Buildings and Construction

Queens Tops Charts for NYC Construction Permits in 2014

A photo from Norman Towers.

In 2014, Queens was issued the highest number of full-building demolition and new building permits, according to New York City Department of Buildings data provided to Commercial Observer. The data showed that Queens obtained 643 new building permits and 575 full building demolition permits last year. This is an increase from 2013, when the borough was issued 593 new building permits and 510 full demolition permits.

“Development throughout the city has been encouraging as can be seen from the issuance of construction permits,” said Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick D. Chandler. “In Queens alone, over this past year there has been a combined increase of over 20 percent in issuance of new building and demolition permits, key indicators of continuing development. This can be attributable to a number of factors including city growth, and is certainly aided by the mayor’s affordable housing initiative.” Read More

Sales Beat

Stagg Group Picks Up Bronx Site, Plans Second Webster Avenue Rental Project

3084 Webster Avenue and 410-414 East 203rd Street.

Fresh off receiving 50,000 applications for affordable housing at its soon-to-open Bedford Park Manor in the Bronx, Stagg Group has scooped up another site on the newly rezoned Webster Avenue with plans for another residential rental building.

Mount Vernon-based Stagg paid $4.1 million for a Norwood area property at 3084 Webster Avenue, in a deal including the adjoining 410-414 East 203rd Street, that closed last month and was recorded with the city last Wednesday. Direct private bridge lender Titan Capital ID provided a $2.9 million loan at a 70 percent loan-to-value ratio. The site looks like “a gun pointing west,” said Adolfo Carrión, Jr., the executive vice president for Stagg. Read More

Lease Beat

Non-Profit Consolidates in Former Goldman HQ

85 Broad Street

Year Up is consolidating its three offices in New York City into one space inside the former headquarters of Goldman Sachs in the Financial District, according to a spokesman for the non-profit organization. The new office will have 38, 407 square feet, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the deal.

The office space will be on the sixth floor in 85 Broad Street between South William and Pearl Streets, for a 15-year lease term, according to Cynthia Wasserberger of JLL, who represented the landlords in the lease, along with colleagues Peter Riguardi, Frank Doyle and Jon Schrifrin. Read More

Sales Beat

Sam Chang Closes on $22.5M Garment Center Purchase

338-340 West 39th Street.

McSam Hotel Group‘s Sam Chang has closed on his $22.5 million purchase of the industrial loft building at 338-340 West 39th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, Commercial Observer has learned. He went into contract to purchase the building between Eighth and Ninth Avenues at the beginning of December, as Commercial Observer previously reported, and the deal closed last Thursday, Mr. Chang said.

Mr. Chang said he wanted the site because it’s adjacent to what was global digital advertising agency R/GA‘s home at 350 West 39th Street, which the hotelier bought last October for $112 millionRead More

Mortgage Observer

Can the 114th Congress Make a Difference?

Commercial, industrial and residential real estate are more than bellwether sectors of the economy—they are major drivers of growth, employment and prosperity in the United States. The U.S. real estate industry generates $4.6 trillion dollars in revenues per year and employs 17.6 million Americans, according to The Real Estate Roundtable. So, to twist a recent advertising slogan, what happens in the real estate industry doesn’t stay in the real estate industry.

After the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble and the subsequent financial crisis of 2008, over the past few years we’ve begun to see steady improvement in economic conditions. However, and particularly in the real estate industry, this growth has fallen far short of a rebound. Single-family housing starts remain significantly below historic levels; there is a yawning affordability gap, in which millions of families are paying more than half of their income for housing and have no savings; and U.S. CMBS issuances are less than half pre-2008 levels, six years into the current recovery. Read More

Lease Beat

HSBC Secures Space at 250 West 57th Street

250 West 57th Street.

HSBC has secured 2,864 square feet on the ground floor of 250 West 57th Street, just steps from the new Nordstrom Midtown flagship location at 225 West 57th Street, according to a press release issued by the property’s owner Empire State Realty Trust.

According to a spokeswoman for ESRT, the lease was signed for 10 years and five months. Read More

Sales Beat

Amirian Group, Bridgeton Holdings Buy EV Parking Garages for $9.5M [Updated]

436 East 13th Street

Developers Amirian Group and Bridgeton Holdings have acquired two former parking garages in the East Village for $9.5 million in a deal that closed this past Friday.

The Quantano family sold the two equal-sized sites at 436 and 442 East 13th Street between First Avenue and Avenue A, according to Ivan Hakimian, the president of HPNY, who consulted on the deal. Together, the properties comprise 26,300 buildable square feet, Mr. Hakimian indicated. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Clearer Skies Ahead?

Sam Chandan

As they embark on a new year, American investors are more confident than at any time before the financial crisis. Paying little heed to the business cycle or distortions from monetary policy, they are supported in their optimistic assessment by the most immediately observable trends. The economy has grown at a robust pace in recent quarters, rebounding from a brief contraction a year ago. More important, one of the weakest links in the current expansion, labor markets, have shown increased vigor. Save the absence of meaningful wage growth, the last year was the best for net employment gains since the peak of the dot-com era. As of its December meeting, the Federal Reserve now projects that the unemployment rate will fall below its natural level by the end of this year. Barring a significant shock, the outlook is positive. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Old New York: 32 Old Slip

32 Old Slip.

A look at the history of 32 Old Slip in Lower Manhattan, originally the site of a building held by the United States Assay Office—the last public gold refinery in the country. Since then the 1.2-million-square-foot property has been through multiple sales and a big turnaround following Hurricane Sandy. Read More

Sales Beat

Quantum Equities Buys Prewar Multi-Family in Northern Manhattan

4 South Pinehurst Avenue.

Brooklyn-based Quantum Equities, a privately owned investor of multifamily and commercial properties in the New York metropolitan area, has bought 4 South Pinehurst Avenue on the corner of West 177th Street, Commercial Observer has learned.

L&L Realty Equities sold the pre-war building, which includes 59,000 square feet and 43 apartments, to Quantum Equities for approximately $9 million, according to a press release issued by the buyer. Read More

Lease Beat

Media Company Secures 26,000 SF in Union Square

The Feil Organization's 841 Broadway.

Digital advertising and media management software developer Centro Inc. has leased two full floors at the Feil Organization’s 841 Broadway between East 13th and East 14th Streets, according to a press release issued by the building owner on Wednesday.

The press release stated that Centro will occupy 26,235 square feet on the building’s sixth and seventh floors. Neither the length of the lease nor the asking rents were disclosed. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Extell, Kushner Companies Close $132M in Financing For New Jersey Purchase

Pier Village

A partnership of Extell Development and Kushner Companies closed a new take-out loan of $97 million while assuming $32 million in debt on a New Jersey multifamily building the pair purchased last November.

The duo bought Pier Village, a 492-unit mixed-use development at One Chelsea Avenue in Long Branch, for $180 million, with $51 million in bridge financing from Capital One. Now, they’ve finalized a $97 million long-term fixed-rate take-out with Fannie Mae, which retired the Capital One bridge loan, and assumed a $32 million Freddie Mac loan on the property originated by PNC Bank, according to representatives for both companies. The Freddie Mac loan was originated in mid-2013 and carries a seven-year term. Read More

REBNY 2015

REBNY’s 119th Gala Through the Five Senses

REBNY gala

Last night, 2,300 of Steven Spinola’s closest friends gathered at the New York Hilton Hotel at 1335 Avenue of the Americas between West 53rd and West 54th Streets to help usher in his retirement after nearly 30 years as president of the Real Estate Board of New York. At REBNY’s 119th annual banquet, Mr. Spinola was bestowed with the Harry B. Helmsley Distinguished New Yorker Award for his dedication to both the trade organization and the city.

“We are enormously proud to honor our dear friend Steven Spinola for all the spectacular work he does for our industry,” said REBNY Chairman Rob Speyer, the president and co-chief executive officer of Tishman Speyer, in prepared remarks. “For nearly three decades, through good times and bad, Steve’s professionalism, thoughtful advocacy, and generosity of spirit has inspired our community.” Read More

Sales Beat

Savanna Acquires Meatpacking Retail Property

461West 14th Street.

Savanna has purchased a newly built, 24,682-square-foot corner retail property in the Meatpacking District underneath the High Line, Commercial Observer has learned.

The real estate private equity and asset management firm acquired 461 West 14th Street from Michael Miller and son Brandon Miller‘s Real Estate Equities and Alfieri Development, the lender and project construction manager, Savanna announced. Savanna declined to indicate the price, but a May 2014 article in The Real Deal said that Savanna made an offer of $85 million for the site on May 12. Read More