Lease Beat

Hale & Hearty Takes Space in MetroTech Center

2 MetroTech Center

Hale & Hearty Soups will be opening at 2 MetroTech Center in Downtown Brooklyn this fall after signing a 10-year lease for 1,760 square feet, MetroTech Center developer Forest City Ratner Companies announced.

New York-based Hale & Hearty, which has 30 locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Long Island, sells sandwiches made with artisanal breads, salads and 15 to 20 different soups per day. All soups are made from scratch in Hale & Hearty’s Brooklyn kitchens. Read More

The Sit-Down

Tucker Reed Won’t Sleep Until Downtown Brooklyn Becomes a 24/7 Community

Tucker Reed, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership

Tucker Reed is sweet on Brooklyn—big time. A resident of Prospect Heights who enjoys frequenting the Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Mr. Reed is a champion of the city’s most populous borough. He is a ball of energy as he talks about all of the work the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership has done with him as president for the past two years, from supporting the technology sector with the Brooklyn Tech Triangle Coalition to establishing Downtown Brooklyn as New York City’s college town. About a year after Commercial Observer conducted the Sit-Down interview with Mr. Tucker, we wanted to check in and see how the nonprofit has been doing with the reinvention of Downtown Brooklyn. Read More


MaryAnne Gilmartin Named Co-Chair of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership Board

MaryAnne Gilmartin

MaryAnne Gilmartin, president and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies, and tech leader MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis will serve as the new co-chairs of the board of directors of the nonprofit Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.

“When the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership launched in 2006, Downtown Brooklyn looked, felt and served a very different role than today,” Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Tucker Reed said in a statement. “Now, new firms and families are choosing to be here because of the neighborhood’s strong foundation and rich history. MaryAnne and Bre embody a new generation of Brooklyn entrepreneurs, and I am delighted that we’ll be able to tap into their experience and wisdom.” Read More

Atlantic Yards

State to Pay $300,000 to Lawyers Who Won Atlantic Yards Timetable Case


Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing the Atlantic Yards megadevelopment in Brooklyn, has agreed to pay $300,000 in fees to lawyers representing two community coalitions that won a lingering lawsuit over the project’s timetable.

The lawyers successfully challenged the agency’s decision, in 2009, to extend the potential build-out of the project to 25 years, while only studying the impact of a five-year delay on a project long billed as taking 10 years. 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

Barclays Center

Barclays Center Seeks Second-Year ‘Efficiencies’

Barclays Center.

The busy Barclays Center in Brooklyn may have earned steady revenue in its first year, but the cost of running the building to ensure a good customer experience means a “slower-than-expected ramp-up” and a drag on Forest City Enterprises operating margins, officials said this morning.

Coming soon are some “efficiencies,” yet unspecified, but likely involving staff, given previous statements that start-up staffing was higher than anticipated over the long-term. “We have, with the arena management, come up with ways to keep the service level but drive the efficiencies at multiple areas within the building,” MaryAnne Gilmartin, CEO of subsidiary Forest City Ratner, told investment analysts during a conference call this morning to discuss second-quarter results.

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Forest City Ratner Continues to Reshuffle, Names Berliner COO

Mr. Berliner

David Berliner has been named chief operating officer of Forest City Ratner Companies, it was announced earlier today. Mr. Berliner had formerly been serving as general counsel for the development company.

“David has long been a valuable member of the executive team with a thorough knowledge of the entire company,” MaryAnne Gilmartin, newly-appointed president and chief executive officer, said in a prepared statement. “As Chief Operating Officer, he will be a key member of my leadership team and a great partner as I take over the day-to-day responsibilities of the company.” Read More

The Sit-Down

Our Lady of the Forest: MaryAnne Gilmartin On Taking Charge at FCRC

MaryAnne Gilmartin

Last week, Forest City Enterprises confirmed what had become an open secret in New York real estate circles: MaryAnne Gilmartin would succeed Bruce Ratner as president and chief executive of the company’s New York subsidiary, Forest City Ratner Companies. Ms Gilmartin spoke with The Commercial Observer on the day of the announcement last week about the process of deciding on a succession plan, what she will bring to the table and how her ascension to the top of FCRC will impact the way women are viewed in the real estate industry.

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The Lobby

Forest City Ratner Confirms Succession Plans

MaryAnne Gilmartin

Forest City Ratner Companies today confirmed what has long been understood in New York real estate circles: MaryAnne Gilmartin will succeed Bruce Ratner as president and chief executive officer of the development company.

Mr. Ratner, 68, will serve as the executive chairman of FCRC, stepping aside so that Ms. Gilmartin, executive vice president of commercial and residential development, can take over.

“I’m exhilarated by the notion of being able to partner with Bruce going forward, but I know business,” Ms. Gilmartin told The Commercial Observer in a telephone interview. “I am a developer at heart so Bruce and I are like-minded in terms of the importance of civic building and community and how we create great places.” Read More

The Sit-Down

Marketing the World: Silverstein Properties’ Jeremy Moss on Leasing the Country’s Most Conspicuous Building Complex

(Credit: Darcy Rogers)

Before Jeremy Moss, senior vice president of leasing at Silverstein Properties, joined the firm four and a half years ago, he spent eight years working at Forest City Ratner, a tenure that culminated in a role managing the leasing of the office space at the New York Times building. He called working alongside Bruce Ratner Read More


Bruce Ratner’s Game of Life

CO Page 20 - Postings

Last week, news that Bruce Ratner would be stepping down as chief executive officer of Forest City Ratner rippled through the real estate industry, even as others in New York wondered aloud what it would mean for the company’s
yet-to-be-completed Atlantic Yards project.

After the jump, a brief and incomplete timeline of Mr. Ratner’s career and life. Read More

The Lobby

It’s True: Bruce Ratner to Step Down as Forest City CEO


Bruce Ratner is stepping down as CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies, a source tied to the organization tells The Commercial Observer, confirming rumors that have been swirling around the industry for the past year.

Mr. Ratner, 68, will step aside this winter, assuming the role of company chairman and putting MaryAnne Gilmartin, the firm’s current executive vice president of development and leasing, at the helm of the firm’s day-to-day operations, the source said.

“It’s been in the works for a significant amount of time… over the last year or so,” the source said.  “Everyone knows Bruce is a mentor to her (Ms. Gilmartin) and that she was being groomed for the role.”

“The stories are accurate,” he added, referring to the string of media reports that followed suit after an initial report published in Crain’s yesterday.

The decision begs the question of whether the man behind the Barclays Center and Metrotech Center in Brooklyn, and the 52-Story marvel and home to The New York Times at 620 Eighth Avenue, has simply had enough of the day-to-day squabbles that characterized the last decade of his tenure at the firm. Read More


Ballroom Waltz: A Minute-By-Minute Account of Last Night’s REBNY Gala

REBNY Ballroom final

Thursday’s Real Estate Board of New York gala packed an estimated 2,400 guests into the Hilton New York’s overstuffed Grand Ballroom—an increase from last year by about 200. The Commercial Observer walked the room, hobnobbed with brokers and landlords and taste-tested a dinner of steak and potatoes while washing it all down with a few stiff drinks. Staff Reporters Karsten Strauss and Al Barbarino get the inside dish.

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