Post-Tropical Storm Sandy
2013 NYC Halloween Parade
More than one year after Hurricane Sandy, the amazing recovery from the storm and rebirth of Downtown has some people viewing its touchdown in New York City almost as a blessing in disguise.
Perhaps no one more than Adam Goldberg, director of New York Operations at AquaFence, who moved into his current role at the Read More
Post-Tropical Storm Sandy
Following a harrowing but successful effort by organizers to raise $50,000 to save the 2013 NYC Halloween Parade, the horrific procession will go on as planned tonight in Greenwich Village.
The 40th anniversary of the storied parade will attract an assortment of ghouls, ghosts and goblins, along with a welcome swarm of freakishly – if Read More
Ironically, it seems that Hurricane Sandy, while delivering a fierce blow to Lower Manhattan, has in fact helped the submarket to bounce back with something of a vengeance.
Overall new leasing increased 21 percent in the 12 months after Sandy compared to the previous 12 months, firms are migrating to Lower Manhattan (in many some Read More
With more than 52 million visitors to the Big Apple in 2012, one thing seems certain: By all accounts, the hospitality industry is thriving in New York City. Hundreds of new hotels, with nearly 20,000 rooms, have joined the inventory over the past few years. Despite this, according to some industry leaders, there is reason to feel uneasy about the outlook for continued growth in this asset class.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, chair of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, today announced a strategy intended to both act as a model for communities across the country faced with extreme weather and offer guidelines on how the government will continue to invest in the areas affected by last fall’s storm.
“Recent disasters have shown families how our changing climate is impacting lives and nowhere is that more apparent than in New York,” Mr. Donovan, a native New Yorker who previously served as commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, noted on a conference call earlier today.
Being down as the result of a natural disaster, flood or fire is always a major catastrophe for commercial buildings. Aside from simply switching to fiber cables, which are naturally more resilient, here are several ways to increase your chances of staying fully operational when you’re hit hard by one of the elements.
One of the biggest trends quickly gaining momentum: put it all in the cloud.
Everybody Go Downtown
A seven-foot dolphin appeared at the head of the Gowanus Canal earlier this year, ailing and struggling to work its way out of the abysmally polluted waters, as crowds of onlookers rallied for the survival of the dying (spoiler alert) marine mammal.
And so it’s without wonderment that some local residents are worried that the excavation Read More
After the storm, things are looking brighter for the lower Manhattan real estate market.
Even with construction scaffolds clogging the district’s narrow streets in a reminder of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation, Downtown office leasing activity jumped 73 percent in the first two months of the year, according to Cushman & Wakefield.
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.
Post-Tropical Storm Sandy
The announcement last week that Liberty Mutual had signed a 10-year, 120,000-square-foot lease at 55 Water Street was a rare and welcome piece of good news at a building and corridor of lower Manhattan exceptionally hard-hit by Superstorm Sandy.
The 53-story Financial District skyscraper took on 32 million gallons of water following the October 29 natural disaster. A month later, 30 people were treated for injuries after the basement caught fire during electric repair work. News that Liberty Mutual would be doubling its footprint in the property no doubt came as a relief to the landlord, New Water Street Corp., as it poured $200 million worth of renovations into the ailing tower.
The woes of the building at 55 Water Street are emblematic of those afflicting Manhattan commercial properties affected by Sandy. Accounting firms working on their behalf as they seek damages are all too familiar with the sort of cascading problems wrought by the storm that require a web of insurance plans and clauses spanning wind, flood, blackout and business interruption insurance.
Post-Tropical Storm Sandy
Lower Manhattan is “back in business,” according to a report from the Downtown Alliance that charts the unprecedented response to the devastation that Hurricane Sandy wreaked just over four months ago.
The data shows that 99 percent of office and residential space, 96 percent of hotel inventory and 90 percent of retail stores are online; while the group said leasing was unfazed.
“Lower Manhattan’s recovery from Sandy has been vigorous,” said Downtown Alliance President Elizabeth Berger, in a statement. “The Downtown Alliance’s research shows dramatic improvement across of all of Lower Manhattan’s major markets.”
The city announced today that it is implementing new measures that will stretch current zoning codes in order to help property owners update buildings to meet new flood standards in the wake of Hurricane Sandy — and in the face of climate change.
The measures will allow home and building owners to rebuild destroyed properties and meet new safety standards. They are also intended to limit the cost of future federal flood insurance premiums by better protecting properties in flood-prone areas.
“We are beginning the process of updating our building code and zoning regulations so that new construction meets standards that reflect the best available data about flood and climate risks,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a statement. “This is particularly important for homes and businesses damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy – and the rules we are putting in place today will enable them to rebuild and re-open safely.”
The new year ushered in a shaken-up hierarchy to the Real Estate Board of New York.
Tishman Speyer President Rob Speyer has replaced Mary Ann Tighe as chairman. Mr. Speyer, 43, is the youngest chairman in the board’s 117-year history, and will inherit the position from the first female to ever hold it. Despite his youth, Mr. Speyer has history on his side: he’s the third generation of his family to be named REBNY chair.
Mr. Speyer’s combination of youth and lineage is well-suited to an organization that in 2012 faced fresh, modern challenges whose resolutions required the full weight of the influence REBNY has accrued over the past century. Hurricane Sandy caused unprecedented damage to coastal areas of the city and its transportation system, not to mention the related electric grid failure. And while major storms are nothing new, they seem on course to increase in size and frequency.
Broker confidence levels have been restored after a dip caused by Hurricane Sandy, but commercial brokers remain less optimistic than their residential counterparts, according to data from REBNY’s Broker Confidence Index released last week.
At 8.12 in December 2012, based on a scale of zero to ten, the average confidence rating for commercial and residential brokers combined was the second highest since REBNY began tracking the data in June 2012 (with the record of 8.55 set in September 2012).
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the rating had dipped to 7.55 in November.
Manhattan-based retail real estate specialist Winick Realty Group is going west. Winick opened its first New Jersey office in early November of last year, with senior vice presidents and founding co-partners Daniel Spector, a 25-year real estate veteran, and Tyler Bennett, with a decade of industry experience, at the helm.
With nine tenants and several exclusive arrangements with prominent landlords already secured, Messrs. Spector and Bennett are optimistic about Winick Realty Group NJ’s prospects in 2013. The Commercial Observer spoke with the partners in Winick’s Midtown office about their incipient developments, the aftereffects of Sandy and Garden State idiosyncrasies.
You both focused on New Jersey real estate before the Winick office opened. What drew you to the market?
Tyler Bennett: I’m a lifelong New Jersey resident, so knowing the market and having done most of my transactions there, it made sense.
Daniel Spector: I’m originally a New Yorker. I was working in a firm that represented retailers in Long Island, including Blockbuster Video. I was helping them expand in New York City and New Jersey. I started doing a lot of work in New Jersey, and after a couple years of commuting over two bridges, I decided that maybe I should move there, as hard as it was for a New Yorker.
TB: [Laughs] Are you moving back?
DS: It’s not too bad, actually.