Power Player

Talking SHoP: Gregg Pasquarelli on His Projects Changing the Fabric of NYC

Gregg Pasquarelli of SHoP Architects. (image: Arman Dzidzovic/Commercial Observer)

In 2005, Larry Bijou, the managing director of Bijou Properties based in New Jersey, was looking for an architect to redesign the Philippine Desiccated Coconut Building in Hoboken. Mr. Bijou was a young developer at the time, and was searching for an architect who could deliver a product similar to the Tribeca lofts that sat across the Hudson River from the site. Though he interviewed a number of teams for the project, he ultimately landed on SHoP, the New York-based architecture firm led by Gregg Pasquarelli and five other principals. Mr. Pasquarelli took the lead on the development, which called for converting the five-story, 35,400-square-foot former coconut warehouse into luxury condominiums.

But he did it with style—an eye for co-mingling the historic and the contemporary. Read More

On the Market

Clinton Hill Loft Hits Market for $12M, Nearly Five Times Its Last Sales Price

25 Lexington Avenue

The owner of a vacant loft building in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn hopes to sell the property for $12 million after purchasing it for $2.5 million five years ago, Commercial Observer has learned.

TerraCRG is marketing the five-story building at 25-27 Lexington Avenue between Grand and Classon Avenues with approved plans in place to convert the empty building into a 23-unit, 30,024-square-foot luxury residential building, said Melissa Warren, a partner at the firm. The neighborhood marked by the Pratt Institute to the north and Barclays Center to the west will warrant the near-fivefold sales price increase, she said. Read More

Brooklyn Issue

Two Years After the Barclays Center Opened, Which Local Businesses Have Won and Lost?

Barclays Center

When the Barclays Center opened in Downtown Brooklyn two years ago, some thought the arena would reinvigorate a section of the borough that had yet to capitalize on its potential, while others believed the neighborhood’s small businesses would meet their demise.

As the arena prepares to celebrate its second anniversary and host an expected 300 events annually, the impact it has had on small businesses appears to be mixed. Some of the stores that survived the seismic shift brought by the 18,000-seat venue report an uptick in patronage, while others remain unaffected. Read More


Chinatown Hotel Market Thriving

Hotel 91 on East Broadway

In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks on Sept.11, 2001, Chinatown was floundering. Only 10 blocks from ground zero, the immigrant enclave was without telephone service or public transportation. Thousands of residents were out of work and garment factories, once a critical component of the local economy, shut their doors. There was grave concern that the area, like rest of Lower Manhattan, would be unable to recover.

Yet today, Chinatown is experiencing a boom in hotel development that would have been unfathomable 13 years ago. A host of factors have contributed to this development, including the neighborhood’s proximity to popular tourist attractions, including Soho, the 9/11 Memorial and nightlife hotspots on the Lower East Side, and the dearth of rooms available in the five boroughs for Gotham’s 55 million annual visitors. Read More

Art in Real Estate

Pulitzer Poet Immortalizes Atlantic Avenue, Talks Brooklyn Development

3 Sections

Carroll Gardens scribe Vijay Seshadri, the 2014 winner of the Pulitzer Prize in poetry, took home the honor this spring after devoting a 16-page poem to thoughts evoked by his taxi rides along Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue to John F. Kennedy Airport, and the chair of the writing program at Sarah Lawrence College recently took time to explain his mixed views of the street and its continuing development in an exclusive email interview with Commercial Observer.

The 60-year-old married father of one’s “3 Sections,” published by Graywolf Press, features a poem called “Personal Essay” that portrays the busy corridor which runs from the Brooklyn waterfront, past the new Barclays Center and into Queens before terminating at the Van Wyck Expressway as a Walt Whitman-inspired launching pad for existential questions and, in the poet’s words, a “redemptive movement.” Read More

New Developments

Nets to Build Training Center in Brooklyn

148 39th Street. (PropertyShark)

The Brooklyn Nets franchise has announced plans to build a 70,000-square-foot training center at 148 39th Street in Industry City.

The franchise plans to relocate its training center to the eighth floor of the building from East Rutherford, N.J. in time for the start of the 2015-16 NBA season. Located one subway stop from the Barclay’s Center, the MANICA Architecture-designed facility will include two basketball courts, a weight room, a training pool and two hydro pools, a rooftop entertainment space, an 18-seat multimedia theater and more. Read More

TerraCRG’s Ofer Cohen on Brooklyn Rezoning, Retail and a Revitalized Condo Market [Updated]

Ofer Cohen

Ofer Cohen, the president of TerraCRG, founded the Brooklyn-focused commercial brokerage and advisory firm in 2008 after a stint as a broker at Massey Knakal Realty Services preceded by time as a partner in a boutique marketing agency. TerraCRG seals roughly 70 deals per year. The firm recently closed the sales of four multifamily buildings in Park Slope and Carroll Gardens for a collective $12.5 million and inked a lease to bring the first Doughnut Plant bakery to the borough in Prospect Heights. Mr. Cohen invited Commercial Observer to the company’s office that sits opposite the Barclays Center to dish on the Brooklyn market, contextual rezoning and military discipline. Read More

Lease Beat

Sugar Factory Signs Sweet Deal at Barclays Center

Barclays Center.

Come September, Barclays Center will be home to New York City’s second Sugar Factory. The Las Vegas-based cafe and sweetery chain signed a lease on May 15 for 4,000 square feet on the ground floor of the arena, Commercial Observer has learned.

The asking rent in the 15-year deal at the major sports and entertainment venue, at 620 Atlantic Avenue, was $200 per foot, a source with knowledge of the deal said. Read More


Ace Hotel Likely Coming to Downtown Brooklyn

Ace Hotel New York. (Ace Hotel New York website)

GFI Capital Resources is close to sealing a deal with the Ace Hotel to open a new lodge under its brand a few blocks away from the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, Commercial Observer has learned.

Allen Gross, president and CEO of GFI Capital Resources, has nabbed a number of parcels on Bond Street, at the corner of Schermerhorn Street, in an off-market deal, and hopes to bring a trendy Ace Hotel to the site, sources with knowledge of the deal told CO. His equity partner in the deal was Spruce Capital, which now owns a majority stake in the development site. Read More


Forest City Ratner Eyes Sale of Nets Stake

Barclays Center.

Forest City Ratner Companies has hired Evercore Partners to advise the developer on the sale of its 20-percent stake in the Brooklyn Nets basketball franchise, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

The company and a group of investors acquired the team for $300 million in 2004 when the Nets were based in New Jersey. The acquisition played an integral role in bringing the Nets to Brooklyn and the Barclays Center arena, the focal point of Forest City Ratner’s Atlantic Yards development. Read More

On the Market

Mixed-Use Property Near Barclays Center Hits Market at $8M

260 Flatbush Avenue

A Park Slope mixed-use property three blocks from Barclays Center has come on the market for $8 million, Commercial Observer has learned.

The residential and retail property, at 260 Flatbush Avenue, also known as 89-91 Prospect Place, is being exclusively marketed by Eastern Consolidated. The buyer can erect a seven-story addition on top of the existing 3,975-square-foot, one-story structure. Read More

Barclays Center

Barclays Center Soundproofed Before The Ozzman Cometh

Vocalist Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath will play a newly dampened Barclay's Arena next month. (Credit: virginmedia.com)

Particularly loud acts visiting the Barclays Center in Brooklyn will be asked to keep the noise down despite the recent installation of 1,800 insulated ceiling panels meant to keep sound from escaping the arena and into the rattled ears of fed up neighbors. 

The installation of the ceiling panels, first reported in atlanticyardsreport.com, followed a string of noise complaints by disgruntled neighbors which in May of last year led to a $3,200 noise violation fine.

Read More

Brooklyn Beat

The 2013 Downtown Brooklyn “Well Done” Awards

First up is the Barclays Center–from the shockingly improved traffic situation at Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues to the friendly staff, the Barclays success heralds much more to come for Brooklyn.

Almost all urban arenas are lit up like huge tacky artificial fireplaces–not this place. The gorgeous Cor-Ten type steel is a low-key presence compared to Read More

The Sit-Down

Tucker Reed Won’t Sleep Until Downtown Brooklyn Becomes a 24/7 Community

Tucker Reed, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership

Tucker Reed is sweet on Brooklyn—big time. A resident of Prospect Heights who enjoys frequenting the Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Mr. Reed is a champion of the city’s most populous borough. He is a ball of energy as he talks about all of the work the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership has done with him as president for the past two years, from supporting the technology sector with the Brooklyn Tech Triangle Coalition to establishing Downtown Brooklyn as New York City’s college town. About a year after Commercial Observer conducted the Sit-Down interview with Mr. Tucker, we wanted to check in and see how the nonprofit has been doing with the reinvention of Downtown Brooklyn. Read More