Lease Beat

Modern Bank Relocating to 250 West 55th Street

250 West 55th Street. (Credit: Boston Properties)

Modern Bank has inked a 13,200-square-foot lease on the 15th floor of Boston Properties250 West 55th Street in a relocation from 667 Madison Avenue, sources said. 

The one-million-square-foot, 38-story office tower, designed by SOM, completed last year and conceived as a contemporary take on the firm’s mid-century Lever House, has attracted a string of tenants relocating from buildings deemed impressive in their own right.

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Mortgage Observer

EB-5 Funding On Rise, Long Arm of Law Watchful

Applications for the EB-5 program are on the rise.

It started with Gary Barnett’s Gem Tower and Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards. When credit tightened in 2009, some of the most respected New York developers had begun turning to foreign money to finance their construction projects via the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ EB-5 program. The federal program is designed to provide permanent residency to foreigners who invest at least $500,000 in job-creating projects. Of late, with the banking sector increasingly willing to finance projects but with the loan-to-cost of their loans languishing in the 60 percent to 65 percent range, EB-5 funding—for which interest rates are usually in the one-digit range—is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to costlier mezzanine financing, sources told Mortgage Observer.

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The Plan

Check Out New Space at 250 West 55th Street


Boston Properties’ 250 West 55th Street is set to come online early next month with key tenants Morrison & Foerster and Kaye Scholer having already snapped up close to half of the building. CBRE, one of the lead leasing agents at the building, is already planning for tenant expansion, offering short-term (five- to seven-year) leases for a variety of prebuilt spaces on the building’s 25th floor.

Ranging from approximately 3,200 square feet to 5,700 square feet, each space is flexibly designed to cater to a range of tenants, including law and financial services. Though CBRE has yet to begin marketing the space officially, the leasing team is already in discussions with one potential financial services tenant.

Peter Turchin, executive vice president and landlord representative, spoke to the The Commercial Observer last week about the building’s 25th floor, where work is being completed, and what opportunities abound at 250 West 55th Street. “We’re just finishing up the units right now,” said Mr. Turchin. “These will be completed in the next week to two weeks and they’re going to come online the first week after Labor Day.” Read More

The Plan

Upscale Restaurant Space at Boston Properties’ 250 West 55th Street


Boston Properties’ new marquee office tower at 250 West 55th Street, which is set to open for its anchor office tenants Morrison & Foerster and Kaye Scholer this winter, boasts a number of retail opportunities, including a restaurant space totaling more than 7,000 square feet across the ground and lower levels.

The unique location is a prime intersection for tourist, residential and business traffic. The search for the right tenant, which is being handled by Cushman & Wakefield’s Steven Soutendijk, senior director, David Green, executive vice president, and Christopher Schwart, senior associate, is focused on a full-service restaurant that fits with the image of the building. Though discussions with a number of potential users are ongoing, there have been no handshakes on a deal. The space, though, is ready to begin a build-out should a tenant sign on.

“We’re ready to start now, we’re ready to sign a lease now and we’re ready to get a tenant in the building now,” said Mr. Soutendijk during a tour of the space last week. “A restaurant build-out of this magnitude could take anywhere from six to nine months, and we would love to get it online at the same time as the building, but that would necessitate signing a lease now.” Read More

Mortgage Beat

Union Bank to Acquire $3.7 B. CRE Portfolio from PB Capital with a 3 Percent Premium

Masashi Oka

Union Bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, has reached an agreement with Deutsche Bank to acquire PB Capital Corporation’s institutional commercial real estate lending portfolio and platform. It will pay a 3 percent premium above the over $3.7 billion face amount of PB’s commercial mortgage portfolio, sources told The Mortgage Observer.

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The Sit-Down

Boston Legal: Andrew Levin On 250 West 55th Street


With eight buildings totaling close to nine million square feet across a number of submarkets, Boston Properties is one of the largest owners of real estate in Midtown. Andrew Levin, senior vice president of leasing in the real estate investment trust’s New York office, has his finger on the pulse of the market. He spoke with The Commercial Observer last week about leasing trends in Midtown and Boston Properties’ development of 250 West 55th Street, which will open in fall 2013. Read More

The Plan

REBNY’s Grand Ballroom Seating Chart

CO Page 92,94 - Plan

They enter alone and in small groups, often single file, but by the time the city’s brokers, politicians and landlords reach the mezzanine level of the New York Hilton, they’ve already fanned out into concentric circles, each composed of friends and colleagues.

And as the room continues to fill each year, so too do those clusters of men and women, each one separated by a mere foot or two from the next, and the next and the next. Indeed, with an estimated 2,200 guests expected to attend this year’s Real Estate Board of New York gala, those small footpaths will only narrow, making it more challenging than ever to connect with allies or retreat from rivals.

It’s with these considerations in mind that we at The Commercial Observer and REBNY have compiled a comprehensive seating chart inside the Hilton’s Grand Ballroom, where employees of firms including Vornado Realty Trust (front and center) and the law firm Morrison & Foerster (near the bathrooms) can all eventually be found, or avoided, whichever the case may be.

Take a look before the lights dim, draw up a plan and use this map, above and on the next page, as a resource. Read More

Lease Beat

Microsoft Bumped From 250 West 55th Street

11 Times Square

Microsoft has been bumped from 250 West 55th Street, leaving it with two likely space possibilities: a renewal deal at its current home at 1290 Avenue of the Americas or a relocation to 11 Times Square several sources familiar with the company say.

The company had been in advanced talks to take space at the Read More

Lease Beat

Boston Properties’ 250 West 55th Street Draws More Legal Eagles

250 West 50th Street.

According to reports, law firm Kaye Scholer will be on the move once its new digs at 250 West 55th Street are completed. The law firm has signed a letter of intent for about 260,000-square feet of space at the Boston Properties tower, which is under construction and expected to open sometime in 2014.

A spokesperson for Boston Properties declined to comment, saying that it doesn’t comment on such reports. And a spokesperson for the law firm declined to comment as well, saying only that additional details would be available at some point next week. Read More

Mortgage Beat

Financing in Place for Related’s 500 West 30th Street Tower


Wells Fargo has provided a $190 million construction loan for the Related Co.’s multifamily development at 500 West 30th Street, just off the Hudson Yards development site. The 32-story tower will include 385 rental apartments, retail space and parking.  Joanna Rose, a Related spokesperson, told The Mortgage Observer that the project “is expected to go vertical by the end of the year.”

Alan Wiener, group head of Wells Fargo Multifamily Capital, said that the loan is in line with the types of projects the bank tends to finance in the New York area. “It’s going to be an 80/20 and even though it’s outside the Hudson River Yards, it’s right across the street,” Mr. Wiener explained. “We’re providing the letter of credit and it’s being financed by bonds issued by the Housing Finance Agency.” Read More

Lease Beat

Morrison & Foerster Expands At 250 West 55th

250 West 57th Street

The law firm  Morrison & Foerster added another floor to its anchor tenancy at 250 West 55th Street, it was announced earlier today.

Morrison & Foerster committed to about 180,000 square feet, floors 17 through 23, last year, in a 15-year lease that allowed the  building’s developer, Boston Properties, to proceed with construction of the one-million-square-foot tower, which was delayed because of the recession. Read More

The Sit-Down

Boston’s Market: Robert Selsam on Handling Mort Zuckerman’s Portfolio

Robert Selsam.

As senior vice president and regional manager of Boston Properties’ New York office, Robert Selsam oversees one of the largest collections of trophy assets in Midtown. The company’s portfolio includes some of the city’s most exclusive office towers, such as the GM Building, 510 Madison Avenue, 399 Park Avenue and 601 Lexington Avenue. Though Midtown leasing was down substantially in the first quarter from last year, Mr. Selsam says that the company’s own leasing figures bucked the trend, in part because its assets are desirable enough to attract takers even during hiccups in the market. Read More