Year in Real Estate

Above and Beyond Hurricane Sandy

East Coast Begins To Clean Up And Assess Damage From Hurricane Sandy

FEMA spokesperson William Rukeyser described the ad-hoc, jumbled feel of the company’s impromptu space in the Forest Hills Tower like a scene from a hard-hit neighborhood, with hanging wires, antennas strapped to the ceiling, Post-It notes and sheets of paper with various instructions scattered about, and impromptu folding tables holding printers and other office equipment. Most seemed at a loss for words when assessing damages.

“It’s—It’s—It’s just a mess,” Durst Organization spokesperson Jordan Barowitz told The Commercial Observer less than a week after the storm hit, struggling to describe the destruction in Lower Manhattan. Read More

The Sit-Down

Cushman’s Michelle Walker Knows Difference Between Agency and Tenant Reps. But Which Does She Prefer?

Michelle Walker. (Photo by Shravan Vidyarthi)

Michelle Walker has stayed busy at Cushman & Wakefield, schooling herself on both landlord and tenant representation. It’s given her unique insight into the Manhattan markets that she covers, where dwindling supply can leave smaller tenants out in the cold and larger tech firms swallowing hard while reimagining their must-have lists. On the tenant side, she’s represented Sugar Publishing in its lease at Monday Properties’ 386 Park Avenue South. In fact, when The Commercial Observer caught up with her last week, she was rushing in from showing Sugar’s available sublease space at the building. Meanwhile, her landlord representation started with Harbor Group International’s 1412 Broadway, an assignment that taught her a lot about how landlords are leveraging their space in Times Square South. Hint: It takes guts. Read More

Sales Beat

HSBC Buys 4 New York Plaza, Home of The NY Daily News

4 New York Plaza (photo courtesy of CoStar)

HSBC Alternative Investments, along with Edge Fund Advisors, have reportedly paid $270 Million for 4 New York Plaza, the Lower Manhattan home of the New York Daily News and JP Morgan Chase & Co.

The partnership between an HSBC entity, HSBC Club Programme, and the Washington D.C.-based Edge Fund Advisors will take control of the 1,084,528-square-foot, 22-story property, which also counts OK! Magazine and American Media, Inc. as tenants.

“Our purchase of 4 New York Plaza is testament to the value we envision from the rebirth of the downtown market,” Mark Keller, the CEO of Edge Fund Advisors, said in a statement.

Harbor Group International, a Norfolk, Virgnia-based real estate investment firm, had sold the building after it purchased 4 New York Plaza at the “bottom of the cycle.”

“At the time we bought the building, I don’t think investors were as bullish on downtown as they are now,” Jordan Slone, CEO of Harbor Group International, told Bloomberg. Mr. Slone cited Conde Nast’s 1 million-square-foot lease deal at 1 World Trade Center as a pivotal moment in the market that transformed Downtown as a “focus for investors, which 2 1/2 years ago, it wasn’t.”

Harbor Group was represented by a CBRE team lead by Darcy Stacom and William Shanahan. They did not return phone calls requesting comment.   Read More

Lower Manhattan

Downtown Manhattan on the Up and Up

Downtown Manhattan.

For much of the past decade the only hope for a broker looking to make money off of Downtown office space was to do a deal like 70 Pine Street: Take a lavish 62-story Art Deco headquarters that was once owned by a spectacularly failed financial firm like AIG and turn it into opulent apartments where bankers would rather live than work.

Deals like 70 Pine Street, which instantly wiped off one million square feet from Downtown’s commercial real estate inventory when it was sold for $200 million in 2011, have been propping up statistics for the neighborhood’s office space market for years. Ever since large banks and financial companies started fleeing offices in the financial district, an influx of young families and bankers wanting to live Downtown, rather than just work there, have kept the vacancy rate from tanking even further by reducing the math on the supply end.

Now, say the brokers who have long suffered the horrors of Downtown’s commercial market, those residential conversions are starting to also pay off on the demand side. A flurry of infrastructure and amenities building to keep up with the new residents in the neighborhood is also making the area more enticing for large corporations to move in.

“It’s a chicken-and-egg scenario,” said Mark Shapses, executive managing director at Studley. “Downtown is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.” Read More

Investment Sales 2012

Darcy Stacom & William Shanahan on 10 East 53rd Street Chinese Investors

Darcy Stacom. (Illustration by Joao Maio Pinto)

The investment sales market, most brokers agree, has been heating up over the past 12 months. Approximately $25.8 billion in commercial properties changed hands last year, a turnaround that represented an 88 percent increase over 2010. But while the positive uptick is easily verifiable, what happens next for Manhattan’s investment sales market is still up in the air.

Accordingly, The Commercial Observer set out to speak with the real estate industry’s most accomplished capital markets and sales practitioners to learn what’s in store for 2012. Over the next several days, we’ll post interviews with heavy hitters like Richard Baxter of Jones Lang LaSalle, J.D. Parker of Marcus & Millichap, Woody Heller of Studley and Peter Hausperg of Eastern Consolidated. But, first, after the jump, none other than Darcy Stacom and William Shanahan of CBRE. Read More