Mayor Taps Business Commissioner to Run EDC

Mayor Bill de Blasio with incoming NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer (Screengrab: NYC Mayor’s Office).

Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced he was replacing New York City Economic Development Corporation President Kyle Kimball—who left the position earlier this year after being one of the few Bloomberg administration officials to survive the regime change—with Small Business Services Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer.

Ms. Torres-Springer, a former executive vice president and chief of staff at NYCEDC, will be the first woman to lead the semi-private organization, which facilitates development through loans, subsidies and technical assistance. Mr. Kimball revealed in March he would leave the EDC for other opportunities, and last week he was named a vice president at Consolidated Edison. The entity has been run on an interim basis by Kim Vaccari, the chief financial officer of EDC, since Mr. Kimball left his post on June 1, as Commercial Observer previously reported. Read More

Sales Beat

City Acquires Willets Point Site

Willets Point rendering.

The City of New York has paid the Paterno family of Flushing $7.94 million to acquire 126-23 37th Avenue in Willets Point, according to property records.

The deal is part of the city’s strategy to control the land necessary to proceed with the redevelopment of the Queens neighborhood. The city currently holds over 95 percent of the land earmarked for phase one of the project, according to the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Read More

Sales Beat

Sunset Park Development Sells for Nearly $20M


Marcus & Millichap has arranged the sale of a 123,785-square-foot, two-story industrial building at 150 52nd Street in Sunset Park, Brooklyn for $19.5 million.

The lot currently holds an industrial building with seven commercial tenants and a 30,631-square-foot open parking lot, but it carries with it 201,930 square feet of total buildable air rights. The demand for development opportunities in the area led to a sale price that came in $2.7 million over the asking price, brokers said. Read More

The Lobby

Michael Schlein Appointed as Chairman of NYCEDC Board

Michael Schlein. (Credit: Accion)

Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed Michael Schlein as chairman of the board of directors of the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

Mr. Schlein, a veteran of the financial services industry, currently serves as president and chief executive of Accion, a nonprofit microfinance firm. Previously, Mr. Schlein worked as president of International Franchise Management at Citigroup. Prior to Citigroup, Mr. Schlein gained public service experience as chief of staff of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and served in economic development roles under Mayors Ed Koch and David Dinkins. He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Read More

Health care

New York’s Life Sciences Industry Grows

Alexandria Center for Life Science

As collaboration between academic research facilities and the life sciences industry increases, New York is quickly becoming a viable alternative to more established lab hubs in San Francisco, San Diego and Cambridge, Mass. But there are still hurdles to overcome.

The issue isn’t talent. New York has the highest concentration of medical research facilities in the country. Nor is it money. In December, the New York Economic Development Corporation established a $100 million early-stage life sciences funding initiative alongside Celgene, GE Ventures and Eli Lilly.

It’s lack of space. Read More

Getting Techy

Clean Tech Incubator Opens in Downtown Brooklyn

15 MetroTech

A clean technology incubator, supporting startups and hosting educational programming, has opened in Downtown Brooklyn, New York City Economic Development Corporation and the New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering announced.

Urban Future Lab, a 10,000-square-foot business incubator, has opened at NYU School of Engineering’s Downtown Brooklyn campus, on the 19th floor of Forest City Ratner’s 15 MetroTech. Designed to support the clean technology sector, Urban Future Lab combines a business incubation program with a product demonstration and exhibition space. It also offers educational programming and job training workshops. Read More

New Developments

Willets Point Businesses Agree to Bronx Move

A rendering of the Willets Points redevelopment.

A group of between 40 and 60 businesses has signed a lease to relocate from Willets Point, Queens to Hunts Point in the Bronx, paving the way for Related Companies’ and Sterling Equities’ proposed mixed-use development in the shadow of Citi Field.

The businesses, known collectively as the Sunrise Cooperative, are eligible for approximately $2 million in funds allocated for area tenants relocating in groups of five or more, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. In total, the city has set aside $3 million for relocating businesses. The money is distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Read More

It's a Roller Coaster Ride

Coney’s Thunderbolt Roller Coaster Breaks Ground

Rendering of the Thunderbolt. (Credit: Zamperla/Luna Park NYC)

Move over Brooklyn Cyclone, Coney Island’s newest roller coaster, the Thunderbolt, has broken ground today.

The Thunderbolt, to be built on city-owned property adjacent to the boardwalk in Luna Park, will be the first new custom roller coaster since 1927, when the Cyclone was built, and the first in the area since 1910 to send riders upside-down in a vertical loop. Read More


Trinity’s Pizer Named as Chair of Hudson Square BID


Jason Pizer, president of Trinity Real Estate, has been elected as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Hudson Square Connection, the business improvement district announced today. Mr. Pizer replaces Laura Walker, president and chief executive of New York Public Radio, who had held the role since 2009.

“In just four years, the BID, working with other area stakeholders, has crystallized a vision for the neighborhood’s future,” said Ellen Baer, president of the Hudson Square Connection, in a statement. “Jason has played an instrumental role in determining the BID’s priorities, nurturing the area’s transformation and devising a strategy to create what will soon become New York City’s most sustainable neighborhood.” Read More

South Street Seaport

CB1 Looks to Delay Howard Hughes Seaport Development

SHoP Architects

Community Board 1 claims to have received assurances from the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Manhattan Borough President that the city will not move forward with the approval process for Howard Hughes Corporation’s planned redevelopment of the South Street Seaport before a community planning process is completed. The process may take the form of a community task force, according to board members, but the details have yet to be confirmed.

“Our chairperson announced that we are working together to figure out what the planning process will be,” Diana Switaj, CB1’s director of planning, told Commercial Observer. “It’s likely to be a task force, but we haven’t decided exactly.”

Read More

Sales Beat

Peebles Pays $160 M. for 346 Broadway


The Peebles Corporation has closed on the $160 million purchase of 346 Broadway in Tribeca, making it the largest single building sale in the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s history, The Commercial Observer has learned.

Peebles will partner with Elad Group to redevelop the landmarked building, with plans to transform the 419,000-square-foot space into Read More

The Sit-Down

Helping Hudson: Ellen Baer on Transforming Hudson Square

Ellen Baer of the Hudson Square Connection (Photo: Mike Nagle)

Last month, the Hudson Square Connection, the Hudson Square neighborhood’s business improvement district, announced it was teaming up with the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the New York City Council on a $27 million streetscape improvement plan. The move is the latest step in transforming the once industrial hub of the city’s printing industry into a vibrant 24/7 community. The neighborhood, home to a daytime population of approximately 60,000, slows down dramatically once the lights go off at night. But that’s set to change. Recently rezoned, Hudson Square will soon be redeveloped to capture Downtown Manhattan’s booming residential growth. With the likes of Trinity Real Estate, Edward Minskoff, Beacon Capital and Jack Resnick & Sons already involved in developments in the neighborhood, it’s all happening in Hudson Square. Ellen Baer, president of Hudson Square Connection, spoke with The Commercial Observer last week about how the streetscape improvement plan and rezoning fit together and the vision for Hudson Square’s future. 

Read More


Condo Building Slated at Former Extell Hotel Site

68 Charlton Street

Angelo, Gordon & Co. is reportedly planning a 13-story condo development at 68 Charlton Street in Hudson Square, where Gary Barnett once intended to build a 35-story luxury hotel. 

The investment firm paid Mr. Barnett’s Extell Development $52 million for the site in June and has filed plans with the Department of Building for the 79-unit condo building designed by Read More


Hudson Square to Get $27 M. Makeover

The first phase will allow for a transformation of the park at Spring Street and Sixth Avenue (Photo: NYC Business Solutions)

New York’s Hudson Square neighborhood is getting a $27 million makeover thanks to funding from the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the New York City Council and matching funds from the Hudson Square Connection Business Improvement District.

The move reflects a shift from the center of the city’s printing industry into one clustered with Read More