Construction Finance

Wells Fargo, Citibank Loan $250M for Construction at Essex Crossing

A rendering of Essex Crossing.

Delancey Street Associates, the joint venture developing Essex Crossing, is about to get one of its biggest construction deliveries: a truck full of cash.

L+M Development Partners, BFC Partners and Taconic Investment Partners received more than $250 million in construction financing on Tuesday for their 1.9-million-square-foot mixed-use project on the Lower East Side, Commercial Observer has learned. Read More

ICSC 2015

Empire Outlets Developer Amping Up Amenities

Rendering of Empire Outlets in Staten Island.

BFC Partners may have just broken ground on the 340,0000-square-foot Staten Island retail complex Empire Outlets in April, but the developer is already lining up service packages for its future shoppers, Commercial Observer has learned.

Bags Inc., which has a service partnership with the Walt Disney World Resort, has partnered with Empire Outlets to provide professional concierge agents for the mall’s guest services kiosks. The agents will do the following: currency exchange, stroller rentals, shipping and package storage, according to information provided by BFC’s spokeswoman. Read More

ICSC 2015

Asian-Fusion Restaurant Signs Lease at SI’s Empire Outlets


Yong Kang Street, an eatery featuring a mix of Chinese, Japanese and traditional Taiwanese cuisine, has signed a lease for 3,500 square feet at the Empire Outlets on Staten Island, according to a press release issued by BFC Partners, the developer of the outdoor mall.

Yong Kang Street will open in late 2016, the release noted, and will be one of the roughly 100 shops to open at that time at the 1-million-square-foot development which will include a hotel, 12 restaurant concepts and a parking garage. Read More


VIDEO: Empire Outlets Strikes Back

Rendering of Empire Outlets

A glossy new video foretells the end of what’s known as the Staten Island Shuffle.

Sightseers who ride the Staten Island Ferry will stop in their tracks before riding back to Manhattan once BFC Partners completes its 1.1-million-square-foot Empire Outlets project and Richard A. Marin‘s New York Wheel rises higher than any ferris wheel in the world from Staten Island’s St. George waterfront, according to the two-minute video by Neoscape that BFC released yesterday. Read More

Cover Story, Feature

Sky-High Ferris Wheel, Massive Outlet Stand to Transform SI

The New York Wheel. (NYCEDC)

Every year some 2 million tourists ride the Staten Island Ferry to get a better look at the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the New York City skyline. Yet the vast majority of those sightseers spend little time on Staten Island itself, preferring instead to do the “Staten Island shuffle” and mill about the ferry terminal before catching the next boat back to Manhattan.

A group of investors are betting big that those travelers—and New Yorkers from the other boroughs—can be persuaded to extend their stays on the island’s North Shore. From the city’s first outlet mall to the world’s tallest observation wheel, ambitious plans are in the works to make the “forgotten borough” a destination all its own.  Read More

1000 Dean Street

Brownstoner and Partners Open Renovated 1000 Dean Street [Updated]

Ribbon Cutting

Brownstoner Media, BFC Partners and the Goldman Sachs urban investment group opened a 150,000-square-foot gut renovated office warehouse at a ribbon cutting ceremony at 1000 Dean Street in Crown Heights this morning.

The roughly $19 million facelift at the four-story former storage facility at an old Studebaker service station has flipped a building Brownstoner founder Jonathan Butler says he and his backers purchased for $11 million in March 2012, as Commercial Observer reported in February. Read More

The Sit-Down

Jewel in the Crown: Brownstoner’s Jonathan Butler Invests in BK


After establishing and the Brooklyn Flea, Jonathan Butler has expanded his Brooklyn empire into brick and mortar, acquiring 1000 Dean Street in a joint venture with BFC Partners and the Goldman Sachs urban investment group. The 140,000-square-foot commercial building in Crown Heights will open for occupancy on October 1 and is expected to welcome a mixture of artists, technology firms and nonprofits, offering lower-cost office space for Brooklyn’s entrepreneurial class. Mr. Butler spoke with The Commercial Observer outside his office in Dumbo last week, offering insight into his motivation for acquiring the property and his vision for the future. Read More

New Developments

Empire Outlets and $300 M. Wheel Begin City’s ULURP Process


Staten Island’s proposed Empire Outlets development project – and an accompanying 600-foot, $300 million ferris wheel – entered into the city’s six-month Universal Land Use Review Procedure yesterday.

If the zoning changes and special permits required for the construction of the development (and the giant wheel) are granted upon completion of the review, Brooklyn-based developer Read More

Lease Beat

Demolished Dive Mars Bar Could Return


A third wave of mourning for dear departed dive Mars Bar crested yesterday when news broke that TD Bank had signed a lease at the former site of the punk-drunk-artist-squatter-hanger on haunt whose closure and demolition in 2011 was seen by many as (yet another) nail in the once-scruffy East Village’s burnished coffin.

Now, a source familiar with the deal tells us that the lease includes a second retail space whose future tenant could assume the notorious Mars Bar’s trade name and liquor license. The development company BFC Partners reached an agreement with the Mars Bar crew that would allow the next commercial tenant to occupy a 4,456-square-foot basement and ground floor space under the proud, stubborn  and–who knew?–business-minded Mars Bar auspices. Read More