Furman Center: Resilience Requirements Ensnare Multifamily Owners

NYU Workshop

Building requirements for better flood protections have presented owners and managers of more than 1,500 buildings with 90,000 units of public, subsidized or rent-stabilized housing with a dilemma: either pay high insurance premiums or pay high costs to lower them, according to a report called “The Price of Resilience: Can Multifamily Afford to Adapt?” released Wednesday by the NYU Furman Center.

The real estate and planning policy research organization collaborated with industry leaders, nonprofit organizations and government officials to explore the complex obligations that can leave many owners with no way to pay the bills besides switching to market-rate as they grapple with requirements crafted for single-family homes. Read More

Post-Tropical Storm Sandy

Building Congress to Propose New Post-Sandy Storm Regulations


The New York Building Congress will issue a series of recommendations today that would go “a long way” toward mitigating the risk associated with future storms like Hurricane Sandy.

A task force made up of 43 local experts found that insufficient power and telecommunications reliability, “uneven emergency response,” vulnerable infrastructure and antiquated building systems contributed Read More

Lease Beat

Brooklyn-Based Medical Practice Expands to Forest Hills Tower in Queens


Central Medical Services of Westrock, a medical practice specializing in workers’ compensation cases, has signed a 10-year, 4,150-square-foot lease on the ninth floor of Forest Hills Tower in Forest Hills, Queens, The Commercial Observer has learned. Asking rent for the building is in the mid-$30s per square foot.

CMSW will occupy the space in the Muss Development property at 118-35 Queens Boulevard beginning in May. The practice is headquartered in Brooklyn with satellite offices in Jamaica, the Bronx, Syosset and White Plains. Read More

The Sit-Down

The Auditor You Call: Stephanie Urbanski of Ernst & Young

Urbanski, Stephanie_7875 BW

Stephanie Urbanski is the global real estate sector resident and assurance senior manager at Ernst & Young. Boasting a decade of experience at the Big Four firm, Ms. Urbanski is a lead member of the real estate accounting team. She spoke with The Commercial Observer last week about financial accounting issues impacting the commercial real estate industry, potential future changes to financial reporting practices and the risks of another bubble in the market.

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Year in Real Estate

Above and Beyond Hurricane Sandy

East Coast Begins To Clean Up And Assess Damage From Hurricane Sandy

FEMA spokesperson William Rukeyser described the ad-hoc, jumbled feel of the company’s impromptu space in the Forest Hills Tower like a scene from a hard-hit neighborhood, with hanging wires, antennas strapped to the ceiling, Post-It notes and sheets of paper with various instructions scattered about, and impromptu folding tables holding printers and other office equipment. Most seemed at a loss for words when assessing damages.

“It’s—It’s—It’s just a mess,” Durst Organization spokesperson Jordan Barowitz told The Commercial Observer less than a week after the storm hit, struggling to describe the destruction in Lower Manhattan. Read More

Post-Tropical Storm Sandy

FEMA and Muss Development Ink Deal for Hurricane Relief Headquarters in Two Days


The Federal Emergency Management Agency has pulled together a Queens home base for its Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in a matter of days.

FEMA, as the agency is better known, is taking 200,000 square feet across 10 of 17 floors in the Forest Hills Tower, located at 118-35 Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills, Queens.

Negotiations began last week with owner Muss Development, and by Sunday the relief agency had begun its move into the building. Read More