Sales Beat

Acadia Closes $50M Buy of Soho Retail Co-ops

131 Prince Street.

Acadia Realty Trust has paid $50 million for two retail co-op units totaling 3,000 square feet at the base of 131-135 Prince Street, Commercial Observer has learned. The deal, which amounts to $16,666 per square foot, closed earlier this afternoon after being signed in late June, sources close to the deal said.

The seller was a family trust affiliated with Louis Meisel, who owns and operates the Louis K. Meisel Gallery at 141 Prince StreetRead More

Sales Beat

Sharif El-Gamal Purchases Park Place Site, Con Ed to Net $5.5M

45-51 Park Place.

Sharif El-Gamal’s Soho Properties has purchased Consolidated Edison’s property at 49-51 Park Place for $10.7 million.

Plans for the property currently include an Islamic museum and sanctuary space to be designed by Jean Nouvel at 51 Park Place, along with a 619-foot, luxury condominium building at 45 Park Place, an adjacent site, according to releases issued in April and May by Soho Properties. Read More

Mortgage Observer

BofA Agrees to $16B in Penalties for Bad RMBS—the Biggest Settlement in American History


Bank of America has agreed to pay over $16.6 billion to end federal and state probes into its mortgage bond sales, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced in Washington, D.C. this morning. The fine—which takes the form of penalties as well as consumer relief—is the largest civil settlement with a single entity in American history.

While other banks have paid hefty sums to settle similar claims (Citigroup paid $7 billion and J.P. Morgan $13 billion), the punishment is by far the most severe meted out by the government for behavior pre-2008.  Read More

Brooklyn Beat

Massey Knakal: Downtown BK is for Healthy Living

Healthy Food

With Downtown Brooklyn adding apartments, offices and retail since the city rezoned the area in 2004, the area is starting to sprout “active and healthy living” establishments, according to a new report shared exclusively with Commercial Observer by Massey Knakal Realty Service’s director of retail leasing, Nicole Liebman.

While Perelandra Natural Food Center and Downtown Brooklyn Market have maintained presences for years in the area, recent leases like Manhattan Athletic Club‘s 15,000-square-foot lease at 388 Bridge Street and Yoga Works‘ new 5,800-square-foot space at the Downtown Brooklyn Municipal Building reflect the growing prominence of establishments that run the gamut from workout gyms to natural food stores and healthier soup and salad shops, said Ms. Liebman. Read More


Billion-Dollar Retail Listing


When the renderings become realities and the cranes give way to condos, the new towers along 57th Street will give rise to a soaring enclave of extreme wealth perhaps unlike any in the world. The tallest building along what some now call Billionaires’ Row, Extell Development’s Nordstrom Tower, will climb to 1,775 feet.

But how is the coming influx of super-rich tenants affecting the ground level—that is, the bustling corridor’s retail scene? Read More


Coalition Marches for New Affordable Zoning Rules in Harlem

RAFA march

Nearly 500 activists and union members marched alongside elected officials in a march by the “Real Affordability for All” coalition this afternoon in Harlem.

The event marked the largest public demonstration to date by the group of 50 housing advocacy and anti-poverty groups that’s calling for at least 50 percent affordable housing in all new developments, as participants took part in a 10-block march north from 116th Street to 125th Street along a closed-off Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard after a series of speeches at the First Corinthian Baptist Church. Read More

On the Market

Bay Ridge Medical Office Building Asking $8.1M

9020 Fifth Avenue (Brooklyn)

Marcus & Millichap has placed a 24,829-square-foot medical office building in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn at 9020-9024 5th Avenue on the market with an asking price of $8.1 million, or $326 per square foot, Commercial Observer has learned.

The building includes a parking garage, an anchor tenant in Mount Sinai Hospital’s New York Eye & Ear Infirmary and 16,265 square feet of unused space, and it sits five blocks from the 86th street retail corridor. Read More

Sales Beat

Gaia Closes $147M Murray Hill Purchase, Going Condo with Andres Escobar Design

330 East 38th Street.

Investment firm Gaia Real Estate has nabbed 144 units at Murray Hill’s Corinthian from Spitzer Enterprises for $147 million. The sale, at 330 East 38th Street, closed on Aug. 14, with the transaction appearing in public records today. Gaia is converting the units, which Spitzer Enterprises had been renting out, back to condominiums, with an Andres Escobar design, Commercial Observer has learned.

In December 2013, Gaia acquired the whole 50th floor for $14.55 million and is nearing completion of the gut renovation of 15 new condos, which the company will keep for its partners, said Danny Fishman, a managing partner at Gaia. Read More

Lease Beat

Infant Wear Store Signs For Tribeca Storefront

104 Franklin Street

Infant clothing designer and manufacturer Egg by Susan Lazar moved into a retail storefront at 104 Franklin Street in Tribeca at the start of the month through an 11-year, 2,200-square-foot lease, Commercial Observer has learned.

The space formerly occupied by the sales office of a nearby residential property that has asking rents of $120 per square foot offered the designer a favorable location in a neighborhood where shoppers grew familiar with a former pop-up shop the clothing store operated in the area, said Brett Maslin of Adams & Co. Read More

Wrecking Ball

HAP Applies for Washington Heights Demo Permit [Updated]

4452 Broadway. (HAP Investment Developers)

HAP Investment Developers has filed an application for a demolition permit at 4452 Broadway at the southeast corner of Fairview Avenue and Broadway in Washington Heights, according to Department of Buildings records.

HAP purchased the 24,280-square-foot lot including neighboring 4454 Broadway in April 2013 for $7.3 million, according to property records. HAP put the kibosh on rival Quadriad‘s plans by scooping up the two sites, which had been included in proposed plans by the latter developer, DNAinfo previously reported. Read More

Lease Beat

Coffee Replacing Crumbs Cupcakes in Chelsea

A Crumbs Bake Shop.

A new coffee shop serving Italian-style coffee and in-house, hand-made baked goods, is building out the 950-square-foot space where Crumbs Bake Shop used to be in Chelsea. Seven Grams Caffe signed a 10-year lease in June and plans to open at 275 Seventh Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets in the second week of September.

The owners don’t anticipate any bad joo joo from Crumbs’ demise. Read More

Feature Story

A New Lease on…Leasing

Hunters Point Park pier in Long Island City.

Landlords across the city are embracing non-traditional leases in the hope of avoiding two problems: a less than fresh roster of tenants and empty rental space. And property owners are taking advantage of the perks of filling commercial space with creative companies under a wide range of lease terms to amp up property presence, community engagement and, of course, the bottom line.

And while pop-ups came into their own amid the recession for the basic reason of filling space, landlords are increasingly using them as a way to market properties even with much improved vacancy rates, according to reports. Read More

Power Broker

Brokering the Diamond District, New York City’s Crown Jewel

Diamond Ring

In a vault in the middle of the stretch of West 47th Street between Avenue of the Americas and Fifth Avenue that’s known as the Diamond District, a longtime merchant keeps his literal crown jewels: a set designed in the 18th century for the French royal family. The jewelry salesman and collector places the value of the tiara, bracelet, necklace and earrings with origins in the Bourbon-Medici clan at $1 million, but those jewels are not for sale, he says. He says he plans to donate the piece to a museum someday, and his employees show off less pricey merchandise like a $650,000 choker and a $565,000 necklace. If those items seem too expensive, a store employee tells Commercial Observer, he’s happy to point out items that sell for closer to $500,000. Read More

Office With Benefits

Inside a New TAMI Office in the Old Financial District


Just six weeks after creative ad firm Mekanism moved into the company’s new two-floor, 11,000-square-foot office at 80 Broad Street in the Financial District, President and CEO Jason Harris invited Commercial Observer to check out the company’s sleek new digs in an exclusive tour.

Mr. Harris and other company officials at the firm with around 30 employees in its New York City office designed the space in collaboration with architects from the Environetics company to create an office that boasts both the surprising trappings of a millennial workplace and the more familiar appeal of a 35th-floor penthouse in a part of town where traditional finance tenants used to dominate. Read More