Wired City

NYC Provides 95 Blocks of Free Wi-Fi Coverage

The city will launch one of the nation’s largest free public Wi-Fi networks in Harlem—just in time for the holidays, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced last week.

The new Wi-Fi network will cover about 95 city blocks in the area. The Wi-Fi will go from 110th Street and Frederick Douglas Boulevard near Central Park, reaching up to 138th Street and Madison Avenue. The Free Wi-Fi is a part of a long-term initiative by the city to beef up free Internet access across the city.

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The Sit-Down

The Company Man: Seth Pinsky Reflects on EDC and Looks Ahead at RXR

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In July, Seth Pinsky, then the president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, announced he would soon shift from the public sector to the private sector. In his decade-long stint at the EDC, Mr. Pinsky boosted his reputation citywide by helping to secure a number of high-profile development projects, including Atlantic Yards, Hudson Yards and the Cornell Tech campus, and by initiating the response to areas of the city hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy. In his next chapter, Mr. Pinsky will spearhead RXR Realty’s Emerging Markets platform, which aims to identify growth opportunities in New York City and the surrounding metropolitan area. Mr. Pinsky, who joined RXR last month as executive vice president, spoke with The Commercial Observer last week at the developer’s Midtown offices and spent time discussing his tenure at the EDC and his new role. Read More

Lease Beat

Towering Data Center Lands Another Tenant

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Co-location data center Windstream Corp. has reportedly signed an 11,000-square-foot, 15-year lease at Intergrate.Manhattan, a one-million-square-foot data center 375 Pearl Street.

Sabey Data Center Properties converted the property two years into the world’s tallest data center, and the lease brings the owner one step closer to achieving the goal of ushering in a new era Read More

Architecture & Design

Picturing the Office Stairwell of the Future

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Instead of dark and drab, imagine the stairwell of a commercial building with windows looking out to the street and vibrant colors on the walls. These simple steps could be the first stages in promoting stair use in New York office buildings.

Earlier this month, Mayor Bloomberg announced that New York City would promote the use of stairs in buildings and public spaces through the Center for Active Design. In light of the announcement, Rick Bell, executive director at the American Institute of Architects New York chapter,  likened stair use to bicycling, a healthier, though not necessarily more popular, alternative to other transportation methods. Read More

Wired City

Fiber Broadband: What Is That?

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg last summer announced a suite of initiatives to expand New York City’s broadband connectivity.

Aimed at bolstering the tech sector and providing businesses and residents with high-speed Internet services, the initiatives were an admirable step forward.

Big Apple residents, however, soon realized that with regard to high-speed Internet, New York City has a long and expensive way to go. Read More

Cover Story

Hostel Takeover: The Return of the Backpacker Crash Pad

Hostels See Increase In Business As Travelers Look To Save On Lodging

Jerry Kremer wouldn’t back down on the matter of bunk beds.

Mr. Kremer, a former New York State assemblyman and founder of Empire Government Strategies, is lobbying for the passage of legislation that would permit the licensing of hostels in the city and encourage their growth here. New York has never really embraced the hostel Read More

Controversies

Bloomberg LP Leases Posh Penthouse As Mayor Fumes Over Reporting Scandal

(nymag.com)

Have you ever splurged when you’re pissed off, or when someone’s pissed off at you? That’s kind of what Bloomberg LP just did.

The global media company has leased 68,000 additional square feet of pristine space at Global Holdings‘ 120 Park Avenue on the heels of a client data breach that has reportedly infuriated its high-profile owner: Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Read More

Hockey

Bronx to Get World’s Largest Ice Facility, Athletes Rejoice

(Mark Messier, 1994)

Hockey players and ice skaters tired of playing third or fourth fiddle to the city’s other premier sports may rejoice – the world’s largest indoor ice facility is coming to the Bronx.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced plans yesterday to transform the landmarked Kingsbridge Armory into a 750,000-square-foot ice sports facility with nine year-round indoor regulation-size hockey rinks, and athletes on hand for the announcement said the facility will change the face of ice sports in the city and provide hope for the dreams of future Olympians.

“The Kingsbridge National Ice Center will change the sport in the metropolitan area,” said New York Rangers legend and National Hockey League Hall of Famer Mark Messier.  “As a New Yorker, I know it will also change this city, providing invaluable educational and athletic opportunity to thousands of young people, and transforming the Bronx into the new center of ice sports in the United States.” Read More

Sales Beat

Joseph Chetrit and Partners Sling $150 M. at Former Cabrini Medical Center Site

Joe Chetrit (DNAinfo/Mathew Katz)

Joseph Chetrit is in contract to purchase the 1.5-acre former Cabrini Medical Center site at Second Avenue and East 19th Street, The Wall Street Journal reported today.

The Chetrit Group and its partners have agreed to pay more than $150 million for the five-building complex owned by Memorial Sloan-Kettering, sources familiar with the deal confirmed with The Commercial Observer.

The Journal noted that Mr. Chetrit is purchasing the property with the same group of investors that he bought the Sony Building with, which included David Bistricer and put the man at the helm of Clipper Equities on the map among commercial real estate’s elite. Read More

Development

Developers Break Ground at 7 Bryant Park

Rendering of 7 Bryant Park

Developers broke ground at 7 Bryant Park yesterday, with a consortium of public officials including Mayor Michael Bloomberg gathering to pitch the trophy office tower as a boon for the city.

Politicians are touting the planned 28-story, 470,000-square-foot steel and glass tower, slated for completion in the first quarter of 2015, as a magnet for good jobs, talent and companies.

“The best days are still to come to Bryant Park – a place the city has worked hard to bring roaring back to life,” Mr. Bloomberg said at the ceremony, adding that the project will bring “more top-tier, cutting-edge commercial space, and more leading companies and their tax revenue to Midtown Manhattan.” Read More

Sales Beat

Sale of Inwood Property for $11.3 M. Highlights Value of City Parks

A view from Inwood's Fort Tryon Park

A mixed-use, rent regulated building across the street from the Fort Tryon Park at 4740 Broadway has been sold for $11.3 million in the Inwood neighborhood, The Commercial Observer has learned.

The six-story building boasts great upside, given its low rents and proximity to the notable neighborhood amenity, situated along the Hudson River.  The property contains six commercial units and 68 residential units — 62 rent stabilized units, five rent controlled units, and one super’s unit.

This property has tremendous potential due to its extremely low residential rents and fantastic retail corner location,” said Massey Knakal’s Robert Shapiro, who exclusively handled the transaction. Read More

Post-Tropical Storm Sandy

City Stretches Zoning Code to Address Growing Concern Over Climate Change

Sandy barrels toward the northeast (Credit: NASA)

The city announced today that it is implementing new measures that will stretch current zoning codes in order to help property owners update buildings to meet new flood standards in the wake of Hurricane Sandy — and in the face of climate change.

The measures will allow home and building owners to rebuild destroyed properties and meet new safety standards. They are also intended to limit the cost of future federal flood insurance premiums by better protecting properties in flood-prone areas.

“We are beginning the process of updating our building code and zoning regulations so that new construction meets standards that reflect the best available data about flood and climate risks,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a statement.  “This is particularly important for homes and businesses damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy – and the rules we are putting in place today will enable them to rebuild and re-open safely.” Read More

Tourism Booms Again

City Breaks Tourism Record Again With 52 Million Visitors in 2012

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The city logged another record-breaking year for tourism in 2012, with 52 million visitors helping to create $55.3 billion in economic impact, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on Monday.

The new record – made up of 41 million domestic and 11 million international visitors – reflected a 2.1 percent increase over 2011, achieved despite the impacts of Hurricane Sandy. Read More