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

The Sit-Down

Talking Towers, Cities and Teamwork With Josh Kuriloff of Cushman & Wakefield

Josh Kuriloff

Cushman & Wakefield Executive Vice Chairman Josh Kuriloff’s office at the company’s Midtown headquarters features several models of Chicago’s Willis Tower; pictures of the 28-year veteran C&W broker with Bill Clinton, George Pataki, Colin Powell and Magic Johnson; and a desk covered in piles of research reports and client files. Mr. Kuriloff, a 55-year-old married father of two, invited Commercial Observer to visit last week for a frank discussion of his work representing clients like the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Verizon and his thoroughly researched thoughts on the city’s future. Read More

Economic Studies

Report: DC Beats NYC in ‘Walkable Urban Spaces’

GWU report cover

Pedestrian-friendly suburbs surrounding the nation’s capital have given Washington, DC an advantage over New York City that should prove instructive to the Big Apple’s real estate industry professionals, according to a new study released in June by researchers at George Washington University School of Business called “Foot Traffic Ahead.”

While New York City boasts the most areas defined by a formula measuring what the report refers to as “regionally-significant, walkable urban places” with more than 1.4 million square feet of office space, over 340,000 square feet of retail space and high marks for the neighborhood’s use by walkers, a larger percentage of DC’s office and retail space rises up in so-called “WalkUPs,” offering developers in the area the opportunity to command higher relative rents outside the city’s center, said the head of the GWU Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis, former real estate developer Christopher Leinberger. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Square Mile Provides $25M Senior Loan on D.C. Office

Georgetown Plaza

New York-based JOSS Realty Partners received a $24.5 million senior mortgage loan from Square Mile Capital Management to revamp a recently purchased Washington, D.C. office asset, Mortgage Observer has first learned.

The three-year financing, with two one-year extension options, is backed by the five-story, 150,097-square-foot boutique office building Georgetown Plaza. Read More

Lease Beat

Designer Leads 10 New Deals in ESRT Portfolio

501 Seventh Avenue.

Empire State Realty Trust has leased over 40,000 square feet of space in three of its Manhattan office buildings to 10 new tenants, the real estate investment trust announced this week.

In the largest of the new deals, P. Devos Designs Inc. signed a 7,628-square-foot lease at 501 Seventh Avenue. The tenant, better known as fashion designer Pamella Roland, was represented by Steven Pressler of Coldwell Banker. The term of the deal was not disclosed. Read More

Sales Beat

SL Green to Sell Three Manhattan Assets

180 Broadway. (PropertyShark)

SL Green Realty Corp. has agreed to sell three of its Manhattan assets, the real estate investment trust announced today. The deals, for 2 Herald Square, 180 Broadway and 985-987 Third Avenue, will generate net cash proceeds of $240 million, according to a press release.

The REIT will sell the leased fee interest in 2 Herald Square for $365 million. SL Green acquired the interest in joint partnership in 2007 before consolidating its position in 2010, the landlord said. Read More

Power Broker

Down to a Science: John Cahill of Colliers International

John Cahill of Colliers. (Aaron Adler)

As the son of a doctor and a nurse, broker John Cahill may have been predestined to work in the medical field in one form or another. Fresh out of Syracuse University, the New York native first chose pharmaceutical sales as his field of choice.

Initially lacking the required experience, Mr. Cahill spent one year at ADP learning the ropes of a sales role and in the process picking up both his employer’s Rookie of the Year award and an expense-paid trip to Hawaii. Read More

Lease Beat

Urban Compass Signs Lease at RFR’s 90 Fifth Avenue

90 Fifth Avenue.

Tech-driven real estate brokerage Urban Compass has signed a new 25,000-square-foot lease at RFR Realty’s 90 Fifth Avenue, the landlord announced today.

The tenant will occupy space on the third and fourth floors of the building beginning late this year, RFR said in a press release. Urban Compass is currently headquartered at nearby 19 Union Square West and the company is expected to retain its 9,000-square-foot space there, according to The New York Post, which first reported the lease. Read More

Mortgage Observer

L&L, Prudential Score $98M to Reposition Chelsea Offices

511 West 25th Street

A joint venture of commercial landlord L&L Holding Co. and insurer Prudential received $98 million from the Aareal Bank Group, a German bank that specializes in real estate, to buy three Manhattan office and showroom buildings, Mortgage Observer has learned.

The J.V. paid $160 million for 511-514 West 25th Street, buildings with class-A office, retail and gallery property, according to records filed with the city. The west Chelsea buildings were on offer by the Related Companies, part of a group of properties that the company has been unloading as it liquidates a distressed property fund, as reported. Read More

Lease Beat

Jane Street Inks Brookfield Place Lease

250 Vesey Street.

Jane Street Capital has signed a 15-year lease for 114,000 square feet at 250 Vesey Street, sources confirmed with Commercial Observer.

The lease covers a portion of the fourth floor and the entire fifth and sixth floors of the building. The trading firm will relocate to Brookfield Place from One Liberty Plaza, another Brookfield property. Jane Street will pay rent in the mid-$50s per square foot, one source said. Read More

Lease Beat

Tech Firm Renews, Expands at Jamestown’s 1250 Broadway

1250 Broadway. (PropertyShark)

Varonis Systems has renewed its existing 15,356-square-foot lease at 1250 Broadway, according to landlord Jamestown. Concurrently, the business technology firm expanded its footprint in the building, signing a 10-year lease for 30,712 square feet on the 28th and 29th floors.

“Broadway between the Nomad District and Flatiron is quickly becoming a burgeoning and dynamic area for many tech, media and creative companies,” said Michael Phillips, the chief operating officer of Jamestown, in a prepared statement. “Varonis Systems expanding within 1250 Broadway further indicates that the NYC tech corridor is beginning to stretch north into Midtown.” Read More

New Developments

Nets to Build Training Center in Brooklyn

148 39th Street. (PropertyShark)

The Brooklyn Nets franchise has announced plans to build a 70,000-square-foot training center at 148 39th Street in Industry City.

The franchise plans to relocate its training center to the eighth floor of the building from East Rutherford, N.J. in time for the start of the 2015-16 NBA season. Located one subway stop from the Barclay’s Center, the MANICA Architecture-designed facility will include two basketball courts, a weight room, a training pool and two hydro pools, a rooftop entertainment space, an 18-seat multimedia theater and more. Read More