Power Broker

Bet on Brett Maslin, Adams & Co.’s No-nonsense Broker

Brett Maslin, Senior Managing Director of Adams & Company, LLC

A lot has happened since Brett Maslin of Adams & Co. made Commercial Observer’s 30 Under 30 list in 2012. He’s fully blossomed into one of the firm’s top-producing brokers. He also got married, so after eight grueling years climbing the company ladder, he finally got a break with a skiing trip in Vermont at the end of January—the first of two trips he and his wife would take to celebrate their vows. Read More

Power Broker

Adding Value with Neil Kessner

Photo by Mike Nagle

On June 17, 2013, the head of SL Green’s in-house legal team, Neil Kessner, hopped on the subway with the firm’s president, Andrew Mathias, and headed to 1 Saint Andrews Place to meet retail bigwig Jeff Sutton for a meeting with the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s head of forfeiture, Sharon Cohen Levin.  

The SL Green/Sutton team had won an RFP issued in October 2012 to purchase the 49-year leasehold interest on the roughly 32,000-square-foot retail condo at 650 Fifth Avenue, signing a letter of intent for the leasehold on January 2013.  Read More

Abrupt Exits

Juicy Couture Given $50 Million to Leave Embattled 650 Fifth Avenue

650 Fifth Avenue

Juicy Couture‘s velour tracksuit dispensary at 650 Fifth Avenue could close as soon as January. And the popular, if widely mocked, retailer will receive $50 million for vacating the building with over seven years to go on its lease.

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest gave SL Green and Jeff Sutton permission to acquire the master lease for roughly 32,000 square feet of retail space at the property. That development followed a September verdict that Alavi Foundation and Assa Corporation had to forfeit their ownership stakes in the building after they violated sanctions against and money laundered for the Iranian government. The Shah of Iran funded the construction of 650 Fifth Avenue in the late 1970s. Read More

Sales Beat

SL Green, Jeff Sutton Acquire Retail Leasehold at Controversial 650 Fifth Ave


The court-appointed federal monitor and interim trustee of the controversial commercial tower at 650 Fifth Avenue has negotiated a deal for the retail space at the building.

SL Green Realty has partnered with Jeff Sutton to acquire a 49-year leasehold interest in the retail portion of the Midtown property which has previously been linked to the Iranian government. Read More

Lease Beat

Metropolitan Real Estate Relocating to 650 Fifth Avenue

650 Fifth Avenue

International investment advisory firm Metropolitan Real Estate is moving its New York headquarters from 135 East 57th Street to 650 Fifth Avenue, The Commercial Observer has learned.

The firm signed an 11-year lease for 11,289 square feet, taking the entire 29th floor of the 36-story, 382,500-square-foot office building located in the Plaza District on 52nd Street, on the northern edge of Rockefeller Center. 

“We are excited to add Metropolitan Real Estate to the growing list of excellent tenants at 650 Fifth Avenue,” said Dr. Houshang Ahmadi, president of the not-for-profit Alavi Foundation, the majority owner and managing partner of 650 Fifth Avenue Company. Read More

Lease Beat

Real Estate Firm TGM Associates Renews at 650 Fifth Avenue


TGM Associates, a New York-based investment advisory firm focused on multifamily properties, has renewed its 11,280 square-foot lease at 650 Fifth Avenue, The Commercial Observer has learned.

The firm takes the entire 28th floor of the 36-story, 382,500-square-foot office building located in the Plaza District on 52nd Street, on the northern edge of Rockefeller Center.

“The fact that an entity immersed in the real estate industry has continued its commitment in this building speaks volumes about the ownership and the manner in which business is conducted at 650 Fifth Avenue,” said CBRE’s Paul Haskin, who represented the landlord, 650 Fifth Avenue Company, with Robert Stillman and Zachary Freeman.  CBRE is the exclusive office leasing agent and property manager at the building. Read More

Lease Beat

Korea-Based Hana Bank Renews 7,318 SF at 650 Fifth Avenue

650 Fifth Avenue

Korea-based financial institution Hana Bank has signed a 10-year, 7,318 square-foot office lease renewal on the 15th floor at 650 Fifth Avenue, where ownership plans to reap the rewards of an ongoing capital improvement project.

The 36-story, 382,500 square-foot office building located in the Plaza District on 52nd Street, on the northern edge of Rockefeller Center, recently underwent an $11 million lobby renovation, completed in July.

“The building has always treated them well and we’re fortunate to retain them in the building,” said CBRE’s Paul Haskin, who represented owner 650 Fifth Avenue Company along with Robert Stillman and Zachary Freeman.  “I think they’re excited to stay, particularly given the renovations the owner has completed, as they continue to improve the property.” Read More


Real Estate Leaders Give Thanks

The Thanksgiving Turkey float  during th

Scanning the papers and business web-sites, you’d assume the economy—and, perhaps, the real estate industry in general—was approaching a quagmire, what with employment rates still lower than expected and leasing sluggish.

Nonetheless, with Thanksgiving approaching we asked some of the commercial real estate industry’s biggest names what they were thankful for this year,and their answers were far more positive than expected.

After the jump, a brief sampling of the responses, as told to Commercial Observer staff reporters Al Barbarino and Billy Gray.
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650 Fifth Avenue, A Building With Alleged Ties to Iranian Bank, Celebrates New Coming-Out Party

Brokers congregate over food and a cash prize at 650 Fifth Avenue

“This is a schlock fest.”

So sniffed one junior real estate broker last week, who was standing in a raw, white-washed space on the 29th floor of 650 Fifth Avenue. Formerly known as the Plaget Building, 650 Fifth Avenue now had an ownership group and a new leasing team that were both aggressive in their efforts to simultaneously lease space and erase any lasting impressions left by the building’s alleged ties to an Iranian bank.

The broker’s snarky critique was overheard as that person sipped from a complimentary martini glass filled with gazpacho, garnished with a singular shrimp. The marketing event was arranged in part by the new CBRE team that was hired this summer to lease out the 140,000 square feet of vacant space in the 36-story building. Read More

Persian Tug

Not deviating from Swiss stereotypes regarding any matter politically charged, Piaget SA, the maker of gold and diamond-encrusted watches, has disavowed any connection to the 36-story office tower that bears its name. “Piaget the brand is not affiliated with this,” said spokeswoman Karen Blum in an email—“this” referring to the address 650 Fifth Avenue.

The Read More

So Ahmadinejad’s Your Client …

What’s a broker to do when he finds himself in the pay of Tehran?

That’s the question now facing real estate brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle, following the revelation that a skyscraper in New York’s most exclusive office market belongs to a shell company that, in turn, belongs to the Iranian regime, according to a Nov. Read More

Outside Iran-Linked 650 Fifth, Just Another Rainy Day at the Office

On a dreary Friday morning at 650 Fifth Avenue, a day after the U.S. government announced it would seize the building because of ownership links to Iran, it was just another day at the office. Most employees who worked there had little reaction to the seizure, and no one reported anything unusual about the building. Read More