Lease Beat

Fresh Planet App Spurs Growth, New Lease

Song Pop

New York City-based tech company Fresh Planet has reportedly signed a four-year, 12,500-square-foot lease at PRD Realty’s 19 West 34th Street.

The venture capital-backed startup, which created Song Pop, a music trivia game that lets users send challenges to other users, will more than double its space and more than triple its staff to 80 Read More

On the Market

Mixed-Use Building in Nation’s Most Expensive Neighborhood Hits the Market as a Potential Mansion Conversion

18 East 64th Street

A note to all billionaires:  Massey Knakal Realty Services is exclusively marketing an 11,000-square-foot Upper East Side building at 18 East 64th Street for $40 million.

The property has been off the market for six decades, and now presents an opportunity for a potential buyer to cut down existing office and residential space in the building and create a single-family palace on one of the city’s most exclusive blocks – and the nation’s most expensive neighborhood. Read More

Cover Story

Reaching for the Sun: Is It Possible to Own Too Much Real Estate?


When the credit crisis hit and the real estate market all but collapsed, news of disgraced developers became commonplace, their tales more often than not layered with intrigue.

Take Kent Swig, who, after being divorced by his wife, filed an affidavit in May responding to a lawsuit filed by his ex-father-in-law, industry luminary Harry Macklowe, arguing that Mr. Macklowe embarked on a “vendetta” aimed at “starving” him of every last penny.

But as the downfalls of real estate tycoons like Mr. Macklowe, Shaya Boymelgreen, Bruce Eichner and Larry Gluck stack up like so many new developments across Manhattan’s skyline, analysts and the city’s landlords themselves have begun to wonder aloud if there’s a limit to how much real estate can be accumulated.

“A developer’s function is to develop property, and sometimes they develop and develop until they can’t develop anymore,” said appraiser Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel Inc., a real estate appraisal and consulting firm based in New York City. “Where people fell short was that the market was more powerful than them … the market is brutal, and it has no compassion.” Read More

Sales Beat

90 Fifth Avenue In Contract For $115 Million

90 Fifth Avenue.

90 Fifth Avenue is being acquired by the Atlanta based investment group Jamestown for $115 million sources have revealed to The Commercial Observer, a price that equates to a lofty over $800 per square foot.

The deal, if it closes, would finally end a years long effort to sell the 140,000-square-foot property, which is mostly Read More

The Sit-Down

Two Buildings, One Block: Andrew Roos on the Virtues of 28-40 West 23rd Street

Andrew Roos.

The success of 200 Fifth Avenue has served in many ways as the template for 28-40 West 23rd Street, and no doubt many other buildings in Midtown South. The building’s developer, L&L Holding Co., guessed the popularity of the neighborhood and bet a big reinvention of the property would draw top-shelf tenants, a gamble that paid off when it landed Grey Advertising and Tiffany & Co. Now the landlord of 28-40 West 23rd Street is in the middle of a similar kind of makeover. The Cohen, Roos and Carmel families, who together own the 600,000-square-foot tower, have plans to create a roof deck and have done deals with tech companies that are invading the neighborhood in droves. After the jump, The Commercial Observer talks to Andrew Roos, a Colliers International leasing executive and an owner of 28-40 West 23rd Street. Return at 10:30 today for a second installment with David Berkey, L&L’s director of leasing.
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NYU Gobbles Forbes Building

Forbes began a search for a buyer of its historic headquarters at the peak of the market. More than two years and one historic recession later, the magazine company has finished the sale.

On Thursday, Forbes announced that it had sold the 122,500-square-foot, eight-story building at 60 Fifth Avenue to NYU, the school that has Read More

Malcolm’s Lair

In recent years, the Forbes family sold its palace in Tangiers, its island near Fiji, its copy of the Gettysburg Address and many of its Fabergé eggs. Its notable Fifth Avenue building may be next.

In June, New York Times’ media columnist David Carr lamented that “if there ever was a bad time to be Read More