The Madison Square Garden Area Is Starved for Upscale Dining Options

Onyx Equities is bringing a new three-story retail space to the market at 210 West 31st Street.

Robin Abrams was planning to see Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden one night two weeks ago and was at a loss searching for a restaurant where she and her husband could meet their out-of-town friends pre-concert.

Some trendy eatery with the name Batalli on the menu? Or Jean-Georges? Perhaps a Colicchio’?

No such luck. She and her pals settled on Europa Café before the concert—then Au Bon Pain by the Long Island Railroad afterward, so the friends could make their train. Read More


What Happens in Fight Club Isn’t Staying in Fight Club

Chris Kwiatkowski, at left, faces-off against Spencer Grekoski. (Steve Ferdman) 

More than 500 real estate executives hung out ringside for the biannual Real Estate Fight Night at Madison Square Garden on a recent Friday night to see amateur Muay Thai master Chris Kwiatkowski of J.D. Carlisle face-off against Spencer Grekoski. Their fight was just one of 20 Muay Thai or Mixed Martial Arts fights scheduled for the night.

The bloody and violent bouts began at 6 p.m. and culminated with the main event after midnight featuring Messrs. Kwiatkowski and Grekoski. Mr. Kwiatkowski lost in a knockout in the second round. Read More

Lease Beat

Legal Services Firm Inks Direct Garment District Expansion

450 Seventh Avenue

Court recording and legal services firm David Feldman Worldwide will expand from a subleased space at the Kaufman Organization‘s 450 Seventh Avenue through a five-year, 6,550-square-foot lease on the fifth floor of the building that’s one block north of Madison Square Garden between West 34th Street and West 35th Street, Commercial Observer has learned.

The landlords will accommodate the move by combining the company’s current 4,077-square-foot space with an adjacent unit at the building where asking rents run in the $50s. This shows the utility of the asset’s location, said Barbara Raskob, director of leasing for the Kaufman Organization. Read More


Real Estate Legend Arthur G. Cohen Passes at 84

Olympic Tower

Legendary real estate developer Arthur G. Cohen, a magnate who formed the Arlen Realty and Development Corporation, passed away on Aug. 9 at his family’s home in Kings Point, N.Y., The New York Times reported on Friday.

Mr. Cohen bought and renovated 15,000 apartment units in the city, formed part of the team behind the mixed-use One Worldwide Plaza on the former site of Madison Square Garden, and combined with Aristotle Onassis on the 51-story Olympic Tower adjacent to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Read More


Municipal Art Society Launches Development Rights Map

Municipal Art Society

The Municipal Art Society, a longtime city planning and preservation advocacy group, launched an interactive map that allows New Yorkers to see what sites in any of the city’s neighborhoods can take on extra square footage over their existing footprints, the organization announced last week.

The nonprofit marshaled the Department of City Planning’s MapPLUTO tax lot data into a color-coded, building-by-building map with overlays for parks, historic districts and subway lines. Read More

Lease Beat

Big East Conference Moving to Big Apple

Providence forward Kadeem Batts (10) dunks on Xavier's Matt Stainbrook (40). (Credit: Frank Victores, USA TODAY)

The Big East Conference is betting on the Big Apple to help usher in a new era.

The reconfigured conference has chosen The Durst Organization’s 655 Third Avenue in Midtown as its official headquarters after cutting a 10-year, 13,742-square-foot lease across the seventh floor of the 30-story property. Read More

The Sit-Down

Gale Brewer and the Battle Against 7-Eleven

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer in her 1 Centre Street office.

Gale Brewer has lived on the Upper West Side since 1970. She served as the area’s City Council member for 12 years, concluding at the end of 2013, before starting as the 27th Manhattan borough president. Ms. Brewer, who plans to open a ground-floor district office on West 125th Street, joined with city preservationists earlier this month to call for reforms to the landmarking process following the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s refusal to consider landmark status for the Rizzoli Bookstore building at 31 West 57th Street. As Manhattan Beep, Ms. Brewer is tasked with advising the mayor and City Council on borough concerns, providing feedback on all land-use matters, advocating for New York County in the municipal budget process and appointing members of the 12 community boards. Ms. Brewer successfully advocated for the passage of legislation while in the City Council that would compel landlords to fix repeat violations as well as a law that requires all city data be published online. In February, Commercial Observer chatted with Ms. Brewer in her office at 1 Centre Street about adjusting to her new position, her beef with 7-Elevens and the easiest and most challenging developers to work with. Read More

On the Market

Seventh Avenue Retail Space Hits the Market for Lease

425-427 Seventh Avenue. (Credit: PropertyShark)

A potential flagship retail opportunity in the shadow of Madison Square Garden is being marketed for lease by Eastern Consolidated, Commercial Observer has learned.

The two-building space, located at 425-427 Seventh Avenue, boasts 2,400 square feet of space on the ground, basement and second levels, with the third and fourth floors potentially available for a total of 12,000 square feet. The entire property is being marketed as a triple-net lease for $1.9 million per year. Read More

Lease Beat

Burger Joint Smashes into Heavy Traffic Zone

A smashburger

Smashburger has signed a 5,432-square-foot new lease for a retail space at 10 West 33rd Street with plans to move in this coming April.

David Levy, principal of Adams & Co., who represented the tenant and the landlord, struck a concurrent deal for 1,385 square feet of contiguous space for a Dunkin Donuts.

“This is Read More

Year in Real Estate

The Year in Commercial Real Estate


An astounding 54.3 million tourists are expected to have visited New York City by the end of this year, many of them for the first time. And while, of course, for many of these visitors, a runway at LaGuardia or the back of a cab driver’s head will be their first impressions of the city, the more memorable vision will be the one that has been enchanting tourists ever since 1870, when construction workers topped out the 130-foot tall Equitable Life Assurance Building, long considered the Big Apple’s first skyscraper. Read More

Year in Real Estate

Hold the MSG: World’s Most Famous Arena Gets 10 Years to Find New Home

Madison Square Garden Renewed

There had been rumblings for years.

Ever since the original Penn Station was demolished to make way for Madison Square Garden in the 1960s, commuters and architecture critics alike bemoaned the cramped subterranean train hub and the unsightly arena perched above it.

Then, like a spark, Michael Kimmelman, The New York Times architecture critic, brought the debate to the fore with a column in February urging the City Council to deny Madison Square Garden’s request to renew its permit to operate in perpetuity. With a request set to begin the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, it couldn’t have come at a more pivotal moment.

Read More


Tending the Garden: An Annotated Look at the New MSG


Last week, Madison Square Garden unveiled the final stage of its massive $1 billion renovation project to the media and special guests. The following night, the arena reopened to fans for the Knicks final preseason game.

The three-year process has yielded a number of unique new features for the iconic venue, which was beginning to show its age, a ripe 45 years.

Below are some key facts and figures about the newly renovated arena and what fans have to look forward to this season.

Read More

The Sit-Down

Garden State of Mind: Architect Murray Beynon on the Renovation of Madison Square Garden

131024 Yang_Observer MSG-11

Last Thursday, Madison Square Garden debuted the final phase of its three-stage transformation process to the media. The arena has now been thoroughly transformed into a modern facility befitting its self-styled title as the World’s Most Famous Arena. The process, which added two bridges suspended above the event floor, was not without controversy. Many fans, especially those die-hards seated in the arena’s upper bowl, were concerned their sight lines would be obstructed by the innovative additions. The project’s head architect, Murray Beynon of BBB Architects, spoke with The Commercial Observer last week about concerns over the Chase Bridges and insights into the unique challenges presented by creating a modern arena inside a nearly 50-year-old structure.


Read More


Check Out Newly Renovated Madison Square Garden

10 Photos

131024 Yang_Observer MSG-11

Yesterday, Madison Square Garden debuted the third and final phase of the arena’s three-year transformation process to the media. The Commercial Observer was on hand to view all of the latest additions to the venue, including the renovated Seventh Avenue entrance and the Chase Bridges. The Garden will open to fans tonight when the New York Knicks take on the Charlotte Bobcats in the team’s final preseason game. The New York Rangers will host the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night. Check out photos of the arena and Thursday’s media event after the jump. Read More