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

REIT Beat

SL Green’s First Quarter Office Leasing Set to Blow Away 4Q 2012

SL Green CEO Marc Holliday

SL Green Realty Corp. today announced that 35 office leases covering 457,677 square feet were signed in its Manhattan portfolio during the first two months of the year, already trumping its totals from the fourth quarter of 2012.

The year so far was highlighted by a 150,865 square foot lease signed with Eisner Amper at 750 Third Avenue, and the firm also said it has 600,000 more square feet in the pipeline

“Even though first-quarter leasing is typically slow, we entered 2013 with confidence, given our overall assessment of the New York commercial real estate market and knowing what we had in the pipeline at that point,” SL Green’s CEO Marc Holliday said, in a statement.  “Our results and activity since January have far outpaced our expectations.” Read More

Sales Beat

SL Green $122 M. Retail Purchase Highlights Metered Q4 Growth

131-137 Spring Street

City records confirm real estate powerhouse SL Green Realty’s acquisition of a six-story retail, office and residential building at 131-137 Spring Street for $122.3 million late last year.

The acquisition of the prime retail location, adjacent to Chanel‘s Soho Flagship store, capped off what company executives lauded as a stellar fourth quarter given the economic uncertainty that permeated the industry in 2012.

“It was an excellent, excellent quarter as a standalone, and particularly in light of the headwinds,” SL Green CEO Marc Holliday said during the firm’s fourth quarter earnings call, referring specifically to the impacts of Hurricane Sandy, the uncertain election and the fiscal cliff crisis. Read More

Postings

Observer Media’s Masters of Real Estate, Minute by Minute by Minute

CO 11-13, Postings Page 22

More than 300 real estate professionals crowded the Metropolitan Club early Thursday morning, despite snow-covered sidewalks, for the Observer Media Group’s third annual Masters of Real Estate forum.

Sponsored by Fried Frank and Marks Paneth & Shron, the event drew boldface names like Larry Silverstein and Mortimer Zuckerman, who spoke about the devastation wrought by Sandy, not to mention financiers like Angelo Gordon & Co.’s Adam Schwartz and Rockpoint Group’s Keith Gelb, who weighed in on opportunistic investments.

Below, reporter Al Barbarino walks the room and listens in on the panels, striving to put his finger on the commercial real estate industry’s pulse, minute by minute. Read More

Power 100

The Commercial Observer’s Power 100 Gala, Minute by Minute, Drink for Drink

Gary Barnett, Among the Most Powerful Men in Real Estate.

Can The Commercial Observer party at its own party? You bet! The CO got down at its annual Power 100 celebration, which honors its picks for the top 100 most powerful, influential and successful real estate figures in the city. Held at the Core Club in Midtown on Monday night, the gathering featured a collection of the most distinguished owners, brokers, executives and politicians. After the jump, a minute-by-minute color commentary on the city’s most powerful human beings. Read More

Power 100

The REIT to Beat: SL Green’s Holliday, Mathias, Named Most Powerful

Marc Holliday and Andrew Mathias.

It was April 23, two days before SL Green’s first-quarter 2012 earnings were announced, and chatter was reaching a fever pitch: Would Viacom, which occupies about 1.3 million square feet at SL Green’s 1515 Broadway, choose to renew its lease or opt to follow its Times Square cousin Condé Nast in taking space in Downtown Manhattan? Read More

Lease Beat

Details of Big Viacom Deal Revealed

viacom

SL Green disclosed details of its recent large lease with Viacom on an earnings call yesterday, including that the media company will pay rents in the $50s per square foot for its 16 year renewal and expansion deal.

As The Commercial Observer first reported earlier this week, Viacom signed one of the city’s largest ever leases at 1515 Broadway to hold onto the 1.3 million square feet it currently occupies there and expand, beginning after 2020, into the building’s full 1.6 million square feet of office space. Read More

Face Off

Who’s the Biggest REIT in Town?

From his perch onstage at the Pierre Hotel last Thursday, Bill Ackman looked down his nose on REITs.

“You can make more money on a single real estate deal than as a REIT,” he said at the 16th annual REIT symposium hosted by the N.Y.U. Schack Institute. Mr. Ackman, who made at least some of Read More

SL Green Honchos on Foreign Investment, the Sapirs, the Aqueduct and the Collapsed Deal at 485 Lex

At the Mandarin Oriental on Monday afternoon, the city’s largest office landlord beamed rays of optimism onto its collective shareholders. 

“We can regain absorption quickly when people start hiring again,” said Marc Holliday, SL Green‘s CEO. “We’re at 85,000 job losses now, but that can quickly reverse itself. … It’s not going to take much, in Read More

Professor Skyscraper

In a late September planning conference at N.Y.U., Vishaan Chakrabarti strode into the college’s Kimmell Center a healthy hour after the event began.

Taking his place onstage, the former city planning official and development executive began to speak about his favorite project: the redevelopment of Pennsylvania Station-in the planning stages for nearly two decades-an effort Read More

Real Estate Titans Gather, Express Commercial Confidence

Amid increasingly apocalyptic prophecies about the fate of  New York’s commercial property market, more than a dozen “Masters of Real Estate” convened at the Metropolitan Club on Tuesday for an eponymous conference hosted by The Observer devoted to making sense of the market’s troubles. The major players appear to have emerged from the Read More

Big, Juicy Stake

Seven months into 2009, SL Green agreed to sell 49.5 percent of its stake in 485 Lexington Avenue for $504.2 million, in one of the biggest trades of a major Manhattan building in more than a year.

Once the deal is approved by SL Green’s mortgage lender, Wachovia, a joint venture between the Israeli technology Read More