Mortgage Observer

Old New York: The Starrett-Lehigh Building

Starrett-Lehigh Building (Library of Congress)

A look at the history of the Starrett-Lehigh building, which traded last month in a massive sale from RXR Realty to Blackstone Group. The dazzling structure, first built to accommodate rail deliveries, has transformed throughout the years as it went from offering rents from $1 per square foot per year to trading for nearly $100 million. Read More


Companies Announce Key Hire, Promotion

Gene P. Spiegelman

Cushman & Wakefield and Equity Office announced that they’ve tapped experienced brokers for top positions as the International Council of Shopping Centers‘ New York City National Deal Making Convention moved into its second and last day.

C&W promoted Gene Spiegelman, a vice chairman of retail services, to head its North America Retail Services Group, while Equity Office picked Zachary Freeman, a CBRE broker who has represented the landlord since 2007, to be its vice president of leasing for New York City. Read More

Lease Beat

Whole Foods’ Bryant Park-Area Lease Revised, Enlarged

1095 Avenue of the Americas.

A week ago today, natural and organic foods grocery chain Whole Foods Market redid its lease, enlarging its footprint to 42,996 square feet, at a Bryant Park-area office tower, Commercial Observer has learned.

While Whole Foods signed a three-floor lease at the 42-story office building 1095 Avenue of the Americas about a year ago, last Friday’s hard contract added 6,000 square feet to the deal through a space reconfiguration, according to people with intimate knowledge of the deal. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Blackstone Refis Chicago Office to the Tune of $82M

444 North Michigan Avenue

HFF has arranged an $82.15 million refinancing for a 517,115-square-foot office property in Chicago, Mortgage Observer has exclusively learned. The building, at 444 North Michigan Avenue, is owned by GLL Real Estate Partners.

Working on behalf of Munich-based international real estate fund manager GLL, HFF sourced the floating-rate loan provided by Blackstone Mortgage Trust, a representative for the brokerage said Read More

Mortgage Observer

Colony Capital Offers $560M in Bonds Backed by Single-Family Rentals

Santa Monica, Calif.-based, privately held real estate investment firm Colony Capital has received preliminary ratings for its second offering of RMBS backed by single-family rentals, according to a pre-sale report from Morningstar Credit Ratings.

Colony American Homes 2014-2, a securitization of revenues from single-family homes Colony bought in recent years, will have a total issuance of $558.5 million, according to Morningstar. More than half the offering will be rated AAA and the LTV is 70 percent, the Morningstar report shows. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Meridian Secures $142M Loan For Southfield Town Center Buy

Southfield Town Center

Commercial developer, owner and manager 601 West Companies received a $142 million loan from Deutsche Bank to buy an office complex in Southfield, Mich., Mortgage Observer has first learned. The 10-year loan, which will be securitized, a source familiar with the transaction said, was for the $177.5 million purchase of Southfield Town Center, a 2.15-million square-foot, mixed-use center in the Detroit metropolitan area. Deutsche declined to comment. Read More

Lease Beat

Financial Firms Ink Full-Floor Deals at 1140 Avenue of the Americas

1140 Avenue of the Americas

Two financial services firms have signed 12,750-square-foot full-floor deals at 1140 Avenue of the Americas, The Commercial Observer has learned.

Trilogy Global Advisors will relocate from the Grace Building to the 18th floor of the Equity Office property. The tenant will pay rent starting at approximately $80 per square foot in a 10-year deal, according to data from CompStak.

Read More

Mortgage Observer

Experts: Commercial Real Estate Has Returned to 2007


It is hard to believe that it was just a few years ago—specifically in 2007—when a perfect storm of positive events was taking place in the financial and real estate markets. The S&P 500 reached record highs, CMBS transactions grew to nearly $770 billion, the Blackstone Group completed its $39 billion purchase of Equity Office Properties Trust and then sold eight buildings in the Equity Office portfolio to Harry Macklowe for $7 billion, foreign investors were purchasing commercial real estate at record levels and everyone was purchasing residential condominiums. In short, happy days were here again.

Read More

Mortgage Observer

From Construction to Refinancing, Capital for Hotels is Pouring In

Capital Flowing For Hotels

When New York’s largest independent hotel developer and owner, BD Hotels, began exploring sources of capital this year for its latest projects, the company’s co-founders decided to diversify their approach to construction financing due to a growing of number of potential lenders.

Richard Born and Ira Drukier, who partnered in 1986 and now own and operate 25 hotels in New York, including the Maritime Hotel in Chelsea and the Bowery Hotel in the East Village, are in talks with a foreign investor to provide secondary capital for an upcoming development in Midtown, while sticking with a traditional bank for their first construction loan. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Experts: Lots of Opportunities for U.S. Investors in European Debt

Southern Spain.

When comparing the re-emergence of Europe’s real estate market with how real estate has recovered in the United States, investors and analysts speaking to The Mortgage Observer often pointed out, to use a baseball metaphor, that Europe today is barely in the first inning. Of course, this metaphor would hardly be appreciated in Europe. Nonetheless, it is fitting, given that even overseas, the game is increasingly an all-American one. Read More

Lease Beat

iLevel Solutions Signs 11,000 SF Sublease at 2 Penn Plaza

(Credit: WiredNewYork)

iLevel Solutions has subleased an 11,000-square-foot portion of Forest Electric’s space on the fourth floor of 2 Penn Plaza, the companies announced this morning.

The deal represents the firm’s first foray into the New York City office market, a push to grow and expand beyond its second offices in New Jersey.

“iLevel Solutions needed more space for staff to develop innovative software and support top tier customers,” said Ted Rotante, an executive managing director with Colliers International, who represented Forest Electric with Ernest DeLucia and James Marcellino, in a prepared statement. “The iLevel team wanted office space consistent with a technology company culture while also affording a convenient commute.” Read More