World Trade Center

PA to Vote on 1 WTC Pre-Built Expansion Wednesday

1 WTC pre-built space

The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey will vote on a proposal Wednesday to invest an additional $23.5 million into the Durst Organization‘s pre-built program for smaller office spaces at 1 World Trade Center, according to a board meeting agenda posted on the agency’s website last week.

The proposal would pay for one full additional floor of divided spaces under 20,000-square-feet plus multi-tenant renovations on 10 floors in the building with an octagonal floor plan and plates between 32,000 and 48,000 square feet, according to the agency. Recent leases for Cushman & Wakefield, the Westfield Corp., Legends Hospitality and BMB Group in spaces ranging from 2,191 square feet to 12,000 square feet show the success of the approach in the 3-million-square foot skyscraper, said Jordan Barowitz, Durst’s director of external affairs. Read More

Market Reports

First Three Quarters Outpace Entire Previous Year in Midtown South

Midtown South Map

Office leasing activity this year in the tight Midtown South market has already bested last year’s total by more than 2 million square feet, according to a new quarterly report released this morning by CBRE.

Transactions like Google’s 178,065-square-foot lease at 85 10th Avenue, Yelp’s 152,232-square-foot deal at 11 Madison Avenue and Squarespace’s 93,517-square-foot lease at 225 Varick Street have netted a year-to-date total of 5.16 million square feet for 2014 after last year’s leasing totaled only 3.06 million square feet in the market composed of six neighborhoods bounded by Chelsea and Madison Square on the north and Soho and Hudson Square on the south, the report says. Read More

Market Reports

Reports: Downtown Vacancy Rates Fall While WTC Rises

Downtown Vacancy

Downtown Manhattan’s vacancy rates decreased by more than three percentage points in the last year despite large amounts of space for tenants at the World Trade Center, according to new quarterly data released by JLL and other market observers.

Downtown’s overall vacancy rate dropped from 13.7 percent to 10.6 percent between the third quarter of 2013 and the third quarter of this year, while downtown Class A vacancies plummeted from 15.5 percent to 11.2 percent over the same period, according to the JLL report. The trend reflects the area’s growing appeal to tenants from the technology, advertising, media and information sector who are moving from other neighborhoods, said John Wheeler, the director of JLL’s downtown office. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Big Players Look to Acquire, Not Lend On, Asian Real Estate

Asian NPLs—more talk than actions

The Asian distressed market business might be the Godot of real estate finance. Investors and analysts seem to have been waiting endlessly for opportunities in non-performing loans and distressed debt. But waiting in vain, it would seem.

Appetite for Chinese and other Asian troubled assets is booming. So far this year, funds have raised over $2 billion to invest in Asian debt, up from $303 million in 2013, according to London-based researcher Preqin. According to survey from the firm, in February 2014, 17 percent of real estate investors based in North America focused on Asian investments, up from 9 percent in July 2013. Among European investors, 41 percent targeted these investments in February 2014, up from 18 percent the previous year. Read More

Lease Beat

Media Software Company To Open First NYC Office

292 Madison Avenue.

Media software platform ZEFR will open its first New York City office in Midtown East through a seven-year, 4,717-square-foot lease for a 15th floor office that includes a 3,600-square-foot wraparound terrace at Marciano Investment Group‘s 292 Madison AvenueCommercial Observer has learned.

The Venice, Calif.-based software providers that boast clients like YouTube, Saturday Night Live and Adidas will occupy a full floor in a pre-built space designed by architects from the Mufson Partnership with asking rents of $65 per square foot in the building on the corner of East 41st Street that already houses tech tenants like Raptor Trading, Exponential Interactive and Qliktech, said Harry F. Blair, an executive director at Cushman & Wakefield. Read More

Lease Beat

Cushman & Wakefield Opens Downtown HQ in 1 WTC

Base of One World Trade Center

Cushman & Wakefield, the exclusive leasing brokers for One World Trade Center, opened a downtown headquarters Monday through a 10-year, 10,222-square-foot lease on the 45th floor of 1 WTC, the firm announced yesterday.

The firm that maintains its global headquarters in Midtown now boasts an office footprint in space with asking rents of $69 per square foot that the company also markets on behalf of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Durst Organization. Read More

Lease Beat

Female-Focused Website Expanding from BK to Midtown South

158 West 27th Street

Female-oriented website Bustle will move its headquarters from a townhouse in Williamsburg to a 9,661-square-foot space on the whole 11th floor of Emmes Asset Management‘s 12-floor building in Midtown South at 158 West 27th Street through a 10-year lease on the property, the Wall Street Journal reported this morning.

The site that features news, entertainment, fashion and lifestyle reporting for women will now operate out of a building between Avenue of the Americas and Seventh Avenue where the owners ask rents running for $60 per square foot and offered up an available floor to the prospective tenants, said Ethan Silverstein of Cushman & Wakfield. Read More

Lease Beat

Jean Shop Moves Its Flagship Location to Soho

37 Crosby Street

Denim brand Jean Shop has moved its flagship location from the Meatpacking District to Soho through a 10-year, 1,400-square-foot lease on the ground and lower floor of Icon Realty Management‘s building at 37 Crosby Street, the Wall Street Journal reported this morning.

The denim brand’s retail, showroom and wholesale space will fit in on a stretch of the street between Broom Street and Grand Street that’s added several new occupants in recent years, said Gregory M. Tannor of Cushman & Wakefield. Read More

Real Estate and Politics

Cuomo Disclosures Don’t Turn Off Real Estate Contributors

Governor Andrew Cuomo

While The New York Times’ three-month probe of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the now-defunct Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption raised new questions about a matter that’s reportedly under investigation by federal prosecutors, the disclosures didn’t alter the governor’s fundraising ability among members of the city’s real estate elite, according to campaign finance records released last Friday.

The day after the Times story splashed across its front page, key personnel at Fisher Brothers and Cushman & Wakefield showered the governor’s campaign committee with sizable contributions, illustrating continued financial support for the governor whose strong lead in the polls hasn’t shrunk following the reports that he shielded allies from investigation. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Mortgage Data Points to Frothy Market, Heightening Fears of a Bubble

Timing is everything, in surfing and real estate.

Some say that cycles in real estate are inevitable, that the idea shouldn’t be to prevent them, but rather to enter the wave early enough to surf, so to speak. But whatever your thoughts on the market’s boom and bust, recent changes in the commercial mortgage market might give you pause. It may be time to stand up—or bail out.

Many statistics point to a drastic rise in land values in New York City, pushed at least partly by a flood of equity. That, in combination with more leverage and more building trades, indicates what brokers like to call “frothiness.”  Read More