Lauren Elkies Schram

Entering Brooklyn

Gary Barnett’s Extell Enters Brooklyn With City Point Deal

City Point rendering. (City Point)

Gary Barnett‘s Extell Development Company is slated to develop residential units in what marks phase three of City Point, the mixed-use development in Downtown Brooklyn, Commercial Observer has learned.

The development deal, which is in the contract stage, represents Mr. Barnett’s first foray into Kings County. The prolific developer is undecided about whether the project will be a rental or a condominium, sources close to the deal said, but no affordable housing has been included in the plans. Read More

Sales Beat

Three Washington Heights Buildings Sell for $13.8M

1995-1997 Amsterdam Avenue.

Three Washington Heights six-story walk-up apartment buildings comprised of 53,630 square feet have sold for $13.8 million, Commercial Observer has learned.

Two of the properties, 1001 St. Nicholas Avenue and 2001-2003 Amsterdam Avenue, are contiguous and occupy the entire block front of 159th Street between Amsterdam and St. Nicholas Avenues. The third building, 1995-1997 Amsterdam Avenue, is directly across on the southeast corner of 159th Street. Together they contain 64 apartments and six mom-and-pop shops. The average in-place apartment rent is $1,200 per month. Read More

Hotel Beat

Foreigners, Corporate Types Flock to Brooklyn Hotels

The cabin at Urban Cowboy  bed and breakfast in Williamsburg.

The Brooklyn hotel market is booming.

There are 27 hotels in the development pipeline in Kings County, according to data provided by lodging industry benchmarking services firm STR to Commercial Observer, representing a 37 percent increase from the same time last year. And those 27 hotels comprise 2,378 rooms versus the 2,129 rooms in last year’s hotel pipeline. That’s an 11.6 percent uptick.

Massey Knakal Realty Services hotel sales expert Andy Posil called the investment climate for Brooklyn hotels “frothy,” in a new Brooklyn hotel report. The contributing factors, he noted in the report, are: “operational performance; demographic fundamentals; and liquid capital markets which are increasingly receptive to hotel product in the current lending environment.” Read More

Lease Beat

Just Salad Opening First UWS Location

2056 Broadway.

Fast-casual chain Just Salad is opening its 16th location with its first Upper West Side eatery, Commercial Observer has learned.

“Just Salad had been looking to open on the Upper West Side for a long time,” said Charles Rapuano of Winick Realty Group in a prepared statement. “This location was perfect for them with the foot traffic from the 72nd Street subway station, the commercial activity in the area and the health-conscious residential population that frequents the nearby yoga studios, Equinox and Soul Cycle locations.” Read More

Sales Beat

29K-SF Harlem Site Sells for $5.35M

2202-2210 Third Avenue.

Joseph Rishty of 2202 Third Ave, LLC has sold a 29,000-square-foot development site at 2202-2210 Third Avenue for $5.35 million.

Eastern Consolidated marketed the location on the corner of Third Avenue and 120th Street for $5.9 million, as Commercial Observer previously reported. Rent-A-Center occupies a three-story, 12,000-square-foot retail building at the site, also known as 181 East 120th Street. The furniture and electronics rent-to-own company triple-net leased the building through November 2015. The deal, which closed over the summer, included 17,000 square feet of available air rights. Read More


Postings: Manhattan (and Brooklyn) Transfers

Atlantic Avenue Long Island Railroad station.

New York City’s subterranean transportation system is a vast labyrinth of subway lines, and straphangers are always angling for better and improved access to it. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey have undertaken major underground transportation projects, which have started to and will continue to impact how people travel around the city. Below, Commercial Observer takes a look at some of the transit projects that have or will transform the city. Read More


Modern Spaces, EXR Launch Commercial Divisions

Modern Spaces' Evan Daniel, left, and Eric Benaim

Long Island City-centric Modern Spaces and Brooklyn-based EXR Group are expanding into the commercial real estate realm.

Modern Spaces, which has grown beyond its Long Island City roots with Manhattan and Brooklyn offices, is launching a commercial and investment property division to be headed by Evan Daniel. The new division will provide both leasing and investment sales services, covering office, industrial and retail leasing as well as land and property sales across all asset categories. Read More

Lease Beat

Hunt Companies Relocates NYC Office to 230 Park

230 Park Avenue.

Hunt Companies, a Texas-based privately-owned investor, developer and manager of real estate assets, yesterday signed a direct lease for Deutsche Bank‘s 20,643 square feet of office space at 230 Park Avenue, Commercial Observer has learned.

At the end of the year, the firm will relocate its Hunt Mortgage Group from 100 Church Street in Lower Manhattan to the entire 19th floor at the 34-story former Helmsley Building, which is between 45th and 46th Streets. Read More

Lease Beat

Law Firm Relocates to 1251 Avenue of the Americas

1251 Avenue of the Americas.

Davis Wright Tremaine, a national business and litigation law firm, is relocating its New York City offices nearby its current digs on the 27th floor at 1633 Broadway.

The firm is taking 42,000 square feet for the entire 21st floor at Japan-based Mitsui Fudosan’s 1251 Avenue of the Americas between 49th and 50th Streets, The Real Deal reported. Its current office is between 50th and 51st Streets. Read More

Concrete Jungle

Concrete at Level Hotel Brooklyn Reaches New Level

Concrete pour at Level Hotel Brooklyn. (Nick Liberis)

Level Hotel Brooklyn is boasting a record: the largest continuous concrete pour in Brooklyn.

Starting at 4 a.m. yesterday, 2,500 cubic yards, or roughly 9 million pounds, of concrete was poured at the site of Riverside Developers‘ hotel, at 55 Whythe Avenue in Williamsburg, to create the foundation. Alpine and NYCON Supply Corp. transported the concrete in 240 trucks and it was poured via four pumps simultaneously from 12th and 13th Streets. The job was done by 12:30 p.m. Read More

Food & Drink

Will Manhattanites Taste Jimmy Rodriguez’s Caribbean Cuisine?

544 West 27th Street.

Jimmy Rodriguez, who made Jimmy’s Bronx Cafe famous before it closed a decade ago, is hoping to bring Caribbean-inspired cuisine to Manhattan, Commercial Observer has learned.

Mr. Rodriguez, who opened Don Coqui‘s third location in the City Island section of the Bronx in January, is negotiating to lease a 10,000-square-foot space at 544 West 27th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues for a Manhattan Don Coqui restaurant. Read More

The Sit-Down

Extell Excels

Gary Barnett

Gary Barnett is the founder and head of Extell Development Company, a firm he started in 1989. As one of the city’s leading—and most divisive—contemporary developers, he has created amenity-laden condominiums like One57, the Orion and the Aldyn, hotels like the Hyatt Times Square and W Times Square and office towers like the International Gem Tower. Mr. Barnett started in the diamond trading business in Belgium and cut his teeth in the real estate industry buying shopping malls and office buildings in the Midwest. Extell’s current portfolio exceeds 20 million square feet. Commercial Observer recently sat down with Mr. Barnett in his conference room to talk about his aggressive development stance, his favorite project and the “poor door” controversy. Read More

Sales Beat

Sitt Asset Management Buys Two Pink Soho Buildings for $30M

161 Prince Street.

Family-owned real estate investment firm Sitt Asset Management has snagged a pair of pink Soho buildings on Prince Street for a combined $30 million.

Sitt spent $15.9 million for 161 Prince Street and $14.1 million for the adjacent 159 Prince Street, both between West Broadway and Thompson Street. The deal closed on Aug. 31 and appeared in public records today. The seller is listed as Hewitt, N.J.-based MRM Equity LLC. Read More