crawl because the city agency is getting buried under an avalanche of permit applications.

According to the most recent agency performance report from the Mayor’s Office of Operations, when it comes to new buildings it is taking the city’s DOB nearly twice as long to complete the first plan review, which is the period from the complete submission of the application to the date the plan examiner is able to issue a decision upon the submitted plans. That process has risen to an average of 15.7 days in the fiscal year to date compared with 8.5 in the previous FYTD, the data indicate. Read More

On the Market

City Seeks Developer for Seven-Acre Parcel Near JFK Airport

The seven-acre site referred to as JFK North (NYCEDC's RFEI).

The city is looking for a developer to purchase a fee interest or a long-term lease and then redevelop a seven-acre parcel along the south side of Rockaway Boulevard near John F. Kennedy International Airport.

“This is an ideal location for businesses that benefit from the proximity to JFK International Airport,” according to the New York City Economic Development Corp.‘s recent request for expressions of interest, or RFEI. Read More


Worker Injured During Demo for TF Cornerstone Luxe Building [Updated]

Scene of building collapse at  642 West 57th Street.

A construction worker suffered minor injuries in Midtown when part of a wall collapsed at a vacant building where TF Cornerstone will erect a luxury apartment building, according to officials.

FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Dan Donoghue said at a press conference this afternoon that at 2:30 p.m., the New York City Fire Department received a call about a collapsed building on West 57th Street. When the fire fighters arrived at 642 West 57th Street between 11th and 12th Avenues, they saw the building had “collapsed inwards,” the chief said. Read More

Lease Beat

Asset Manager Expands to 26K SF at 1350 Avenue of the Americas

1350 Avenue of the Americas.

A global alternative asset manager focused on event-driven investment opportunities has signed an early renewal and expansion at 1350 Avenue of the Americas, a source with intimate knowledge of the deal told Commercial Observer.

P. Schoenfeld Asset Management occupies 20,000 square feet on the 20th and 21st floors at SL Green Realty Corp.‘s building between West 54th and West 55th Streets, and signed a 10-year lease to grow its space to 25,854 square feet amassing those two floors in their entirety, the source said. Read More


Le Opening: Le District is Opening in a Month, Part of Downtown’s Culinary Revolution

OOH LA LA: Le District of Brookfield Place should be a French version of Eataly (Photo: Emily Assiran/Commercial Observer.

Hear ye, hear ye, Downtown office workers: Plan on loosening the notches on your belts in the coming months, because by the end of March (or the beginning of April), Downtown Manhattan’s dining options are about to go into the stratosphere.

The 30,000-square-foot French-themed market and 520-seat dining zone, Le District, will be opening at the newly renovated Brookfield Place in Battery Park City. It will also include a 25-seat fine dining chef’s table concept, set to open in May. Read More

Sales Beat

Four W’burg Properties Sell for 16.5 Times the Rent Roll

949-959 Metropolitan Avenue.

Sal Mendolia‘s Cormen Enterprise yesterday sold four contiguous rent-stabilized properties on Metropolitan Avenue in East Williamsburg for $9 million, the brokers in the deal told Commercial Observer.

The four four-story, eight-unit properties, which span 949-959 Metropolitan Avenue between Olive Street and Morgan Avenue, sold for 16.5 times the rent roll, said Marcus & Millichap broker Shaun Riney. He and his Marcus & Millichap colleagues Mike Salvatico and Jim Saros represented the buyer in the deal and co-marketed the property with EXR Group‘s Sam Rubin and Mario Faggiano. Read More

Lease Beat

Global Marketing Tech Firm Relocating to Flatiron District

114 Fifth Avenue.

Acxiom Corporation has signed a lease for the entire 19,326-square-foot seventh floor at L&L Holdings114 Fifth Avenue, Commercial Observer has learned.

The global marketing technology and services company will be moving from 240 West 37th Street in an eight-year deal, according to Andrew Stein of Vicus Partners, who represented the tenant in the relocation. The asking rent was $85 per square foot, he said. Read More

Lease Beat

Baked by Melissa’s Pick-Up Window Returning to Soho

Tie-Dye Baked by Melissa cupcake (Baked by Melissa website).

Less than a year after the closing of a Baked by Melissa pass-through window on Spring Street, the mini-cupcake specialists are returning with a window on the same street, a source with intimate knowledge of the deal told Commercial Observer.

Baked by Melissa, which launched its bite-size cupcake business in the city with the window at 80 Spring Street in March 2009, closed on July 21, 2014 before a construction project at Broadway and Spring Street commenced, as Grub Street previously reported. Now, Baked by Melissa will be setting up a new window at JTRE‘s 63 Spring Street at the corner of Spring and Lafayette Streets.  Read More

Lease Beat

Animal Adoption Center, Shelter Relocating on Centre Street

200 Centre Street.

Animal Haven is moving to a 5,800-square-foot space at 200 Centre Street in Chinatown/Soho, the non-profit animal adoption center and shelter’s broker told Commercial Observer. Animal Haven will be moving to the entire 2,600-square-foot ground-floor and entire 3,200-square-foot basement this fall, said Gregory Kim of Veracity Real Estate, from a smaller space at 251 Centre Street at the corner of Broome Street in Soho.

The asking rent in the 12-year deal was $150 per square foot, Mr. Kim said. Read More

In Negotiations

The Four Seasons Restaurant Seriously Considers Move

280 Park Avenue.

Oh, the seasons have changed. Following a legal dispute that resulted in the fall removal of a Pablo Picasso canvas that hung on the wall in The Four Seasons Restaurant, the famed eatery is considering a move a bit south, sources with intimate knowledge of the situation told Commercial Observer.

The restaurant, at 99 East 52nd Street in Aby Rosen‘s Seagram Building between Park and Lexington Avenues, has a lease through July 2016, said Four Seasons co-owner Julian Niccolini, and while the eatery is in talks with Mr. Rosen’s firm to stay put, he acknowledged, “we’re considering every opportunity available to us.” Those include 280 Park Avenue and other locations within walking distance from the Seagram Building. Read More

power profile

Arthur Mirante is Avison Young’s Natural-Born Leader

Mr. Mirante received a football, signed by Joe Namath and Emerson Boozer, when he was honored at a United Way charity event (Photo: Adam Jones/Commercial Observer).

Arthur Mirante really digs his job—actually only two-thirds of it. He loves new business development and servicing the clients, but the managing director aspect? Not so much. In fact, he plans to hire someone to take over that position within five weeks.

That was a part of the job he assumed from broker Greg Kraut, who left CBRE for Avison Young in 2011, because “this is the best mid-sized hybrid,” Mr. Kraut said. Read More

Lease Beat

It’s Recess Time at 81 Washington in Dumbo

81 Washington Street (Image: Two Trees Management's website).

A new children’s play space called Recess has signed a lease for 2,200 square feet in a Two Trees Management building in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn, the real estate firm announced.

Recess will occupy a ground-floor retail space at the residential 81 Washington Street come the summer, according to a spokeswoman for Two Trees. There were no brokers involved in the five-year deal, she said. Read More

Sales Beat

Benchmark Buys Two WV Apt. Buildings Within One Week

82-84 West 12th Street.

Benchmark Real Estate Group has picked up two apartment buildings in the West Village, Jordan Vogel, a principal at Benchmark, told Commercial Observer. The firm bought 82-84 West 12th Street for $22.8 million on Feb. 4, he said, and a week prior, 194 West 10th Street for $9.3 million. The West 10th Street sale closed on Jan. 28 and was filed with the city last Thursday.

“There’s been a fight to quality,” Mr. Vogel said. “[I] used to say anything prime Manhattan. Now I’d much rather be in the West Village than on the Upper East Side. We’re seeking the highest rent districts.” Read More

Lease Beat

French Fashion House Coming to Soho in U.S. Entry

100 Wooster Street.

Balmain, which recently opened a London flagship, is preparing to establish its U.S. presence at Crown Acquisitions100 Wooster Street.

Women’s Wear Daily first reported news of the haute couture fashion house opening a store in the Soho building between Spring and Prince Streets, and Commercial Observer got the rundown on the 2,600-square-foot deal, from a spokeswoman for Crown. The store, to open in the spring, is on the main floor in the five-story building. In addition, Balmain took lower-level storage space. The lease is for five years with an asking rent of $450 per square foot. Fashion designer Morgane Le Fay is the current occupant and will be moving out in April. Read More