Mortgage Observer

Chetrit, Clipper Equity Score $229M Construction Loan for Flatotel Conversion

135 West 52nd Street (PropertyShark)

Prolific development duo Joseph Chetrit and Clipper Equity received $228.5 million in construction funds to convert a Midtown hotel that was foreclosed on last year to a combination of office and residential condominiums.

The Flatotel, at 135 West 52nd Street, will become a five-floor “boutique” office condominium and 37 floors of luxury residential condos, according to a representative for Meridian Capital Group, which brokered the loan with Deutsche BankRead More

Mortgage Observer

Q&A: David Schonbraun, Co-Chief Investment Officer, SL Green

David Schonbraun of SL Green

Mr. Schonbraun told Mortgage Observer about his tennis career, SL Green’s entry into lending and how New York City has more available debt and equity than perhaps any other time in history.

Mortgage Observer: I know you were an avid tennis player growing up. Did you plan to play professionally?

David Schonbraun: That was the initial plan. I got hurt, tried to come back – it was tough. But it’s probably the best thing that ever happened to me, actually. Tennis got me into Princeton. In retrospect, I probably would have played tennis for a couple years and I would have started at a less opportune time in the market cycle. Read More

on the waterfront

Fate of Greenpoint Towers To Be Determined This Week [Updated]

Renderings of 77 Commercial Street

Long-simmering plans to put up two new high-rise towers along the Greenpoint waterfront should be put to a vote this week, and the project’s future mostly lies in the hands of City Council member Stephen Levin.

Mr. Levin, who represents the North Brooklyn neighborhood, must vote in favor of or against a 40-story and 30-story tower by the Council’s final meeting of the year on Thursday. The project’s developers Joseph Chetrit and David Bistricer hope to win approval for the towers that would soar past the area’s current 15-story zoning cap. Read More


Power 100 Heat Map


From a Taconic Investment Partners project in Hunts Point to the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan, power in New York real estate circles has increasingly expanded from the comfortable confines of Midtown Manhattan to the fringes of all five boroughs. While large developments such as the Related Company’s Hudson Yards often dominate the conversation, Brooklyn, Queens and even the Bronx continue to grow in stature.

Long Island City is fast becoming a focal point for the real estate industry as Rockrose and other residential developers tap into the growing Queens neighborhood. In the Bronx, Taconic Investment Partners, formerly the owners of 111 Eighth Avenue, is in the process of a significant capital improvement plan at the BankNote Building on Lafayette Avenue in Hunt’s Point.

Below, a sampling of where power thrives in New York City in 2013. Read More

Cover Story

Midtown Madness: Leasing Still Sluggish in Manhattan’s Priciest Market

TO GO WITH AFP STORY: US-economy-propert

Midtown Manhattan, the biggest and most expensive U.S. office market, is still adapting to New York’s post-financial-crisis economy, as technology and new media companies flood into the more affordable areas and banks remain wary of expanding in higher-priced real estate.

With construction getting under way on millions of square feet of planned Class A offices on the West Side, much of the leasing action for the year to date has centered on neighborhoods like Murray Hill, the Penn Station area and the Garment District, which are attracting companies that have been priced—or crowded—out of the technology hub in Midtown South, brokers said. Financial companies, traditionally the biggest occupiers of Midtown real estate, remained conservative, pursuing greater efficiency in their use of real estate rather than growth.

“The days of bigger is better are gone,” said Eric Thomas, senior vice president of Cresa, a specialist in tenant representation. “Capital preservation is still key. That’s why renewals still reign in many cases.” Read More


Another Setback for Joe Chetrit at Chelsea Hotel: Speaker Quinn Alleges Tenant Harassment

Joe Chetrit (Credit: Mathew Katz/DNAinfo)

The Department of Buildings ordered Joseph Chetrit to stop work at the Chelsea Hotel on Friday night, one day after City Council Speaker Christine Quinn sent a scathing letter asking the developer to do so, The Real Deal reports.

The order, the latest of a series of setbacks at the property, followed complaints from tenants that heat and gas service had been shut off at the site, leading DOB inspectors, a range of other city organizations and ConEdison to visit the site on Friday.

“HPD will be issuing violations for no heat and hot water and no gas as these conditions have not yet been addressed by ownership,” one city official told The Real Deal.

Once a mecca for bohemians, artists, writers and musicians, from Bob Dylan to Charles Bukowski to Iggy Pop, the famed “hotel” undergoes its own transformation, to the chagrin of some.

Ms. Quinn, in her letter, recalled the outstanding violation against Mr. Chetrit that was issued after construction workers broke through a tenant’s ceiling.

“You must stop this blatant harassment of your tenants,” Quinn wrote. Read More

Sales Beat

Joseph Chetrit and Partners Sling $150 M. at Former Cabrini Medical Center Site

Joe Chetrit (DNAinfo/Mathew Katz)

Joseph Chetrit is in contract to purchase the 1.5-acre former Cabrini Medical Center site at Second Avenue and East 19th Street, The Wall Street Journal reported today.

The Chetrit Group and its partners have agreed to pay more than $150 million for the five-building complex owned by Memorial Sloan-Kettering, sources familiar with the deal confirmed with The Commercial Observer.

The Journal noted that Mr. Chetrit is purchasing the property with the same group of investors that he bought the Sony Building with, which included David Bistricer and put the man at the helm of Clipper Equities on the map among commercial real estate’s elite. Read More

Sales Beat

Jamestown on Cusp of Buying $80 Million Chetrit LIC Property: Report

(photo courtesy of CoStar)

Jamestown Properties, the owners of The Chelsea Market and One Times Square, is on the cusp of purchasing The Falchi Building, a Long Island City office property co-owned by Joseph Chetrit for over $80 million.

The deal for the 638,712 square foot industrial-slash-office building on 31-00 47th Avenue, which was first reported by Adam Pincus of The Real Deal, was brokered by Douglas Harmon, Adam Spies, and Kevin Donner of Eastdil Secured. Mssrs. Harmon and Spies did not immediately respond to messages requesting comment. Neil Dolgin, a co-president of  Kalmon Dolgin Affiliates which since 2005 has co-owned The Falchi Building with The Chetrit Group, refused to comment on any aspect of the deal. Read More

Building Expectations

Joseph Chetrit, the Most Mysterious Big Shot in New York Real Estate

The Chelsea.

One summer Friday in 1994, Ron Cohen, one of the top commercial brokers in New York City, picked up the phone in his office at the old Insignia/ESG, a precursor to today’s mega-brokerage CB Richard Ellis. A man named Joseph Chetrit was cold-calling him about a 16-story office building at 19 West 44th Street that Mr. Cohen’s client was selling.

“Sorry,” Mr. Cohen said. “We don’t work with people we don’t know.”

He hung up and went back to work.

Minutes later, three men walked into Mr. Cohen’s office. They were Joseph Chetrit, his father Simon, and his brother Jacques.

“Well, now you know us,” Joseph said matter-of-factly. Read More

Building Expectations

Lehman Brothers Unloads 200 Fifth to JPMorgan in $700 M. Deal

How the Lehman-ade gets made.

As expected (we noted last week this would likely happen and soon), Lehman Brothers has agreed to unload its majority stake in the old Toy Building at 200 Fifth Avenue in a deal that values it at about $700 million. It is one of the biggest building sales of 2011 so far, and one of the most significant moves by the croaked investment bank’s holding company in its campaign to liquidate its real estate. The buyer is a wing of JPMorgan. Read More

Trading Spaces

Bed Bath & Beyond Building on the Block; Could Fetch $500 M., Sources Say

620 Sixth Avenue.

Hot on the heels of RXR Realty’s purchase of the Starrett-Lehigh Building for $900 million and the sale of 111 Eighth Avenue to Google for $1.8 billion, Bed Bath & Beyond’s building is on the block.

A partnership of Joseph Chetrit and Yair Levy, spearheaded by Charles Dayan from Bonjour Capital, bought the building for $289.8 million in 2005, according to city records. But with the trendy Chelsea office market enjoying a boom, driven in no small part by the tech bubble, the building could sell for around $500 million, according to some sources. Read More

How Keen Is Manhattan Valley?

An unexpected alliance between a powerful developer and a neighborhood retirement home is causing an uproar in the Manhattan Valley section of the famously ornery Upper West Side.

Enigmatic developer Joseph Chetrit and Jewish Home Lifecare, which has a campus at 120 West 106th Street, between Amsterdam and Columbus avenues, have decided to swap properties. Read More