Cover Story

Leading Beyond LEED: NYC Buildings and the Evolving Fight to Consume Less Energy

803 Knickerbocker Avenue.

One of the country’s first hyper-efficient affordable multifamily passive houses was failing a basic evaluation early this month and nobody on architect Chris Benedict’s Architecture and Energy Limited team could figure out why. When the innovative foam-and-stucco structure at 803 Knickerbocker Avenue in Bushwick couldn’t hold up to the blower door test that’s a standard Read More

Lease Beat

Media Company Inks Midtown South Relocation

1140 Broadway

Media company F+W will soon move a half mile southwest of its current home at 38 East 29th Street into an 8,500-square-foot space for ten years on the entire 14th floor of the Roos and Cohen families’ 17-floor building at 1140 Broadway in Midtown South, Commercial Observer has learned.

The company chose the building with asking rents in the mid to high $50s per square foot after searching for a new location that would help foster innovation in the changing media landscape, said F+W’s Chairman and CEO David Nussbaum. Read More

Hotel Beat

Brooklyn Hotel Demand Growth Back on Track

Rendering of Holiday Inn Brooklyn Nevins Station.

For the first time since Superstorm Sandy forced people out of their homes and into hotels, quarterly room demand comparables are positive, data provided by lodging industry benchmarking services firm STR to Commercial Observer indicate.

Demand for hotel rooms increased year-over-year each month in the second quarter. Prior to this April, the last month there was a year-over-year increase was in September 2013. Read More


Staten Island Mall Outlines 445K SF Expansion Plans

Staten Island Mall plans

Staten Island Mall officials plan to expand the 41-year-old Heartland Village mainstay by 444,835 square feet to transform it into a 1.67-million-square-foot megamall by 2017, according to documents filed with the city by mall owner General Growth Properties.

A 36-page blueprint that representatives for the Chicago-based operator of 120 malls nationwide will present at the Department of City Planning Thursday outlines an enlargement that would include a 75,000-square-foot addition to the Macy’s department store onsite, a three-story, 1,500-spot garage and a 50,000-square-foot supermarket on space currently occupied by parking lots. Read More

Mortgage Observer

AIG Lends $113M on Hudson Square Office Building

330 Hudson Street

Chicago-based Callahan Capital Properties has taken out a $133 million loan from the insurance arm of AIG, public records indicate.

The loan is backed by office building 330 Hudson Street, in the Hudson Square area. Callahan, along with partner Ivanhoé Cambridge, a Canadian pension and insurance fund manager, announced last month that it had acquired a 49 percent interest in the property for approximately $150 million, as Commercial Observer reported at the time. Read More

Lease Beat

United Ambulette Relocates to Bushwick from LIC

144 Pilling Street. (CoStar)

Medical transport service United Ambulette has expanded its business with a move to larger digs in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. The company, which also has a school division, was based at 3131 Greenpoint Avenue in Long Island City prior to the June 1 move to 144 Pilling Street, off Central Avenue.

Kalmon Dolgin Affiliates brokers Jeffrey Unger and Robert Klein represented United Ambulette and the landlord, the Tony Argento-owned Corastar Holding Inc., in the deal, the brokerage announced. The third-generation United Ambulette took 6,000 square feet of warehouse space plus 20,000 square feet of outdoor yard space for its vehicles. Read More

The Lobby

Mayor Nominates BSA, Landmarks Commissioners

Bill de Blasio.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has nominated Margery Perlmutter as commissioner of the Board of Standards and Appeals. Adi Shamir Baron and John Gustafsson were also nominated as commissioners of the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The nominations have been submitted to the City Council for final approval, according to a release issued by the Office of the Mayor. Read More

Lease Beat

Urban Compass Signs Lease at RFR’s 90 Fifth Avenue

90 Fifth Avenue.

Tech-driven real estate brokerage Urban Compass has signed a new 25,000-square-foot lease at RFR Realty’s 90 Fifth Avenue, the landlord announced today.

The tenant will occupy space on the third and fourth floors of the building beginning late this year, RFR said in a press release. Urban Compass is currently headquartered at nearby 19 Union Square West and the company is expected to retain its 9,000-square-foot space there, according to The New York Post, which first reported the lease. Read More

Lease Beat

Nonprofit Inks Big LIC Lease

33-00 Northern Boulevard

Non-profit child care and foster agency the New York Foundling will relocate part of its staff to the entire fifth floor of 33-00 Northern Boulevard in Long Island City on a 15-year, 35,000-square-foot lease, Crain’s New York Business and the Wall Street Journal reported this morning.

The Queens property with asking rents in the $30s per square foot also houses offices for the city Human Resources Administration, a key partner with the organization, and the arrangement makes financial sense for a nonprofit that recently started marketing its West Village building at 27 Christopher Street for $47.5 million, said Ryan Colbert, investment director of Madison Marquette, the joint owner of the property along with Perella Weinberg Partners. Read More

Real Estate and Politics

Seaport Working Group Survey Shows Support for Community Guidelines

South Street Seaport

A committee of elected officials, nonprofits, local residents and representatives of the Howard Hughes Corporation presented the positive results of a feedback survey on its nine recommendations for the Dallas-based firm’s South Street Seaport projects to Community Board 1 last week.

After company officials agreed to take the task force’s recommendations under consideration ahead of submitting applications to the city Landmarks Preservation Commission and Department of City Planning this fall, the “Seaport Working Group” created a set of guidelines and received 2,367 comments from roughly 250 respondents that reflect generous approval for the group’s calls for aid to the South Street Seaport museum, creation of community spaces and contextual building, among other suggestions. Read More

The Lobby

JLL Hires Amanda Bokman for New York Office

Amanda Bokman.

JLL has hired Amanda Bokman as a managing director, Commercial Observer has learned.

Based out of JLL’s New York office, Ms. Bokman will focus on new business development and tenant representation, and will work closely with Robert Martin, the firm’s vice chairman and head of brokerage, according to a press release issued by the company. Read More

Lease Beat

MediaMath Seals 4 WTC Deal This Morning [Updated]

4 World Trade Center. (Silverstein Properties)

Digital media buying platform MediaMath has sealed a 15-year deal to move from Midtown to 106,000 square feet at 4 World Trade Center. It is the first private-sector tenant for the Financial District building.

The deal was signed this morning in the mid-$70s per square foot and MediaMath scored $5.8 million in incentives through the federally funded Job Creation and Retention Program offered jointly by Empire State Development and Economic Development Corporation. Plus the company will get as-of-right incentives in place at the building for all tenants, according to the 4 WTC website. Read More


Furman Center: Resilience Requirements Ensnare Multifamily Owners

NYU Workshop

Building requirements for better flood protections have presented owners and managers of more than 1,500 buildings with 90,000 units of public, subsidized or rent-stabilized housing with a dilemma: either pay high insurance premiums or pay high costs to lower them, according to a report called “The Price of Resilience: Can Multifamily Afford to Adapt?” released Wednesday by the NYU Furman Center.

The real estate and planning policy research organization collaborated with industry leaders, nonprofit organizations and government officials to explore the complex obligations that can leave many owners with no way to pay the bills besides switching to market-rate as they grapple with requirements crafted for single-family homes. Read More