Development Site Sale
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority shuttle train from Grand Central to Times Square delivers riders across Midtown in just two minutes, by Commercial Observer’s watch. Yet the two vast hubs that hundreds of thousands of commuters and tourists stream through every day exhibit retail options as far apart as the 15,000-square-foot Apple Store on the east balcony of Grand Central Terminal and Adam Chowdury’s 600-square-foot family music and electronics outlet underneath Eighth Avenue in the Times Square-42nd Street Station.
But that disparity between the retail at Grand Central and those at other bustling Midtown transit stops at Times Square, Penn Station and Columbus Circle won’t last forever.
Savanna Properties has sold off a development site at 415 Eighth Avenue for $65 million, and the new owner is slated to turn it into a residential building with a “significant retail component,” said Robert Knakal of Massey Knakal Realty Services, the lone broker in the deal.
The sale closed on March 24 and was filed with the city today. Read More
Advertising firm Publicis, while in the process of merging with Omnicom to form what will reportedly become the largest media conglomerate in the world, has signed a temporary five-year lease for 113,947 square feet at 1 Penn Plaza.
Publicis, expected to take occupancy in April, will take over space occupied by media firm Direct Brands.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet “The Launcher,” a giant yellow machine that is currently hard at work constructing a prefabricated platform upon which Brookfield Development’s Manhattan West project will rise.
The pictures contained herein, sent exclusively to Commercial Observer, show the custom-designed mechanical marvel that so far has completed one of 16 precast concrete bridge panels Read More
Engineering firm Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger, Inc. has signed a seven-year, 11,695 square-foot lease and relocation to 550 Seventh Avenue.
The full, 10th floor space will be used as the company’s New York City headquarters after its relocation from its West 34th Street offices, where the company was leasing several floors. The new space features Read More
Earlier this year, Michael Kimmelman, the chief architecture critic at The New York Times since 2011, wrote a column addressing Madison Square Garden’s request that its special permit to operate an arena atop Penn Station be renewed in perpetuity. In it, Mr. Kimmelman suggested that the City Council grant the Garden a 10-year permit, enough time for the various stakeholders to plan for both a renovated Penn Station and a new location for Madison Square Garden. In a show of Mr. Kimmelman’s relative influence, the City Council did just that. Now the clock is ticking on finding a solution for the futures of both the “World’s Most Famous Arena” and the city’s busiest rail hub. Nicknamed “The People’s Critic” by New York magazine for his insightful focus on the New York Public Library, redevelopment after Hurricane Sandy and affordable housing, Mr. Kimmelman spoke with The Commercial Observer last week about the viability of a 10-year term and what can be done to convince stakeholders to come to the table.
Post-Tropical Storm Sandy
City Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn has announced her support for a new Penn Station in a letter to Madison Square Garden President and CEO Hank Ratner, suggesting the Garden be granted a 10-year special permit to operate an arena of more than 2,500 seats.
In her letter to Mr. Ratner, Ms. Quinn contrasted the “thrilling moments” experienced by New Yorkers at Madison Square Garden against the congested commuting experience at Penn Station.
The New York Building Congress will issue a series of recommendations today that would go “a long way” toward mitigating the risk associated with future storms like Hurricane Sandy.
A task force made up of 43 local experts found that insufficient power and telecommunications reliability, “uneven emergency response,” vulnerable infrastructure and antiquated building systems contributed Read More
The Municipal Art Society this morning unveiled plans by four elite architecture firms for a revamped Pennsylvania Station. Diller Scofidio + Renfro, H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, SHoP Architects, and Skidmore Owings & Merrill all presented big, futuristic designs for the notoriously dingy, dated and overcrowded transportation hub.
When we spoke with MAS President Read More
Summit Business Media has signed an eight-year relocation and expansion for the 17,000-square-foot 10th floor at 469 Seventh Avenue, where Colliers International continues to market several full floors that include a “building-within-a-building” option for a potential anchor tenant.
Summit, a media company that caters to the insurance, financial services, legal, and investment advisory markets, is relocating from Read More
Renovation and Repositioning
At a meeting yesterday, the City Planning Commission proposed a 15-year term for Madison Square Garden’s application for a special permit to operate an arena of more than 2,500 seats. The proposal, some way short of MSG’s request the permit be renewed in perpetuity, is still a small victory over previous suggestions of a 10-year limit.
Opponents of Madison Square Garden’s request point to the need for a renovated Penn Station, a process which is inhibited by the arena’s location. A term limit, they say, provides ample time for both Madison Square Garden to find a new location and for plans for a new Penn Station to be drawn up.
Vornado Realty Trust is planning renovations to some of its properties around Penn Station, The Wall Street Journal reported this week. The plans are partially motivated by the desire to attract technology and media tenants to the properties, according to the report.
“We benefit from spillover from the Chelsea and Park Avenue South submarkets, which are flooded by tech firms and workers who don’t wear ties,” Steven Roth, newly named chief executive officer, wrote in a recent letter to shareholders.
Cushman & Wakefield represented ownership at 500 Fifth Avenue in a 10,346-square-foot lease renewal to The University of Oxford, completing a string of five recent leases at the building.
The Oxford lease and four other recent leases arranged at the 680,000-square-foot Class-A skyscraper total roughly 20,000 square feet and are reflective of the building’s flexibility, which attracts a range of tenant types and a blend of the old with the new, brokers said.
“They all have a different story,” said C&W’s Harry Blair, who represented 500 Fifth Avenue Inc. with Sean Kearns in the transactions. “500 Fifth Avenue offers tenants a prestigious Midtown Manhattan address combined with high-quality space with plenty of natural light and spectacular views of Bryant Park.”
The Regional Plan Association and Municipal Art Society have launched a campaign to promote the renovation of Penn Station and possible relocation of Madison Square Garden, it was announced today.
As previously reported by The Commercial Observer, Madison Square Garden is seeking renewal of its special permit application to operate an arena with more than 2,500 seats. Last month, Community Board 5 recommended any permit be restricted to 10 years. The application will also be reviewed by the Manhattan Borough President and City Planning Commission before a decision is made by the City Council.
The historic Milford Plaza Hotel in the heart of the Theatre District was sold for $325 million, city records show, confirming previous reports that real estate investor David Werner and Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management’s real estate investment business were in talks to purchase the ground lease at the site.