The Sit-Down

Gale Brewer and the Battle Against 7-Eleven

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer in her 1 Centre Street office.

Gale Brewer has lived on the Upper West Side since 1970. She served as the area’s City Council member for 12 years, concluding at the end of 2013, before starting as the 27th Manhattan borough president. Ms. Brewer, who plans to open a ground-floor district office on West 125th Street, joined with city preservationists earlier this month to call for reforms to the landmarking process following the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s refusal to consider landmark status for the Rizzoli Bookstore building at 31 West 57th Street. As Manhattan Beep, Ms. Brewer is tasked with advising the mayor and City Council on borough concerns, providing feedback on all land-use matters, advocating for New York County in the municipal budget process and appointing members of the 12 community boards. Ms. Brewer successfully advocated for the passage of legislation while in the City Council that would compel landlords to fix repeat violations as well as a law that requires all city data be published online. In February, Commercial Observer chatted with Ms. Brewer in her office at 1 Centre Street about adjusting to her new position, her beef with 7-Elevens and the easiest and most challenging developers to work with. Read More

1 WTC

Top 1WTC Security Officer Resigns

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The Durst Organization is reportedly looking for a successor to replace a top security official who resigned following a series of incidents that exposed seemingly gaping holes in security at 1 World Trade Center.

David Velazquez, assistant security director at the site, will not leave the firm until The Durst Organization has found a replacement. Read More

Lease Beat

Mezzogiorno Brothers Opening Sister Restaurant Near Columbia

2791 Broadway

The owners of Soho Italian eatery Mezzogiorno are going to be opening an Italian restaurant uptown late this summer, in what the lone broker in the deal called “more of this uptown march of downtown restaurants,” Commercial Observer has learned.

The broker, Rafe Evans of Walker, Malloy & Company, said as of now there is no Italian restaurant north of 103rd Street on Broadway. Read More

On the Market

Real Estate Entrepreneur Seeks “Really Nice” Girl

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Jeremy Cooper of Cooper & Cooper Real Estate is on the market.

The 41-year-old real estate entrepreneur – a fisherman, pilot, former semi-pro football player and meteorologist – is seeking his “bashart,” The single Mr. Cooper wants a woman who accepts him, with similar family values, who doesn’t “prevent me from doing the things I Read More

Sales Beat

Two Harlem Development Sites Sell for $6.6 Million, Hotel Could Rise

Credit: ABS

ABS Partners Real Estate announced yesterday that it had closed the sale of two Harlem development sites in a $6.6 million transaction. The sites are located at 412-422 and 423-429 West 126th Street, and both were rezoned under the recent West Harlem Rezoning Initiative.

Steven Hornstock and Justin Strizzi led an ABS team that represented the seller and buyer, a New York-based Chinese development company. Alan Cohen and Adam Maxson of ABS also worked closely on the deal. Read More

Birthday Wishes

Happy Birthday I.M. Pei: Oldest Living Pritzker Prize Winner Turns 96 Today

I.M. Pei Headshot

The oldest living Pritzker Prize winner turns 96 today.

Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei will celebrate his 96th birthday with a “small, intimate affair,” his family relayed to The Commercial Observer.

During his six-decade career, Mr. Pei created iconic structures across the world, including the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City and the pyramid entrance Read More

Lease Beat

Legacy Builders Takes Space at 519 Eighth Avenue

519 8th

The Kaufman Organization’s building at 519 Eighth Avenue is now 100-percent occupied after Legacy Builders inked an 11-year lease for 9,020 square feet at the property, Barbara Raskob, leasing director at Kaufman, told The Commercial Observer.  Asking rents were $34 per square foot.

The tenant, a contractor, will renovate the space to include offices and conference rooms, according to Ms. Raskob. “They needed more space than what they had,” she said. “They wanted the ability to build their own space, since it will serve as a sort of showroom for them.”

The building at 519 Eighth Avenue totals 355,000 square feet over 26 floors and was completed in 1927. The typical floor size is 16,000 square feet, according to the Kaufman Organization. Read More

Assignments

Columbia Hires Winick Team to Market Rare Retail Space Near Seinfeld Diner

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Columbia University has hired a team from Winick Realty Group to market 1,690 square feet of retail space at 2884 Broadway, The Commercial Observer has learned.

Winick Executive Vice President Kenneth Hochhauser, Director Michael Gleicher and associate David Lawford will represent the Ivy League University as it seeks a retail tenant to replace Card-O-Matic, a stationery and novelty shop. The lot, with 1,240 square feet of ground floor and 450 square feet of basement space, is on Broadway between 112th and 113th Streets, near the campus’s main entrance gate.

It’s also two doors down from Tom’s Restaurant, the greasy spoon made famous when Seinfeld used its wraparound neon sign in exterior shots. Read More

Sales Beat

Marcus & Millichap Arranges $8.9 M Sale of Washington Heights Building Near Medical Community Epicenter

1090 St. Nicholas Avenue

Marcus & Millichap has arranged the $8.9 million sale of a six-story, 42-unit elevator building at 1090 St. Nicholas Avenue in Washington Heights, positioned in a pocket of the neighborhood anchored by a number of medical institutions.

The buyer, an undisclosed local investment firm, will continue to run the residential, mostly rent stabilized apartments and retains the Metropolitan Center for Mental Health as a tenant in the basement-level commercial space. Read More

Manhattan Market Report

Education Sector’s Manhattan Office Space Surges With Monster Deals and Expansions

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Though it still makes up just two percent of the Manhattan office market’s total inventory, a number of significant deals have caused a surge in the education sector’s Manhattan footprint.

A report from CBRE attributes the 47 percent jump in office space leased by the sector – between 2005 and November 2012 – to a growing residential population, increases in enrollment at universities, campus expansions, greater availability and lower asking rents in sections of Midtown South and Downtown. Read More

Sales Beat

Treetop Development Pays $8.8 Million for Two West Harlem Properties

220-226 West 116th Street

Newark, N.J.-based Treetop Development has closed on two West Harlem walk-up properties for $8.8 million.

The 5-story buildings at 220-226 West 116th Street and 449 West 125th Street, which make up a total of 52 two- and three-bedroom apartments and seven retail stores, are part of a continued push by the company to acquire properties in under-served Manhattan neighborhoods.

In the area north of 96th Street and up to 135th Street on the west side, rents are still relatively affordable, new projects and retail hubs are sprouting, and there’s access to transportation and universities, said Adam Mermelstein, Treetop’s managing founder along with  Azi Mandel. Read More