Jay-Z’s Family Wings Business Plans Big Expansions

Adam Stupak and Jamar White

As hungry wing-lovers lined up at Buffalo Boss on a busy weekday afternoon at a Downtown Brooklyn location of the organic chicken wings business that rap legend and entrepreneur Jay-Z helped his cousin Jamar White and Mr. White’s business partner Ronald Lee start in 2010, Mr. White and his broker, Adam Stupak of TASK Realty, invited Commercial Observer inside for an exclusive chat and chicken sampling.

With hip-hop music blaring from the speakers and Japanese animation running on flat screen televisions in the 1,200-square-foot fast-service eatery at 400 Jay Street, Mr. White dished out both boneless and bone-in selections to go with Buffalo Boss’s homemade blue cheese dressing and insider information on the growing company’s enlargement ideas. Read More

Barclays Center

Barclays Center Soundproofed Before The Ozzman Cometh

Vocalist Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath will play a newly dampened Barclay's Arena next month. (Credit:

Particularly loud acts visiting the Barclays Center in Brooklyn will be asked to keep the noise down despite the recent installation of 1,800 insulated ceiling panels meant to keep sound from escaping the arena and into the rattled ears of fed up neighbors. 

The installation of the ceiling panels, first reported in, followed a string of noise complaints by disgruntled neighbors which in May of last year led to a $3,200 noise violation fine.

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Atlantic Yards

Barclays Center’s First Year, By The Numbers

Jay-Z Opens Barclays Center - Show

By most measures, the Barclays Center had a very good year since opening with eight Jay-Z concerts a year ago this Saturday, including hosting MTV’s Video Music Awards last month. As the statistics show, its success as a concert venue was significant, even if audience attendance was bolstered in some part by ongoing renovations at Madison Square Garden.

While some scheduled events never came to fruition, the total number of events lagged behind several estimates, and the start-up costs were a drag on profits, the Barclays Center will get a big bump during the 2015-2016 season when the New York Islanders move in.

Norman Oder of the Atlantic Yards Report gathered and crunched the numbers for The Commercial Observer to assess the promises, projections and realities.

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Cover Story

LeFrak City at 50


Prodigy was sitting in a first-class airplane cabin somewhere over the Pacific Ocean when he first put a face to the name of the New York real estate dynasty that shaped his childhood.

The rapper, one half of hip-hop group Mobb Deep, was en route to a show in Brisbane when he met a fellow Read More

Food & Drink

Jay-Z, Questlove Expand Restaurant Holdings With Dueling Chicken Joints


Two of New York’s preeminent hip-hop artists are making moves in the city’s casual restaurant scene this week.

Buffalo Boss, the organic and hormone-free wing shack that counts Jay-Z as an investor, signed a 10-year, 600-square-foot lease at, fittingly, 400 Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn. And Questlove of The Roots and Late Night with Jimmy’s Fallon‘s house band, has partnered with blockbuster restaurateur Stephen Starr (Buddakan, Morimoto, and a slew of restaurants in his–and Questlove’s–native Philly) on Hybird, a drumstick, dumpling and cupcake purveyor that opens this Saturday at 75 Ninth Avenue in the Chelsea Market. Read More

The Lobby

Larry Silverstein is Latest High-Profile CEO to Step Down

Larry Silverstein

Larry Silverstein, the affable face of Silverstein Properties and the man behind the redevelopment of the World Trade Center, is stepping down as CEO – the latest of a string of high-profile real estate CEOs to step down this year.

The co-chief executive at the firm, Mr. Silvertein’s heir apparent, Marty Burger, who joined in 2010 as executive vice president after 15 years with Related Companies, will succeed Mr. Silverstein, The Wall Street Journal reported.  Mr. Silverstein will stay on as chairman.

“Marty is a terrific young guy, and his function is really going to be to grow the company,” the 81-year-old real estate icon, Mr. Silverstein, told the Journal. Read More


Bruce Ratner’s Game of Life

CO Page 20 - Postings

Last week, news that Bruce Ratner would be stepping down as chief executive officer of Forest City Ratner rippled through the real estate industry, even as others in New York wondered aloud what it would mean for the company’s
yet-to-be-completed Atlantic Yards project.

After the jump, a brief and incomplete timeline of Mr. Ratner’s career and life. Read More

Power Broker

The Postgraduate: Newmark Grubb Knight Frank’s Brian Waterman

Photo: Peter Lettre/NY Observer

Brian Waterman’s 27 years at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank sprang from a 90-second interview with NGKF Chief Executive Officer Barry Gosin in 1986.

Mr. Waterman, now a vice chairman at NGKF, was fresh out of college and considering a career in law. His mentor, Saul Katz, Sterling Equities’ co-founder and president, shot from the hip and said there were already enough lawyers in the world, and that Mr. Waterman should look into real estate, the field that had minted Mr. Katz’s fortune.

Mr. Katz put Messrs. Waterman and Gosin in touch.

Not quite two minutes into the job interview, Mr. Gosin told Mr. Waterman he was hired, and to immediately start canvassing. “It was my first and only job interview,” Mr. Waterman said. Read More

Barclays Center: From Eminent Domain to Deron Williams

Toronto Raptors v Brooklyn Nets

“It was intended to be iconic,” MaryAnne Gilmartin said of the Barclays Center’s façade of undulating rusted steel just three months after the wildly controversial arena opened its doors.

But while the arena’s architecture aimed to lodge itself in the public consciousness, the Atlantic Yards development project, of which Barclays is the preening firstborn child, couldn’t have anticipated the discord it would ignite in the Brooklyn neighborhoods it promised to reactivate. Read More

Year in Real Estate

The Year in Real Estate: From GSA to Hurricane Sandy, A Look Back at 2012

CP 12-18 Year in Leasing, Page 20

Just when New York’s traditional geographic dividing lines were beginning to seem quaint, Hurricane Sandy made landfall and brought them back to light.

Downtown, which over the years had become harder and harder to distinguish from uptown, was plunged into darkness, sending the relatively young and vaguely creative well above 14th Street nosebleed territory in search of power. Only the Brooklyn side of the Williamsburg Bridge stayed illuminated, a stark metaphor for the borough’s slow transformation into a contender.

But in commercial real estate, boundaries continued to disappear. In January, Condé Nast expanded its 1.05-million-square-foot lease at 1 World Trade Center by 138,773 square feet, helping lower Manhattan shed its stodgy finance-centric reputation and prompting slight panic among the owners of Midtown media canteens like Michael’s. Read More

The Sit-Down

Larry Silverstein’s Got 99 Problems, But Jay-Z Ain’t One

Screen Shot 2012-10-05 at 8.38.46 AM

Hip hop impresario Jay-Z kicked off the opening of Forest City Ratner’s Barclays Center with a series of eight sold-out concerts last week. And while thousands of rap and pop music fans descended on Brooklyn to welcome Hova back to his native borough, more surprising, perhaps, were the boldface real estate titans who lined up as guests of Bruce Ratner to witness the spectacle. Besides Dan Tishman of Tishman Construction and Vornado Realty Trust’s Michael Fascitelli and Steven Roth, Mary Ann Tighe of CBRE described the evening as electric. “The only Jay-Z song I recognized is his New York song, which he performed early in the show,” wrote Ms. Tighe, who added in an email to The Commercial Observer that she also enjoyed the arena’s menu of Brooklyn-based restaurants. “Best arena/stadium food ever,” she wrote.

Perhaps the one attendee who was most impressed with the Barclays Center and its booming sound system, however, was Larry Silverstein, the iconic developer behind the ongoing redevelopment of the World Trade Center. Mr. Silverstein revealed his first impressions of the Barclays Center with The Commercial Observer and shared his opinions on Jay-Z and the venue’s body-shaking bass system.

The Commercial Observer: So a tipster told us they saw you at the Jay-Z show last Friday.
Mr. Silverstein: We attended the concert Friday night, and it was a transformational experience. Read More

Jay Z

Jay Z Is the Director of Barclay’s Center


Basketball owner and rap mogul Jay-Z can claim another title to his rap-and-business resume: Director of a basketball arena.

Jay-Z, a.k.a “Shawn Carter,” is listed under his real name as the director for the Brooklyn Arena LLC, the company behind Barclay’s Center, as was first reported by Norman Oder’s Atlantic Yards Report blog. 

The hip hopper’s new title was discovered on liquor license application papers filed by Forest City Ratner Cos. Read More