Lease Beat

High-End Jeweler Alexis Bittar Signs Lease for HQ in Dumbo Heights

77 Sands Street.

Trendy jeweler Alexis Bittar has signed a 10-year lease for its headquarters at Dumbo Heights, the complex owned by Kushner Companies, RFR Realty and LIVWRK.

First reported by The Real Deal, Alexis Bittar is moving its office headquarters to the entire 10th floor, an 18,800-square-foot space, at 77 Sands Street. TRD noted that the asking rent for the space is $58 per square foot. The company will relocate from 45 Main Street in Dumbo. Read More


Extell, Kushner Companies Close $132M in Financing For New Jersey Purchase

Pier Village

A partnership of Extell Development and Kushner Companies closed a new take-out loan of $97 million while assuming $32 million in debt on a New Jersey multifamily building the pair purchased last November.

The duo bought Pier Village, a 492-unit mixed-use development at One Chelsea Avenue in Long Branch, for $180 million, with $51 million in bridge financing from Capital One. Now, they’ve finalized a $97 million long-term fixed-rate take-out with Fannie Mae, which retired the Capital One bridge loan, and assumed a $32 million Freddie Mac loan on the property originated by PNC Bank, according to representatives for both companies. The Freddie Mac loan was originated in mid-2013 and carries a seven-year term. Read More

Lease Beat

Restaurant and Hair Salon Sign East Village Leases

167 Avenue A

Mediterranean restaurant Ethos and hair salon Shampoo will open new locations in the East Village through ground floor and basement leases in Kushner Companies properties, Commercial Observer has learned.

The two new deals for the restaurant in a 3,680-square-foot space at 167 Avenue A between East 10th and East 11th Streets and the salon in a 2,334-square-foot storefront at 14 Avenue B between East 2nd Street and Houston Street lead a portfolio of seven other retail spaces that RKF is marketing on behalf of Kushner in locations stretching across the Village and bordering the Soho area–potential locations that offer retailers excellent value, said RKF senior director Ross Berkowitz. Read More

Cover Story, Feature

Etsy Takes Brooklyn

(Sergio Herrera/Flickr)

Up on a hill, yet down under the Brooklyn Bridge overpass, sits Dumbo Heights, a collection of manufacturing buildings including the former Watchtower buildings. Once owned by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the properties were home to printing presses that churned out the religious organization’s pamphlets and Bibles, as well as corporate offices and dry-cleaning services for members of the delegation.

Last October, the Witnesses sold six of these buildings to Kushner Companies, Invesco, LIVWRK and RFR Realty for $375 million. They joined forces to turn the properties into perhaps the largest and most advanced creative technology hub in New York, a campus meant to rival even the legendary campuses of Silicon Valley. LIVWRK’s chief executive officer, Asher Abehsera, branded the campus Dumbo Heights and a new kind of New York City development was born. (Kushner Companies CEO Jared Kushner is the publisher of Commercial Observer.)  Read More

Lease Beat

Etsy Signs Lease to Anchor Dumbo Heights

117 Adams Street. (Dumbo Heights)

Online shopping site Etsy has signed a 200,000-square-foot lease to anchor the Dumbo Heights development in Brooklyn. The company is expected to relocate its headquarters to space at 117 Adams Street and 55 Prospect Street by 2016.

Etsy’s space will be divided between 172,000 square feet at 117 Adams Street and 26,500 square feet in an adjacent building at 55 Prospect Street, according to an announcement from the tenant’s brokers. The two units are connected via a sky bridge. Read More

Big Moves

Lori Shabtai Departs Winick, Mulls Next Move

Lori Shabtai

Broker Lori Shabtai has left Winick Realty Group, where she started her real estate career in 2005, Commercial Observer has learned.

She said she left of her own accord and is contemplating her next career move while penning a series of books about her life. She said she has been in talks with people in various industries about job opportunities, but declined to elaborate.  Read More

Brooklyn Beat

Brooklyn as a Borough of Families

Institutional investors, real estate investment trusts, large national development firms—often based in Manhattan—are now quite active in Brooklyn, after years of borough-based families dominating the scene.

Two years ago the Manhattan big boys were ignoring efforts to join the rush—now they all want in.

The last three decades of the Brooklyn’s great leap forward was Read More

Masters of Real Estate

Developers Optimistic at 5th Annual Masters of Real Estate Conference Despite Political Uncertainty

The New York Observer- Masters of Real Estate

There’s “something major” happening in every submarket in the city, but will gridlock in Washington and the impending mayoral election thrust the city back into recession – or even into a backdrop of crime and bankruptcy reminiscent of the 1970’s?

Not a chance, said a group of the city’s top real estate developers at Observer Read More


Partnership Behind Watchtower Buy Taps CPEX to Lease Retail Space


The partnership behind the $375 million acquisition of the Watchtower portfolio in Dumbo has appointed Brooklyn-based real estate services company CPEX to lease the development’s retail space, The Commercial Observer has learned.

The deal, which ranks as the largest so far this year in Brooklyn, could feature a variety of retail opportunities including food hall concepts and gym facilities, in addition to its office campus use. Read More

Wired City

City Launches Wireless Corridor Challenge and WiredNYC

(Photo: Celeste Sloman)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced two new tech initiatives to expand the city’s access to wireless and broadband connectivity, one of which encourages the deployment of leading broadband technologies across its commercial real estate buildings.

The Wireless Corridor Challenge will establish free public WiFi corridors in each of the five boroughs, while WiredNYC, described as LEED Read More

Sales Beat

CIM Group Pays $104 M. for 5 Hanover Square


An affiliate of Los Angeles-based CIM Group has purchased 5 Hanover Square from Savanna’s The Savanna Fund II REIT for $104 million.

The 25-story, 330,000-square-foot building, located on the northern side of Hanover Square, between Pearl and Beaver Streets in Manhattan’s Financial District, also contains roughly 7,500 square feet of retail on the ground floor. Read More

Sales Beat

RFR and Kushner Companies to Acquire Watchtower Dumbo Properties


RFR Realty and Kushner Companies have agreed to acquire a six-property portfolio in Dumbo from the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York for $375 million. The sale is the latest in a series of transactions for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who are in the process of transitioning their headquarters from Brooklyn to Orange County, New York.

“We are delighted to partner with Kushner Companies and team with LIVWRK to become the new stewards for these exceptional properties in this burgeoning neighborhood,” said Jason Brown, head of acquisitions at RFR, in a prepared statement. Read More