Sunshine by the Square Foot

Aerial Photographs of New York City - Archive Images

While it did not rival what some recalled as a “blistering” second quarter, the Manhattan commercial real estate office market continued to gain momentum in the third quarter, and most real estate observers took the growth as a sign of more to come.

Positive absorption and rising rents throughout Manhattan are on track to rain in a strong end to the year, as Midtown remained steady, Midtown South shined, and Downtown turned heads.

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Lease Beat

WeWork Expands Downtown Footprint

A WeWork office interior

Just months after taking over 120,000 square feet Downtown at 222 Broadway, WeWork is reportedly taking another 86,000 square feet down the street in a 20-year lease at 25 Broadway.

After a one-year period of free rent, the collaborative work space provider will begin paying in the low-$30s per square foot for the 9th and Read More


The Rise of Midtown South, Continued


The story in the second quarter continues to be Midtown South, where, for the first time, asking rents for Class A space outpaced those in Midtown.

Throughout the city, asking rents have largely been driven by availability in new or renovated properties such as Brookfield Place and 51 Astor. Leasing activity overall has been stout, outpacing the same quarter in 2012.

Last week, Ken McCarthy of Cushman & Wakefield spoke to The Commercial Observer about the firm’s leasing stats for the second quarter. Read More


Long Occupied 4,452-SF Retail Space Off Union Square Hits Market

111 Fourth Avenue

Tarter Stats O’Toole has scored another major downtown assignment and is marketing the 4,452-square-foot retail space at 111 Fourth Avenue, The Commercial Observer has learned.

The store, on Fourth Avenue between 11th and 12th Streets, was previously occupied for 30 years by Utrecht, an art supplies store. The space features 19-foot ceilings and 45 feet of frontage on the avenue. Asking rent is $125 a foot Read More


New Columnists, More Opinions, Now!

If you hadn’t already noticed, The Commercial Observer late last night added seven new columnists to its already formidable roster of real estate thought leaders.

Indeed, along with veteran prognosticators Robert Knakal, Sam Chandan, Richard Persichetti and Robert Sammons (back from a short hiatus), we’re now happy to welcome David Greene, Christopher Havens, Barry LePatner, Kenneth McCarthy, J.D. Parker, Joshua Siegelman and Scott Spector. Find web-exclusive columns along the right rail of our website every week. Read More


Which Way is Up: Manhattan’s Market Boundaries are Beginning to Blur


From the outside, 222 Broadway fits the stereotype of the Downtown financial office tower.

But when Bank of America downsized, leaving roughly 250,000 square feet of space vacant, a series of tours guided by its new owner, L&L Holdings, quickly blasted that stereotype away.

Condé Nast committed to 80,000 square feet at the tower in early March. WeWork, which provides collaborative workspace for tech and media companies, was next in line. Read More

Market Reports

Midtown South Landlords Rule With Iron Fist Despite Spike in Availability

(Credit: Michael Nagle/Getty)

Despite a fair share of new product hitting the Midtown South market in January, landlords continued to call the shots, seeking ever-growing rents in the city’s epicenter for tech and creative companies, the latest data from Cushman & Wakefield shows.

The data shows that total space increased year-over-year in January by 9.8 percent to more than 4.52 million square feet, yet average rents also increased by 10.7 percent to $50.61 per square foot.

The boost in available product was pronounced among Class A and Class B properties, with 41.03 and 47.1 percent increases, respectively.

“It is still a landlord’s market even though that space has come online,” said Ken McCarthy, C&W’s chief economist.  “Anyone adding space to the market is asking higher rents.” Read More


Midtown Leasing Stats, Annotated


If one of the dominant stories in Midtown South this year is the flood of tech and media startups, then the lack of forward movement by large corporate tenants may be the story in Midtown.

Indeed, nary a single lease in excess of 250,000 square feet has closed this year, a conspicuous change from a year ago, when five such deals were inked, including a 1.6-million-square-foot whopper by TV network Viacom at 1515 Broadway.

Despite the dearth of big transactions, however, a wave of smaller ones kept Midtown active. After the jump, Ken McCarthy, senior economist at Cushman & Wakefield, reviews third-quarter leasing activity in Midtown and explains why the market and its 11 submarkets have performed the way they have. Read More


Lower Manhattan Leasing, Annotated

CO 10-23 POSTINGS. 22

Over the course of the next three years, lower Manhattan will experience a leasing anomaly: as new and more-efficient office space hits the market,
supply and rental rates are expected to escalate simultaneously.

For real estate analysts, who have estimated that vacancy rates could skyrocket to as high as 17.5 percent by 2015, the prospect of more product is exciting, if a bit unnerving.

As for right now, Ken McCarthy, a senior economist at Cushman & Wakefield, reviewed lower Manhattan’s third-quarter stats with The Commercial Observer and discussed which data points could affect the short-term health of the market that Silverstein Properties’ 1 World Trade Center and Brookfield Properties’ World Financial Center both call home. Read More


Tech Wasn’t Only Sector to Lease in Midtown South in 3Q12

Midtown South 3Q12 Leasing Activity.

With all the talk about Midtown South’s incredibly shrinking vacancy rate, it’s easy to conclude that deals by a swarm of new-media companies, social applications and tech startups are at the heart of the market’s heralded rebound. But a closer look at third quarter leasing activity suggests that companies with long histories, like Estée Lauder, should take equal billing. Ken McCarthy, senior economist at Cushman & Wakefield, reviewed Midtown South’s third-quarter activity and explained why the market and its five submarkets performed so well in the last quarter and in the past 12 months. Read More

Midtown South

Computing Midtown South: Tech Is Booming, but for How Long?

Midtown South.

Late last year, when the education publishing company Scholastic offered up about 60,000 square feet of sublease space at the top of the Soho office building 568 Broadway, the firm quickly found it wouldn’t be difficult to fill.

Within weeks, a host of tenants were competing for it, including several tech firms, one of the most active sectors of the leasing market in Manhattan right now. Tumblr, foursquare and AppNexus, all well-known names in the industry, moved to the front of the pack.

On the face of it, such a decision would seem easy. Of the three, only AppNexus, a firm that specializes in online advertising and is backed by the software giant Microsoft, is known to be profitable. But in a tech boom in which riches don’t always flow from the most likely sources, the deal for the space took a different turn.

The competition soon boiled down not to AppNexus but to Tumblr and foursquare, two companies that have become top brands in the new internet boom and have raised tens of millions of dollars in venture capital between them, but have yet to find income-producing platforms for their services. Read More


Times Square South Feeling Tech Boom

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» When word began to trickle down last week that a confluence of lingering domestic and international worries were behind a sluggish third quarter of office leasing, few analysts were surprised. Indeed, amid questions surrounding the international debt crises, this country’s upcoming presidential elections and a fog of property tax and regulatory issues, rather than making big moves, many of the city’s largest corporate tenants have chosen to do nothing at all. But in Times Square South, Midtown’s third-largest submarket, tech startups and creative professionals continued to flock to the area’s high-ceilinged, big-windowed stock of office buildings, making it one of the few neighborhoods to show third-quarter improvement. Ken McCarthy, senior economist at Cushman & Wakefield, reviewed the neighborhood’s third-quarter activity with The Commercial Observer and explained why Times Square South did so well.   Read More


3Q12 Data Reveals Lingering Uncertainty

3Q12 for web

There was a time when it seemed certain 11 Times Square would command some of the highest rents in city.

The building, which was developed by a venture between SJP Properties and its equity partner Prudential, was finished in 2010. As one of the newest buildings in Midtown, it is widely considered state-of-the-art, with many of the bells and whistles that tenants are supposed to be willing to pay a premium for, such as towering ceiling heights, LEED-certified efficient systems, a floor-to-ceiling glass façade that offers prodigious light and few structural columns to impede the efficiency of its spaces.

Entering the market at a tough juncture during the recession, SJP Properties nonetheless appeared to take a hard line on rents, and rightfully so: the building cost more than $1 billion to develop. According to several sources familiar with the property and its leasing history, the landlord held fast to projections it had set before the downturn—rents in the $80s per square foot and beyond. Read More