Le Opening: Le District is Opening in a Month, Part of Downtown’s Culinary Revolution

OOH LA LA: Le District of Brookfield Place should be a French version of Eataly (Photo: Emily Assiran/Commercial Observer.

Hear ye, hear ye, Downtown office workers: Plan on loosening the notches on your belts in the coming months, because by the end of March (or the beginning of April), Downtown Manhattan’s dining options are about to go into the stratosphere.

The 30,000-square-foot French-themed market and 520-seat dining zone, Le District, will be opening at the newly renovated Brookfield Place in Battery Park City. It will also include a 25-seat fine dining chef’s table concept, set to open in May. Read More

Sales Beat

Four W’burg Properties Sell for 16.5 Times the Rent Roll

949-959 Metropolitan Avenue.

Sal Mendolia‘s Cormen Enterprise yesterday sold four contiguous rent-stabilized properties on Metropolitan Avenue in East Williamsburg for $9 million, the brokers in the deal told Commercial Observer.

The four four-story, eight-unit properties, which span 949-959 Metropolitan Avenue between Olive Street and Morgan Avenue, sold for 16.5 times the rent roll, said Marcus & Millichap broker Shaun Riney. He and his Marcus & Millichap colleagues Mike Salvatico and Jim Saros represented the buyer in the deal and co-marketed the property with EXR Group‘s Sam Rubin and Mario Faggiano. Read More

Lease Beat

Bank Leumi Signs 58,548-SF Lease at 350 Madison

350 Madison Avenue

Bank Leumi USA, the largest subsidiary of Israeli bank The Leumi Group, signed a long-term lease earlier this month for 58,548 square feet at 350 Madison Avenue as The New York Post reported. Asking rents in the building range from $60 per square foot  in the base to $85 per square foot  in the penthouse.

Occupying the entirety of floors three, four and six, the Israel-based financial services firm will be the building’s largest tenant. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Madison Realty Capital Loans $20M for West Harlem Condo Construction

99 Morningside Avenue

Eastern Union Funding secured a $20 million construction loan for Azimuth Development Group’s 99 Morningside Avenue condominium project, Mortgage Observer has learned. Madison Realty Capital provided the two-year, interest-only loan, with an interest rate of 11.5 percent.

“Normally, paying double digit rates is very high, and most of our construction loans are sub-five percent,” said Eastern Managing Directer Jeff Seidenfeld, who brokered the deal. “In this case, the final product was cheap equity. This leverage would have been impossible had we gone with a conventional bank—the client would have had to put up substantially more equity and possibly taken out a partnership.”  Read More

Lease Beat

Four Leases are Inked at 370 Lex

370 Lexington Avenue.

A new tenant, an expansion, and two renewals started the new year at 370 Lexington Avenue, a Sherwood Equities building.

The four leasing transactions account for 7,300 square feet within the 310,000-square-foot property, mostly filling a hole on the sixth floor left by Infographics, a design firm that held 5,800 square feet since 1992, and closed shop in December 2014. Read More

Lease Beat

BlackRock Expands on East 52nd Street

Park Avenue Plaza.

BlackRock, the New York-based asset management firm, is expanding at the Fisher Brothers and Soho China’s Park Avenue Plaza at 55 East 52nd Street.

The firm will be expanding into 31,000 square feet on the 27th floor of the 45-story tower, according to The Real Deal, which first reported the deal. TRD noted that the the firm will pay rents slightly below $100 per square foot as part of the eight-year lease.  Read More

Lease Beat

Global Marketing Tech Firm Relocating to Flatiron District

114 Fifth Avenue.

Acxiom Corporation has signed a lease for the entire 19,326-square-foot seventh floor at L&L Holdings114 Fifth Avenue, Commercial Observer has learned.

The global marketing technology and services company will be moving from 240 West 37th Street in an eight-year deal, according to Andrew Stein of Vicus Partners, who represented the tenant in the relocation. The asking rent was $85 per square foot, he said. Read More

Lease Beat

Baked by Melissa’s Pick-Up Window Returning to Soho

Tie-Dye Baked by Melissa cupcake (Baked by Melissa website).

Less than a year after the closing of a Baked by Melissa pass-through window on Spring Street, the mini-cupcake specialists are returning with a window on the same street, a source with intimate knowledge of the deal told Commercial Observer.

Baked by Melissa launched its bite-size cupcake business in the city with a window at 80 Spring Street in March 2009. That shop closed on July 21, 2014 before a construction project at Broadway and Spring Street commenced, as Grub Street previously reported. Now, Baked by Melissa will be setting up a new window at JTRE‘s 63 Spring Street at the corner of Spring and Lafayette Streets.  Read More

The Lobby

Kuafu Properties Picks Up Stephen Muller From Greenwich Group

Stephen Muller.

Stephen Muller joined Kuafu Properties earlier this month as chief investment officer following a decade as a managing director in investment banking at The Greenwich Group International. Mr. Muller, 37, has 15 years experience directing and overseeing multi-billion-dollar real estate investments. In his new role he is responsible for Kuafu’s investment and financing activities, and the origination and development of new investment opportunities.

“Stephen’s track record of sourcing, underwriting, marketing and financing major mixed-use developments over the past few years is a perfect complement for Kuafu’s platform,” said Shang Dai, the chief executive officer, who first noticed Mr. Muller while looking at deals he was advising on. Impressed by his overall knowledge, Mr. Dai said Mr. Muller also possesses “those hard-to-explain qualities” that make someone a right fit at the firm that’s bringing the far east to Hudson Yards like the Hudson Rise Hotel, which is part of Kuafu’s portfolio. Read More

Mortgage Observer

HFF Brokers $110M Hotel Portfolio Financing Led by CCRE

Sheraton Orlando North.

New York-based CCRE led the financing on a $110 million loan for a 2,566-key, full-service hotel portfolio with seven properties in Florida, California, Virginia, Ohio and New Mexico, Mortgage Observer has learned.

HFF worked on behalf of the borrower—a joint-venture partnership between the $9 billion global alternative investment firm Värde Partners, the privately held investment group Waramaug Hospitality Management and the New York-based global hotel management company Interstate Hotels & Resorts—to secure the five-year, floating-rate loan from a group of lenders. Read More

Lease Beat

Herald Square Building 100 Percent Leased to Childrenswear Companies


Five childrenswear companies have committed to a total of 5,296 square feet at 34 West 33rd Street, according to a press release issued by Adams & Co., the firm that represented the building in these transactions.

“We’re 100 percent committed to leasing only to childrenswear to create the go-to location for the childrenswear market in New York,” said David Levy, the principal of Adams & Co. “Right now, there are 45 childrenswear companies in the building and the building is 100 percent leased.” Read More

Lease Beat

Elevator Maintenance Company Heads to LIC

The Factory at 30-30 47th Avenue in Long Island City.

Elevator construction company TEI Group is moving from West 34th Street to The Factory, a creative office loft building at 30-30 47th Avenue in Long Island City, according to a press release issued by Newmark Grubb Knight Frank.

With its new lease, TEI Group will have 22,725 square feet on part of the sixth floor for its corporate headquarters. Built in 1926, The Factory is a 1-million-square foot creative office loft property that was once home to a Macy’s furniture warehouse. The company will likely move into the space this June. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Moinian Refinances Fifth Avenue Buildings In Deal Brokered by Meridian

545 Fifth Avenue.

The Moinian Group refinanced two adjacent office and retail buildings spanning a full block on Fifth Avenue with a $310 million CMBS loan from Morgan Stanley, Mortgage Observer has first learned.

The 10-year deal, secured by Meridian Capital Group, carries a fixed interest rate under 4 percent, according to the broker. The new loan replaces previous debt that Column Financial provided in March 2006, city records show. Read More

Lease Beat

Jewish Non-Profit Signs Lease Near Bryant Park

1040 Avenue of the Americas.

The Jewish Outreach Institute, a non-profit organization that identifies unaffiliated and interfaith families and helps them find a spiritual home in the Jewish community, has signed a lease next to Bryant Park.

The organization will relocate from its roughly 2,900-square-foot home at 1270 Broadway between West 32nd and West 33rd Streets to 1040 Avenue of the Americas between West 39th and West 40th Streets, according to Ryan Herzich of Joseph P. Day Realty. It’s new space will include 3,789 square feet. Read More