Lease Beat

Memorial Sloan Kettering Inks 54,000SF Sublease at 485 Lexington Avenue

485 Lexington Avenue

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has signed a seven-year, 54,200-square-foot sublease with EdisonLearning, Inc. at 485 Lexington Avenue, Commercial Observer has learned.

MSKCC will occupy the second floor of the building and the lease will run through the end of EdisonLearning’s own sublease of the space, as EdisonLearning had subleased it from Advance Magazine Publishers for an 11-year term in 2009 after relocating from its previous offices at 521 Fifth Avenue.

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Sales Beat

Cohen Commercial Properties Acquires Bronx Retail Property for $11.425M

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Cohen Commercial Properties has acquired a 12,212-square-foot, two-tenant, retail property at 1800 Williamsbridge Road in the Bronx for $11.425 million, The Commercial Observer has learned.

“It is a conservative investment, but it’s in an area that currently and in the longer term is going to appreciate in value,” Andrew Cohen, chief executive officer at CCP, said of the acquisition. Read More

Lease Beat

Research Firm Cognolink Inks at 411 Fifth Avenue

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Cognolink has made another connection at 411 Fifth Avenue, a.k.a. The Fashion Accessories Center, where the firm has signed an eight-year, 5,600-square-foot lease, The Commercial Observer has learned.

The research firm, which connects business professionals across various industries, takes the 10th floor in the 11-story building as part of its expansion and relocation from its previous location just around the corner at 35 West 36th Street.

“They liked the neighborhood and they wanted to stay in the same location because it’s convenient to their employees,” said Evan Margolin of Studley, who represented the tenant and was promoted to senior managing director at the firm last summer, adding that the firm doubles its space with the transaction.  “It has a wide open loft-style feel – it’s open, bright and great for a collaborative environment.” Read More

Lawsuits

Solow Sues Banks over Manipulation of Libor

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7 West 57th Street Realty Co., a real estate company controlled by Sheldon Solow, filed a lawsuit in federal court yesterday against Citibank, Bank of America, Barclays, JPMorgan and a number of other banks for allegedly conspiring to manipulate the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor).

The complaint alleges the defendant banks’ conspiracy to manipulate Libor resulted in the seizure of Mr. Solow’s $450 million bond portfolio by Citibank. The portfolio was pledged as collateral for Libor denominated loans, the complaint says, and was comprised largely of high-grade municipal bonds. Subsequently, Solow was obligated to pay a $100 million judgment. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Deutsche Bank’s Rosemary Vrablic and Private Banking’s Link to CRE Finance

Rosemary Vrablic.

Got a chunk of change lying around? With a book of business north of $5.5 billion, Rosemary Vrablic, a managing director in the asset and wealth management division at Deutsche Bank, can help.
Private banking is loosely defined as personalized financial services offered by banks to their high-net-worth clients. And the top providers are largely holding steady, according to 2011 year-end results from U.K.-based private wealth management consultancy and research firm Scorpio Partnership. Read More

Sales Beat

Madison Capital and Institutional Owner Pay $80 M for Five Properties Across the Boroughs With Citibank Retail

181 Montague Street, Brooklyn Heights

A joint venture between Madison Capital and an institutional owner has purchased a portfolio of five Citibank retail bank branches across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx for $80.55 million.

A team from Newmark Grubb Knight Frank led by Kenneth Zakin arranged the sale and is exclusively marketing seller FGP West Street’s New York portfolio of 18 Citibank-leased properties purchased from Citibank in 2007.

“We are thrilled to complete the sale of this core group of properties, which consisted of the most valuable assets in the entire portfolio,” said Mr. Zakin, who brokered the transaction with Randall Liberman and Hymie Dweck, adding that Madison Capital solidified the deal following a competitive bidding process.  “Madison Capital stepped up and submitted an aggressive bid for the five-property portfolio.” Read More

Sales Beat

Harbor Group International Takes Two Manhattan Properties for $20.3M Amid Emmes Asset Management Selloff

1420 Broadway

Harbor Group International has closed on the acquisition of 1420 Broadway and 246-248 West 125th Street for a combined $20.3 million.

The first building is located adjacent to the firm’s New York headquarters at 1412 Broadway, owned by an HGI affiliate, and the latter lies amid Harlem’s burgeoning retail sector.

The property at 1420 Broadway is a three-story, 7,200-square-foot building constructed in 1911 and located between the Times Square and 34th Street retail corridors. Read More

Lease Beat

Financial Protection Bureau Signs First New York Lease At 2 Grand Central Tower

2 GCT

The Financial Protection Bureau established its first New York outpost by signing a 21,000-square-foot lease at 2 Grand Central Tower. The bureau will occupy part of the third floor and the entire fourth floor at the Midtown building purchased last year by Rockwood Capital. The 10-year lease was done for rents around $50 per square foot. Paul Amrich, Vice Chairman in CBRE‘s Brokerage Services Group, led a team representing the landlord. David Leest, a broker with Brody Realty Corp., represented the bureau.

The regulatory agency was established last year as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act, legislation passed to guard consumers in the wake of the financial crisis and Great Recession. The bureau sought a space that would place it near the financial services companies it works with–the headquarters of Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank and Wells Fargo are within a few blocks of 2 Grand Central Tower, on 45th Street between Lexington and Third Avenues. Read More

Midtown

The Incredible Shrinking Tenant

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Earlier this year, approximately 150,000 square feet opened at the Midtown office tower 399 Park Avenue when the law firm WilmerHale, a tenant in the building, left to relocate to Lower Manhattan.

The property, a 1.75-million-square-foot skyscraper owned by the large commercial owner Boston Properties, is home to the global headquarters of Citibank and is widely considered one of the finest office buildings along Park Avenue, an exclusive and highly desirable corridor in Midtown.

Boston Properties had found takers for the building even in the worst of times, filling the few hundred thousand square feet that suddenly became available in 2008 when Lehman Brothers, a former tenant, collapsed and sparked the financial crisis.

Fast-forward to 2012, a market several years removed from the depths of the recession, and this time around, Boston Properties wasn’t taking any chances. According to the leasing agent at the property, Peter Turchin, an executive at the real estate services firm CBRE, Boston Properties quickly switched to the leasing strategy du jour: finding takers for the space one floor at a time rather than waiting for one big user to fill a large portion or all of the space. Read More

The Lawyers You Call

The Upheaval of Sheldon Solow

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A real estate executive who was formerly one of the top officers in the real estate empire of billionaire owner and developer Sheldon Solow has filed what is likely to be a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Mr. Solow for unpaid retirement funds, The Commercial Observer has learned.

Steven Cherniak worked with Mr. Solow for 26 years before abruptly leaving Mr. Solow’s firm, Solow Realty and Development Company, in 2008. In a case filed in U.S. District Court on July 19, Mr. Cherniak alleges Mr. Solow dismissed him without cause and didn’t pay him a previously agreed-upon retirement package. Read More