Stat of the Week
The current difference between average Class B Midtown and Midtown South asking rents is $6.45 per square foot. If we polled brokers on which market’s asking rent was higher, nine out of 10 would probably choose Midtown.
And they would be wrong.
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.
2012 Owners Magazine
A few years ago, a city Department of Finance official noticed irregularities in the way certain residential properties had been appraised by the agency, leading to slightly lower-than-normal valuations.
To compensate, the official suggested the department decrease its assessments across the board for the group, which mostly comprised single-family homes and small co-op buildings in an area of one of the boroughs.
Dropping the valuations slightly below usual thresholds would reduce the taxes the city could collect, but only by a few percentage points—a seemingly harmless amount in the face of the billions of dollars the agency assesses—and it would allow the department to restore uniformity and equanimity to its calculations, one of the mandates of its process.
What appeared to be an innocuous adjustment, however, garnered a backlash that was swift and forceful. Top officials at the department were summoned to Mayor Bloomberg’s Upper East Side townhouse. There they were confronted by the mayor and irate senior executives from the city’s budget office, the person said.
Though the theme of the meeting was ostensibly to discuss the irregularities and why the department had chosen lower assessments, the underlying message was clear: don’t trifle with the city’s revenue.
“I feel like we got taken out to the backyard to get whipped,” the source said, requesting anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the meeting.
The New York Genome Center has signed a 20-year, 170,000-square-foot lease at Edward Minskoff’s 101 Avenue of the Americas to establish the largest genetic sequencing facility in the city.
Mayor Bloomberg, who was on hand at a press conference held at the Hudson Square building this morning to announce the deal, said the lease was evidence of how biotech and life sciences companies were moving to the city and helping to diversify the local economy.
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.
In the spring, the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability will release data for the first time revealing energy consumption in office buildings in the city.
By making such figures available to the public, Mr. Bloomberg hopes to essentially do to building owners what he has done with national food chains: incentivize them—or shame them, depending on your perspective—into significantly reducing their energy consumption.
“A customer will go into a restaurant now and they’ll say to themselves, ‘maybe I won’t have that doughnut that has 500 calories’,” said Constantine Kontokosta, a professor at New York University and director of its Center for The Sustainable Built Environment, a working group that is assisting the city with its analysis and release of the electrical consumption data.
“On the producer side, you have companies like Starbucks who are also responding to the disclosure, rearranging their offerings so they no longer have 1,000 calorie cupcakes but healthier fare.”
As the entertainment and media bubble grows, Andrew Kimball’s head begins to hurt.
“It makes me crazy when I hear an economist report on the sectors in the city and the manufacturing bubble is always shrinking,” said Mr. Kimball, president and chief executive of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp., the nonprofit tasked with managing the 300-acre site for New York City, which owns it. “But you see right next to it the entertainment and media bubble and those are expanding.”
It is very obvious that we are approaching election season in New York, as the fundraisers and calls from local politicians are starting to come with greater frequency.
Given the budget deficits that New York is facing, both at the city and state level, one of the questions I always ask politicians looking for donations is what three specific line items in the city budget do they believe could withstand cutbacks. I have never received a straightforward answer to this question and most of the time the default position from the politician is, “We must work hard to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse.”
The Neverending Story
The Neverending Story
So maybe it wasn’t a bombshell after all, the “news” yesterday that Larry Silverstein might not be able to finish 3 World Trade Center all the way, leaving it instead as a seven-story retail and mechanical stump for the time being. In a statement, the downtown don insists he will find a tenant, and he has about two years to do it before he must truly pull the trigger and decide to cap the tower or to keep building.
It’s not often a developer can affect the lexicon, but this year Douglas Durst and the Durst Organization have helped do just that.
For the past 10 years, the giant hole next to West Street has been referred to as Ground Zero, a bitter reminder of the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
Perhaps the best way to describe Angela Pinsky’s advocacy for the real estate industry is by saying that when she joined the Real Estate Board of New York almost two years ago, she didn’t see her job as much different from the one she was leaving in the mayor’s office.
“I work on a lot of the same issues,” said Ms. Pinsky, who married Economic Development Corporation head Seth Pinsky last summer. “The thing about the real estate industry, it’s very civic minded. Many owners are family businesses and there’s this strong tradition in the industry of wanting projects and policies that are best not just for the industry’s own interests, but for the entire city.
It was a typical evening at the Real Estate Board of New York’s annual gala as John Cardinal O’Connor stepped up to the dais to address a crowd of several thousand of the city’s most ambitious commercial real estate brokers and owners.
But in a ritual repeated more or less each year, the archbishop of the New York archdiocese’s 2.37 million Catholics and one of the Vatican’s most forceful spokesmen in the United States during the 1980s, was summarily ignored by a brokerage community far more interested in making deals than in hearing the Gospel.
Everybody Go Downtown
Ladies and gentlemen, Lower Manhattan has arrived. At least according to this new five-minute tourist ad, anyway.
Up until it closed more than a year ago, Tavern on the Green was one of the hottest restaurants in town. Sure, it was an inside joke for most New Yorkers (see: Requiem for a Dream), but still, up until the end, it was one of the, and often the, top-grossing restaurant in the Read More