Mortgage Observer

C&W to Buy Massey Knakal For $100M: Source [Updated]

Cushman & Wakefield is rumored to be close to purchasing investment sales and mortgage brokerage Massey Knakal Realty Services in its entirety for $100 million. A source with knowledge of the deal said the purchase should close on New Year’s Eve.

New York-based Massey Knakal had hired financial services firm Perella Weinberg Partners to sell either a 49 percent stake in it or the entire firm last month, according to previous reports. Read More

Lease Beat

WeWork Books 12th NYC Location

205 East 42nd Street

Office space provider WeWork signed a 15-year, 125,000-square-foot lease at the Durst Organization‘s 205 East 42nd Street in Midtown East, the Durst Organization announced today.

The new deal gives the growing workspace-renting company its 12th location in the city, with a 13th set to open in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood soon. WeWork took seven floors, including the 21st-story penthouse, at the East 42nd Street property that carried asking rents of $58 per square foot, according to Crain’s New York Business, which first reported the deal. Read More

Lease Beat

Retirement Planners on the Move in FiDi

40 Wall Street

Retirement plan management firm Cammack Retirement Group will relocate its Financial District headquarters in the spring of 2015 through a 15-year, full-floor lease at the Trump Organization‘s 40 Wall Street, brokers involved with the deal announced yesterday.

The firm that manages or consults on assets worth over $67 billion collectively, according to its website, will move from 2 Rector Street to a 9,248-square-foot space on the 56th floor, officials with Savills Studley said. Read More

Lease Beat

Urban Compass Doubles its Space in the Flatiron District

90 Fifth Avenue

Technology-centered residential real estate brokerage Urban Compass has doubled its floors and square footage at RFR Realty‘s 90 Fifth Avenue after officials at Urban Compass discovered that the 25,000 square feet it leased this past summer wouldn’t suffice for its growing staff.

The company’s previous lease covered spaces on the third and fourth floors of the 140,000-square-foot building between West 14th and West 15th Streets, but the new deal will extend the company’s space to the fifth and sixth floors and grow its footprint onsite by an additional 25,000 square feet once Urban Compass starts moving into the space in December, RFR officials said. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Brokers and Lenders on the Rise

25 Photos

25 under 35 MO26

What is an industry without a promising crop of rising stars? While commercial real estate lending is often cast as a rigid establishment of older gentlemen, a number of dynamic young brokers are making their name across the East Coast—and giving their more senior counterparts a run for their money. Read More

Lease Beat

Small Biz Lender Subleases in Chelsea

333 Seventh Avenue

Small business loan provider QuarterSpot has moved from the Financial District to Chelsea through an 18-month, 3,844-square-foot sublease at Samco Properties‘ 333 Seventh Avenue, Commercial Observer has learned.

The company has taken over space that the nonprofit Human Rights First organization vacated late this summer, grabbing a portion of the 14th floor of the property where asking rents ran for $30 per square foot, said Gabe Whitman, a former Cushman & Wakefield broker who started his own eponymous tenant brokerage in May. Read More

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