Lease Beat

Birch Coffee Takes Space at 8 Spruce Street

8 Spruce Street.

Birch Coffee fans will get their java on in Lower Manhattan at 8 Spruce Street by the end of the year, Commercial Observer has learned.

For its seventh location, Manhattan-based Birch Coffee, which serves coffee, tea, food, beer and wine, signed a 10-year lease for the entire 904-square-foot retail space at the 76-story, 904-unit residential New York By Gehry Building between Nassau and William Streets, Birch Coffee’s broker said. The asking rent was $125 per square foot. 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

Lease Beat

EverBank Inks Valley National Sublease at TIAA-CREF’s 780 Third Avenue

780 Third Avenue

Jacksonville, Florida-based EverBank has inked a 5,118 square feet sublease at its first New York location at 780 Third Avenue in Midtown East, The Commercial Observer has learned.

The sublease from Valley National Bank is for part of the 16th floor, which was already built out and designed for the needs of a bank, making for a perfect match.

“We acted immediately when we found out that Valley National was offering space at this location,” said CBRE’s Arkady Smolyansky, who represented EverBank with Gerry Miovski and Oliver Barakat, who works out of CBRE’s Florida offices.  “The space at 780 Third Avenue was already built and furnished, allowing us to get EverBank a great space quickly and with minimum up-front capital expenses.  It made a lot of sense.” Read More

The Lobby

Forest City Ratner Confirms Succession Plans

MaryAnne Gilmartin

Forest City Ratner Companies today confirmed what has long been understood in New York real estate circles: MaryAnne Gilmartin will succeed Bruce Ratner as president and chief executive officer of the development company.

Mr. Ratner, 68, will serve as the executive chairman of FCRC, stepping aside so that Ms. Gilmartin, executive vice president of commercial and residential development, can take over.

“I’m exhilarated by the notion of being able to partner with Bruce going forward, but I know business,” Ms. Gilmartin told The Commercial Observer in a telephone interview. “I am a developer at heart so Bruce and I are like-minded in terms of the importance of civic building and community and how we create great places.” Read More


Head of the Class: Teachers Retirement Fund TIAA-CREF Making Waves in New York

8 Spruce Street

Though not a traditional owner-operator, TIAA-CREF has begun to draw the attention of the real estate industry in recent months for a bevy of deals, including its acquisition of a stake in the Frank Gehry-designed building at 8 Spruce Street and a joint venture with Norges Bank Investment Management.

The asset management firm’s steady persistence in the real estate market during the downturn has led to a realization of gains, and recent deals could lead to the redeployment of capital in key markets going forward, said analysts familiar with the firm’s strategy going into 2013.

“TIAA is one of the investors that was pretty active in the depths of the market in 2009 and 2010, and some of those investments have turned into significant home runs,” said Dan Fasulo, managing director and head of research at Real Capital Analytics. Read More

The Sit-Down

Cushman Retail Team Bullish on Lower Manhattan Leasing


The list of luxury retailers jockeying for space in Lower Manhattan the past several years, particularly along Wall Street, has been impossible to miss. The same holds true for investment in residential in the area, with Rose Associates taking on the former AIG headquarters at 70 Pine Street, 8 Spruce Street standing tall and the upper floors of the Woolworth Building even potentially on the verge of being transformed into luxury condos. All signs point to retail having a moment. Sensing the trend three and a half years ago, a team from Cushman & Wakefield installed itself in the middle of it all. Senior Directors Michael Stone and David Tricarico and Senior Associate Carl Wunderlich spoke to The Commercial Observer last week from their office at 100 Wall Street.

The Commercial Observer: Can you tell me a little bit about the retail team here?
Mr. Stone: We’ve been with Cushman & Wakefield a little over seven years, our team. About three and a half years ago, we were asked if we wanted to come down to the Wall Street office and establish a retail presence in our Lower Manhattan office. We have a strong office leasing component down here, and they’ve traditionally, for the past 40 or 50 years, dominated office leasing in Lower Manhattan, and we thought, based upon the fact that high-end retail deals were starting to get done on Wall Street and Broad Street, that it was a good idea for one of the big firms—and ours especially—to move a team down here. So we decided, because our practice area is really throughout the city, and we need some mobility and flexibility, that it was a good idea to assist the company in expanding retail. Read More