Mortgage Observer

Elevated Expectations in India

Sam Chandan.

Chinese President Xi Jinping travelled to India in mid-September with a stated goal of bolstering political and trade ties between the world’s two most populous nations.

The relationship between the countries has always been uneasy. In the modern era, their territorial and geo-political ambitions have rarely found alignment; as they have jockeyed for regional influence, friction over issues such as the disputed territories of Kashmir and India’s easternmost frontier with Tibet have stymied efforts at cooperation elsewhere. Even as the pomp of the latest state visit was getting underway, Indian and Chinese troops were posturing on their respective sides of the shared Himalayan border. And though there was no indication of conflict in New Delhi’s more civilized environs, the leaders did agree that the region would be well served by an updated perspective on these sources of conflict. Read More


Appellate Decision Unfreezes NYU’s Expansion Plan; Opponents Remain Bullish

The lay of the land. (Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation)

A panel of judges in the State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division today reversed a previous ruling that put large portions of New York University’s contentious $6 billion 2031 expansion plan on hold. The appellate decision takes issue with Judge Donna Mills’ January finding that four Greenwich Village parcels, which the city had previously turned over to NYU, constituted “implied” parkland and thus could not be ceded (“alienated,” in legal parlance), to the university without a vote in the state legislature. Judge Mills’ ruling gave the go-ahead to the university for only one of four planned buildings—which had become the target of a lawsuit filed by Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, Community Board 2, local residents and the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP), among others—while pumping the proverbial brakes on the other three. Read More

Lease Woes

Fairway Shopping Around Manhattan Lease

fairway logo

Fairway supermarket chain may have gained attention for its expansion tear and accolades as a specialty retailer, but the company is looking to bail on at least one of its leases in Manhattan, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

The lease in question is at Jack Resnick & Sons255 Greenwich Street in the Financial District with other Fairway lease transactions possibly facing the same fate. Read More

Lease Beat

City Agency, Office Space Provider Ink Forest Hills Leases

Forest Hills Tower

The New York City Board of Elections and office suite provider Regus signed respective leases totaling almost 50,000 square feet at Muss Development’s Forest Hills Tower at 118-35 Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills, Queens, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday.

The city agency will move into a 36,103-square-foot space on three different floors of the 17-story building by the fourth quarter of 2015 and the real and virtual office space finders will occupy 13,317 square feet on the fourth floor of the 1981 structure with asking rents in the high $30s, Jason Muss, a Muss principal, told Commercial Observer. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Greystone Provides HUD Loan for Multifamily Complex in Michigan

Wyndchase Apartments.

New York-based multifamily and healthcare lender Greystone provided a $27.5 million HUD loan to Michigan and North Carolina-based multifamily developer Singh Development to refinance a 340-unit apartment community in Canton, Mich., Mortgage Observer has first learned.

Greystone’s Fred Levine originated the 35-year, low-rate financing on Wyndchase Apartments, a luxury townhome and apartment complex located at 41376 Williamsburg Boulevard. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Old New York: The Plaza Hotel

The Plaza Hotel in 1946 (Getty Images)

Since opening in 1907, the iconic Plaza Hotel has embodied New York City elegance and luxury. Mortgage Observer looks back at the development—and many subsequent sales, redevelopments and repurposings—the landmark lodge has seen in the more than 100 years since it was erected at the corner of Central Park and Fifth Avenue. Read More

Lease Beat

Two New Leases Signed at 280 Park Avenue

280 Park Avenue.

The property at 280 Park Avenue, a Class-A building located between East 48th and East 49th Streets, has secured two new leases for a total of 36,417 square feet, according to the New York Post. 

“Leasing activity has accelerated as the building’s $150 million comprehensive redevelopment nears completion,” said SL Green‘s Steven Durels in a press release. Read More

Market Reports

First Three Quarters Outpace Entire Previous Year in Midtown South

Midtown South Map

Office leasing activity this year in the tight Midtown South market has already bested last year’s total by more than 2 million square feet, according to a new quarterly report released this morning by CBRE.

Transactions like Google’s 178,065-square-foot lease at 85 10th Avenue, Yelp’s 152,232-square-foot deal at 11 Madison Avenue and Squarespace’s 93,517-square-foot lease at 225 Varick Street have netted a year-to-date total of 5.16 million square feet for 2014 after last year’s leasing totaled only 3.06 million square feet in the market composed of six neighborhoods bounded by Chelsea and Madison Square on the north and Soho and Hudson Square on the south, the report says. Read More

Lease Beat

Restoration Hardware Heads to Meatpacking District in Apparent Relocation

9-19 Ninth Avenue.

Restoration Hardware will be taking over the old Pastis building at 9-19 Ninth Avenue, The Wall Street Journal reported. And Commercial Observer has learned that the deal represents an apparent relocation for the high-end home furnishings company from its Flatiron District digs.

Restoration Hardware has signed a 15-year lease for the building, and will be paying $250 million over the course of the term, the Journal reported. The lease is for 70,000 square feet. The existing building is 30,000 square feet (15,000 on the ground floor and 15,000 on the second floor). The owners, Aurora Capital Associates and William Gottlieb Real Estate, will be adding a 15,000-square-foot lower level and 25,000 square feet spread over the third, fourth and fifth floors, a source with knowledge of the deal told Commercial Observer. Plans call for a wraparound terrace on the third floor and a large outdoor space on the fifth floor.  Read More

Mortgage Observer

DiamondRock Amends Lexington Hotel Loan to Reduce Borrowing Costs

The Lexington New York City.

Bethesda, Md.-based DiamondRock Hospitality Company amended a $170.4 million senior mortgage secured by the Lexington New York City hotel in Midtown, to extend the loan’s term and reduce the REIT’s borrowing costs, the company said in a release.

Citibank provided the initial three-year debt on the 725-key, full-service hotel at 511 Lexington Avenue in March 2012, city records show. Read More

Lease Beat

Lafayette College Secures Space in Midtown

99 Park Avenue.

Lafayette College, an undergraduate liberal arts college in Easton, Pa., is opening office space in Manhattan for its investment committee, Commercial Observer has learned.

The college secured space at 99 Park Avenue, located between East 39th and East 40th Streets. It will occupy 3,216 square feet of space on the 18th floor of the 26-story building. Read More

Lease Beat

Logistics Company Consolidates on West 36th Street

34 West 36th Street.

Dynamex, a same-day transportation and logistics services company last week signed a triple-net 10-year lease for six floors at 34 West 36th Street, Commercial Observer has learned.

The tenant, which is a subsidiary of TransForce, will combine its two New York City offices—one on Morton Street and another on 39th Street—at the West 36th Street building.  Read More

Lease Beat

Accounting Firm to Relocate to Madison Avenue

485 Madison Avenue

Certified public accounting and advisory firm Janover LLC will relocate and expand its Manhattan footprint in January 2015 through a 10-year, 14,101-square-foot lease at Jack Resnick & Sons485 Madison AvenueCommercial Observer has learned.

The company with over 100 employees and an additional office in Garden City, Long Island will move its Manhattan office three blocks west from 805 Third Avenue into a full-floor space on the ninth story of the building between East 51st and East 52nd Streets, said Harry Krausman, a principal at Cassidy Turley. Read More

Lease Beat

Success Academy Sublets Harlem Office

310 Lenox Avenue

The YAI Network, a nonprofit service provider helping individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, has opened an 8,449-square-foot location for one of the nonprofit’s pre-employment and community service programs in a second-floor office space the nonprofit subleased from Success Academy Charter Schools at the NBA Player Association‘s building at 310 Lenox Avenue in Central Harlem, ABS Partners Real Estate announced last week.

The 57-year-old organization with eight affiliates in the New York metropolitan area, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands has occupied the space between West 1125th and West 126th Streets where it helps adults learn job-related skills, said Sandy Speiser, YAI Network’s director of program development. Read More