Lease Beat

Gap Takes Nascent Downtown Marriott Retail Space

An image of the new Marriott Residence Inn at 170 Broadway. (Credit: Stonehill & Taylor)

Clothing chain Gap Inc. has reportedly signed a roughly 18,900-square-foot lease for a three-level space at the upcoming Marriott Residence Inn at 170 Broadway in Lower Manhattan.

The store reportedly features a 6,500-square-foot ground floor, where asking rents were $600 per square foot, as well as a 5,400-square-foot lower level and 7,000-square-foot second floor. Read More

The Sit-Down

JLL’s Downtown Don: John Wheeler

John Wheeler. (Credit: Lea Rubin)

John Wheeler was tapped in March 2012 to run JLL’s lower Manhattan office after returning to the firm in 2009. He is a managing director at the company and has been with JLL for 14 years. He had two stints working on the principle side of the business for Gramercy Capital and Antares Real Estate Partners. Today he directs JLL’s efforts on Gramercy Capital’s 13.5-million-square-foot national portfolio. A couple of his key transactions have been a 500,000-square-foot sublease to Morgan Stanley at 1 New York Plaza and a 450,000-square-foot master lease to the City of New York at 180 Water Street. In his entire career, Mr. Wheeler, 52, has negotiated 13 million square feet of leases for clients. Last week, Commercial Observer sat down with Mr. Wheeler in his office at 140 Broadway and talked about lower Manhattan post-Superstorm Sandy, leasing prices being pushed from the bottom up and the newly distinguished submarket of the Water Street corridor. Read More

Sales Beat

Purchase of Thor Equities’ 530 Bway Closes at $326M [Updated]

530 Broadway

A joint venture led by Jeff Sutton’s Wharton Properties has nabbed a three-building site at 530 Broadway from Joseph Sitt‘s Thor Equities for $326 million. The sale closed on March 6 and appeared in public records today.

The retail mogul bought the 11-story property to extend his dominance in Soho. It hit the market in February 2013 and Mr. Sitt agreed to sell it to the new owners that September.  Read More

Mortgage Observer

Rockrose Receives Morgan Stanley Loan for LIC Residential Tower

Linc LIC

New York brokerage firm The Singer & Bassuk Organization has negotiated a $240 million loan on behalf of luxury real estate owner Rockrose Development Corp. to refinance its 42-story rental tower Linc LIC‎ in Long Island City, Mortgage Observer has exclusively learned.

Morgan Stanley provided the 10-year loan, which closed on Friday, March 6, Andrew Singer, Singer & Bassuk’s chairman and chief executive officer, said, noting that the loan could be securitized in the future. The permanent mortgage replaces a 5-year $155 million construction loan from October 2011 provided by a syndicate of lenders led by Wells Fargo. Read More

Mortgage Observer

J.P. Morgan’s Priscilla Almodovar Takes Banking on Community to New Heights

Priscilla Almodovar, Head of Community Development Banking at J.P. Morgan Chase (Photo by Michael Nagle)

A first-generation American daughter of Puerto Rican parents, Priscilla Almodovar has a corner office with jaw-dropping views on the 45th floor of a Manhattan skyscraper—home to one of the most powerful banks in the world. The native of Sunset Park, Brooklyn, is working tirelessly to deploy J.P. Morgan Chase’s colossal balance sheet in the section of the real estate world she’s most passionate about: the less-than-glamorous but increasingly important affordable housing industry.

“I am exhibit A for the American dream,” Ms. Almodovar told Mortgage Observer during an interview at her office in January.

Read More

Lease Beat

Talbots Signs Lease at 2 Park Avenue

2 Park Avenue (courtesy of PropertyShark)

Retailer Talbots has signed a 12-year, 49,574-square-foot lease for office space on the second floor of 2 Park Avenue, The Commercial Observer has learned.

The tenant will pay rent in the low $50s per square foot, according to data from CompStak. A previous lease for Penn Mutual on the building’s third floor saw the tenant pay rent in the high $40s per square foot. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Q&A: Peter Sotoloff, Managing Director and Head of Originations at Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies

Peter Sotoloff

Mortgage Observer met with Mr. Sotoloff, who BREDS Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer Michael Nash calls ‘employee No. 1.’ He spoke about his experience on both the financing and development/acquisition sides of commercial real estate and the opportunity to help establish Blackstone’s debt business in the fall of 2007. Read More


Flagship Retail Locations Could Spell REIT after Hudson’s Bay, Saks Deal


Hudson’s Bay Company will explore the creation of a real estate investment trust as the company’s proposed acquisition of Saks Inc. stands to add a number of flagship retail locations to the company’s portfolio. HBC agreed to acquire Saks for $16.00 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $2.9 billion.

The merger will create a large real estate portfolio that will include the Saks Fifth Avenue locations on Fifth Avenue in New York and Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, as well as Lord & Taylor’s Fifth Avenue location. Read More

Lease Beat

Leasing Activity Continues at 101 Park Avenue


Morgan Stanley has signed a long-term renewal for 39,000 square feet across the 23rd and 24th floors at 101 Park Avenue, it was announced today.

“101 Park Avenue has always been and continues to be a property where our tenants are able to provide their employees and clients the best environment possible for conducting business,” said Peter Kalikow, owner and developer of 101 Park Avenue, in a statement. “I am proud of the fact that 101 Park Avenue has such a prestigious roster of tenants who recognize value and stay for a long time.” Read More

Mortgage Observer

Experts: Lots of Opportunities for U.S. Investors in European Debt

Southern Spain.

When comparing the re-emergence of Europe’s real estate market with how real estate has recovered in the United States, investors and analysts speaking to The Mortgage Observer often pointed out, to use a baseball metaphor, that Europe today is barely in the first inning. Of course, this metaphor would hardly be appreciated in Europe. Nonetheless, it is fitting, given that even overseas, the game is increasingly an all-American one. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Brooklyn’s Retail Financing Redux: Hipper Shopping En Route


As the economy continues to build steam, a new Brooklyn finds itself craving a new retail culture—and developers and financers are keeping close watch. While New York’s most populous borough has seen a large number of residential buildings take shape in the past year, financing for retail construction projects and acquisitions are just now beginning to catch up.

When asked, the developers behind several of the latest big retail projects told The Mortgage Observer that many of those properties would have a more chic look and feel and a more versatile use than traditional shopping outlets and malls. One common point of comparison has been Jamestown’s Chelsea Market, the high-end urban food court and shopping center with galleries and production studios mixed in. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Cartier! Versace! Vuitton! Financing Next Gen at Crown’s Ritzy Retail Focus

Chera brothers.

One day in the late 1980s, three Brooklyn brothers in their teens—Isaac, Haim and Richard Chera—followed their grandfather, Isaac, and their father, Stanley, on a trip to Manhattan. While not in school, the brothers would spend much of their spare time in the Fulton Street children’s clothing store that their grandfather had opened in 1948, in a space formerly occupied by a hat store, Suzette Millinery Shop. At the time, lacking the money to replace the previous banner, Isaac Chera simply tweaked it, naming his business Suzette Kiddie Store. Only later, after having expanded to several other stores, did the family change the name to Young World. Soon, the elder Isaac Chera started to invest in real estate. The best advice he gave to his family, according to his grandson, Haim, was to always buy the building where they had a store. Read More

Lease Beat

Morgan Stanley Inks Largest Sublease of the Year


Morgan Stanley has inked the year’s largest sublease with an 11-year deal for 148,421 square feet of space at Vornado Realty Trust’s 1290 Avenue of the Americas.

The space is across the entire 12th and 13th floors, part of AXA Equitable’s 443,599 square feet in the 44-story, 2-million-square-foot tower, according to The Real Deal, which Read More


NGKF Nabs REBNY Most Ingenious Deal of the Year Award


The Newmark Grubb Knight Frank team of Barry Gosin, Brian Waterman and Romel Canete was awarded the Real Estate Board of New York’s Henry Hart Rice Award for the Most Ingenious Deal of the Year Award at the trade association’s 69th annual cocktail reception yesterday evening. The deal, which was a lease for Morgan Stanley at One New York Plaza, closed in April of last year.

The judging committee evaluated 37 dealmakers across sales, lease and finance transactions over the last year. So impressive were the submissions, that a presenter at last night’s event at the 101 Club wondered aloud whether the authors of the submissions had advanced degrees in creative writing. Read More