The Plan

The Plan: High 5 Games at 1 World Trade Center

Another of High 5 Games' conference rooms.

It definitely got the “high” part down when this company signed a lease on an upper floor at the World Trade Center.

High 5 Games, the New York-based casino gaming company, opened its new headquarters on the 58th and 59th floors of 1 World Trade Center on April 27, and the company wanted the inside of its new office to reflect its business. It is simultaneously a serious, corporate environment in a maximum-security building and a creative space rooted in recreation. Read More

Lease Beat

Facebook Continues Exponential NYC Growth with 80,000 SF Lease

770 Broadway.

Facebook, adding to its already-strong New York presence, has signed a lease for an additional 80,000 square feet at its Big Apple home at 770 Broadway in Greenwich Village.

Crain’s New York Business, which first reported the deal, said Facebook has taken the entire 15th floor of the property in a lease that expires in 2024. This brings its total floor space at the Vornado Realty Trust-owned building to 270,000 square feet. Facebook has been in the building since May 2013. Read More

Year in Real Estate

Spec No More: 51 Astor Lands First Tenant


Edward Minskoff was unfazed in April when he rather pointedly blamed the media for allegations that his “spec” office tower gamble at 51 Astor Place had backfired.

“These are words that are coming from media types that don’t understand our business, so they make assumptions—and by definition an assumption is not a statement of fact,” Read More

Stat of the Week

Soho, Noho Boast Lowest Availability Rate

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Which submarket out of the 17 submarkets tracked by Cassidy Turley claims the lowest availability rate through the first seven months of 2013?

Well, if you guessed the Soho/Noho/Village submarket, you would be correct! I have to admit, before I worked in Manhattan real estate, the only thing I knew about this area is that it was home to Little Italy, where I make it a point to attend the Feast of San Gennaro every September. But working in real estate, I had to learn more about this quirky neighborhood that has a mix of many different tenants, from artists and designers to tech and media. Read More


Vornado Rebounds with Positive Second Quarter


Vornado Realty Trust reported its second quarter results on Monday, with funds from operations up to $235.3 million, or $1.25 per diluted share, from $166.7 million, or $0.89 per diluted share, for the same period last year.

“It was a positive quarter,” Michael Knott, managing director at Green Street Advisors, told The Commercial Observer. “The first quarter was very noisy from an accounting standpoint.” Read More

Market Report

Class B Rents in Midtown South Surpass Midtown

770 Broadway

Demand for space in Midtown South, where the majority of properties are Class B, drove effective rent for buildings in that classification beyond Midtown in the second quarter, according to data from CompStak. Midtown South Class B effective rent was $46.67 per square foot for the quarter, while Midtown registered effective rent for Class B of $44.17.

Though availability is tight in the city’s hottest submarket, those companies that are able to find space are driving up rents–and there is no end in sight. Read More


The CompStak Office Index


Overall, Manhattan rents were flat in June after posting impressive increases through April and May. Midtown’s starting rent increases continued as several more leases for high-end office space were signed. Midtown South saw leasing activity and rents drop slightly—a normal occurrence in the month after a rare large Class A office lease is signed (Facebook at 770 Broadway). Downtown rents remained flat despite reasonable activity, posting a miniscule drop, which can be attributed to large blocks of space becoming available.

June’s largest office deals included Och-Ziff in the Solow Building, New York Media in Hudson Square, and New York County Health Services Review Organization in City Hall. Read More


The Return of the Mega Deal


Dominated last year by smaller middle-market transactions, New York’s investment sales market has welcomed the return of large institutional transactions in 2013, while leasing activity in the first half of the year also experienced positive year-over-year growth.

With 10 transactions in excess of $400 million under contract through the second quarter, 2013 is set to be the single most active year for large deals since the Great Recession began in early 2008, according to midyear statistics from Cushman & Wakefield. Read More

Market Report

Leasing Activity Up in May as Tech Firms Dominate

770 Broadway

Manhattan leasing activity was up 24 percent year-over-year in May to 2.08 million square feet, up from 1.68 million square feet in May 2012, according to CBRE’s latest Manhattan Marketview Snapshot. The three largest new leases were from tech firms, including Facebook’s new lease at 770 Broadway, the report noted.

Tech leasing was led by Yahoo!, which snapped up 176,201 square feet at 229 West 43rd Street, the former headquarters of The New York Times. Yahoo!’s lease led the Midtown market, where leasing was up 26 percent over the five-year average of 1.17 million square feet. Read More


Frank Gehry to Design Facebook’s New Offices at 770 Broadway

770 Broadway

A-list starchitect Frank Gehry will team up with Facebook on the design of the social media kingpin’s “big,” “open” and “cozy” new offices at 770 Broadway in New York.

Mr. Gehry is currently working with Facebook on the expansion of its Menlo Park, California headquarters. The 100,000-square-foot Village office will share certain elements–collaborative spaces, an uncluttered floor plan, an abundance of white boards and videoconferencing rooms–with the West Coast mothership but, per an announcement by Facebook’s New York engineering team site director Serkan Piantino, also “be distinctly Big Apple in design.” Read More

The Sit-Down

Master of His Domain: Edward Minskoff on 51 Astor

EJM press higher res.

Edward Minskoff has developed close to 37 million square feet of property in 10 cities around the country. His latest dive into Midtown South comes at 51 Astor Place, where a 13-story, 430,000-square-foot dark glass building will open next month, fueled by a red-hot office market and Mr. Minskoff’s personal faith that the neighborhood will Read More


The B Team: The Biggest Occupancy Shifts in Class B and Class A Buildings

CO 2-19 Postings

For the first time in recent history, the availability rate across Manhattan’s stock of Class B buildings is lower than that of their Class A counterparts, suggesting a flight to value, propelled in part by the latest wave of technology startups and media companies looking for affordable space. Indeed, at 10.6 percent, the current availability rate for Class B space is 170 basis points less than the Class A rate of 12.3 percent, according to Richard Persichetti of Cassidy Turley.

With Cassidy Turley’s help, The Commercial Observer decided to put a spotlight on some of the most dramatic occupancy shifts across Manhattan over the last three years. Read More