Mortgage Observer

Debt Pioneers: Starwood Property Trust’s Brain Trust

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This past October, after three and a half-weeks of negotiations, Starwood Property Trust and a fund controlled by Starwood Capital Group originated the REIT’s largest transaction so far—$475 million in combined acquisition and construction financing for a joint venture to develop Times Square Gateway Center, a 340,000-square-foot multi-use complex in the busiest area of Manhattan.

After a run of about three years, Starwood Property Trust, which real estate investor Barry Sternlicht took public in August 2009, has “entered the big league,” as FBR Capital Markets analyst Gabe Poggi wrote in a report after the release of the REIT’s third-quarter 2012 results. Read More

Power Broker

The New Math: Michael Lehrman on his plan to introduce derivatives into New York City’s otherwise staid rental market.

Michael Lehrman.

Michael Lehrman thinks the commercial real estate services business is completely staid, calcified, old-fashioned.

He doesn’t use those words specifically. He’s a little more eloquent. He’s a Wall Street man now, and to him it’s practically laughable when major real estate services firms claim to be cutting edge when the heart of their analytical capacity is still rooted in the decades-old practice of collecting troves of market data and organizing them into endless charts in order to divine tomorrow’s market conditions. Read More

Marketwatch

The Heart of Manhattan: Why Midtown is Starting to Make Sense, Again

Midtown Manhattan

Midtown is starting to matter again.

At least that’s the view to take from commercial real estate deals like Japanese financial firm Nomura Holding’s $60-per-square-foot, 20-year lease for a plush 47-story headquarters at 825 Eighth Avenue.

The arrival of a Japanese multinational at the Worldwide Plaza property embodies the roller-coaster ride of the Midtown office market over the past five years. It was bought by Harry Macklowe for $1.7 billion in 2007, only to be sold at a 60 percent discount two years later in a fire sale that saw George Comfort & Sons snatch it up for $600 million in 2009 when the building was half vacant. Read More

Lease Woes

Nomura To Hand Back 160,000 Square Feet, and Maybe More, at Worldwide

Worldwide Plaza

Nomura is casting off space at Worldwide Plaza by not exercising rights it had to portions of the 900,000 square feet it lease at the 1.8 million-square-foot skyscraper last year.

The decision whittles away at least 160,000 square feet from the Japanese financial institution’s large deal at the property, though some sources familiar with the company said it could give back as much as 200,000-250,000 square feet. Read More

Power Broker

Last But Not Least

Meyer Last

Is he the most prolific attorney in the city you’ve never heard about?

Probably not.

Still, it’s possible to lose track of just how many deals Fried Frank partner Meyer Last inked in 2011. Call it the Jon Mechanic effect. Read More

Lease Beat

EXCLUSIVE: In a Reversal, Law Firm Milbank Tweed Considers a Renewal

1 Chase Manhattan Plaza. (Courtesy Property Shark)

The law firm Milbank Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP is negotiating to renew its lease at the downtown office building 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza, sources said.

The firm occupies 375,000 square feet on several floors at the property, which is owned by the bank JP Morgan Chase. Rents in the deal were not available by press time. The lease is a change in plans for the company. Read More

The Lab

The Nomura Move’s Real Impact on Downtown

George Comfort & Sons' Worldwide Plaza, shining bright.

Japanese bank Nomura’s decision to move out of the World Financial Center downtown and take 900,000 square feet at Worldwide Plaza in midtown is undoubtedly a blow for the tip of the island’s commercial future. The move will leave a huge vacancy at the Brookfield Properties-owned complex just as 3 million square feet of leases there are ending in 2013. (We saw the move coming in mid-May.)

But it’s more than just the vacancy. Read More

Cashing In

Wall Street Is Back in the Hunt

The balls on this guy.

As Wall Street continues to swagger back from the brink, once again enjoying outsized profits and sneering at federal regulators, it means good news for at least one group of New Yorkers: landlords.

As The Journal reports today, no fewer than eight major banks are each looking for at least 500,000 square feet of office space in the city. They are hunting for bargains as much as anything, taking advantage of lower rents while uncertain of their own futures and that of the economy: Read More