Post-Tropical Storm Sandy
One New York Plaza is officially open again – as of this past Saturday – following a shutdown due to tropical storm Sandy. Building owner, Brookfield Office Properties, said that the company has property, casualty and flood insurance and anticipates full coverage of losses. “The storm will have no material financial impact on the company,” the firm said as part of a release.
Hurricane Sandy caused a surge that increased ocean water levels and flooded numerous coastal areas of New York City, including the southern tip of Manhattan where One New York Plaza is located.
“Brookfield’s property operations and maintenance personnel removed all water, restored services and prepared the building for the safe return of tenants,” a Brookfield spokesperson said.
On Thursday, Nov. 1, Virgo Business Centers made 27,321 square feet of temporary, furnished office space available at 14 Penn Plaza. Companies displaced by Hurricane Sandy filed in one by one, and by the following Thursday, the space was full.
“Typically, that process takes about a year,” said Pasha Erkin, director of sales at the company. “It’s all about readiness. You could literally bring me 40 people today, and I could have the space ready tomorrow. All you have to do is walk in, flip on a switch, plug in and start working.”
In that building alone, the company took on 177 employees from displaced companies like Coronet, amfAR, Linda Decorato, Ambrose and others located on the eastern tip of Downtown and other areas hit hard by the hurricane.
More than 300 real estate professionals crowded the Metropolitan Club early Thursday morning, despite snow-covered sidewalks, for the Observer Media Group’s third annual Masters of Real Estate forum.
Sponsored by Fried Frank and Marks Paneth & Shron, the event drew boldface names like Larry Silverstein and Mortimer Zuckerman, who spoke about the devastation wrought by Sandy, not to mention financiers like Angelo Gordon & Co.’s Adam Schwartz and Rockpoint Group’s Keith Gelb, who weighed in on opportunistic investments.
Below, reporter Al Barbarino walks the room and listens in on the panels, striving to put his finger on the commercial real estate industry’s pulse, minute by minute.
The Lawyers You Call
Jonathan Mechanic, a partner at Fried Frank and chairman of the firm’s real estate department, represents clients in every type of commercial real estate transaction. His deals have included Conde Nast’s 1-million-square-foot lease at One World Trade Center and, more recently, the 170,000-square-foot bite that the New York Genome Center took out of 101 Avenue of the Americas.
130 Prince Street, which Waterman Interests and JP Morgan Asset Management-advised investors bought in 2007 for $112 million, has sold to Invesco Real Estate five years later for $140.5 million.
The 88,000-square-foot building is fully-leased and home to tenants M.A.C. Cosmetics, Lacoste and True Religion Jeans, with M.A.C. as the office space tenant.
Tod Waterman, founder and managing member of Waterman Interests, referenced the return that its investors will receive on 130 Prince Street and the firm’s desire to match the results as it continues “to grow the company in the Manhattan office market.”
Is he the most prolific attorney in the city you’ve never heard about?
Still, it’s possible to lose track of just how many deals Fried Frank partner Meyer Last inked in 2011. Call it the Jon Mechanic effect.
Speeches were casually ignored, drinks were spilled and bonds were formed at last Thursday’s 116th annual Real Estate Board of New York Gala, which this year drew an estimated 2,000 brokers, owners, advertising buyers and real estate reporters to the New York Hilton for an evening of conviviality, honorifics and hushed deal making. Among the fray was Commercial Observer staff writer Daniel Geiger, who during the course of the evening saw his stenopad tossed by an irate real estate broker and who unabashedly accosted Studley’s Woody Heller in the hotel’s bathroom, all for the sake of the story. Below, a timeline of gala comings and goings, from the innocuous gossip down to the downright obnoxious.
A shakeup is at hand within the agency leasing team that handles the sizeable Manhattan office portfolio of the real estate investment company TF Cornerstone.
Matt Leon, a young and upcoming executive at the real estate services firm Newmark Knight Frank, will be taking over as head of the leasing team that represents TF Cornerstone’s collection of properties, which includes the midtown trophy building Carnegie Hall Tower, 645 Madison Avenue and 387 Park Avenue South.
Behind every big real estate transaction is a phalanx of attorneys ticking off the billable hours. But in a slowly recovering market, with tepid lending and almost no new development, what exactly is the role of a real estate lawyer? Much more than dollar amounts are being negotiated, that’s for sure. And what differentiates one firm from the next?
We tapped the top New York City real estate practices and asked them these questions.
It was back in 2006, during a streak of economic buoyancy, that Google, then only eight years old, paid $319 million for an office complex on Amphitheatre Avenue in Mountain View, Calif., that would soon become known to all as the Googleplex.
Since then, the empire that Larry Page and Sergey Brin built has expanded to include 68 addresses in Canada, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the United States and even the Middle East. In 2010, the company reported that its total assets had reached a whopping $57.9 billion. So it wasn’t a surprise last December when Google signed a contract to buy 111 Eighth Avenue, one of New York City’s largest office buildings. Nor did anyone blanch when the closing price of $1.8 billion turned out to be the largest of the year—not just in Manhattan, but in the entire country.
But for Robert Sorin, an attorney with Fried Frank’s real estate practice who represented Google in that deal, what remains most surprising of all is that an outfit that shares a tax bracket with the most profitable companies in the world wound up applying for a loan.