Postings: Tech, Creative Deals Put Dumbo on the Office Map

Jane's Carousel. (Jane's Carousel)

Once little more than a manufacturing district, Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood has evolved in to one of most popular neighborhoods in New York. Populated first by artists and today by Brooklyn’s loft and stroller set, Dumbo is also emerging into a prominent office location. The Watchtower portfolio, a group of buildings once owned by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, is being transformed into an office destination for tech and creative companies. Rebranded Dumbo Heights, the development’s landlords have already signed online retailer Etsy to a lease. Below, Commercial Observer maps out Dumbo Heights and other prominent developments in the neighborhood.  Read More

REBNY 2014

Postings: REBNY By the Numbers

The REBNY 118th Annual Award Banquet Photo by Steve Freidman

A jubilance not seen in years permeated the Real Estate Board of New York’s 118th banquet following a year characterized by several major victories for the industry, soaring rents and widespread development across the city. The politician-studded crowd at the Hilton included Governor Andrew Cuomo and new Mayor Bill de Blasio, along with a consortium of new faces in city government. All were treated to a REBNY banquet that once again boasted the feel, charm and spirit of the boom era’s glory days. Below are some facts and tidbits:   Read More

REBNY 2014

Home Sweet REBNY

217 Broadway for Commercial Observer

In its 118 years of existence as an industry powerhouse, the Real Estate Board of New York has called just six addresses home. Here are REBNY’s current and former headquarters, and a brief look at the history that was made in them. Read More


Gotham West Market: Order Up on the Far West Side

Gotham 44th & 11th Ave

There’s now a reason to walk as far west as 44th Street and 11th Avenue.

That barren stretch of Midtown Manhattan last week welcomed Gotham West Market, a 10,000-square-foot food hall with a strong nod to Brooklyn. Developed by the Gotham Organization as a component of its Gotham West residential building, the market boasts options ranging from tapas at El Colmado to burgers at Genuine Roadside—not to mention the much-hyped Ivan Ramen, a ramen noodle hot spot that launched in Japan.

Following a seven-month wait that had food bloggers salivating, the Chelsea Market-like venue opened Wednesday to generally rave reviews. Below, a minute-by-minute chronicle of the lunch rush on its first day in business.

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Tending the Garden: An Annotated Look at the New MSG


Last week, Madison Square Garden unveiled the final stage of its massive $1 billion renovation project to the media and special guests. The following night, the arena reopened to fans for the Knicks final preseason game.

The three-year process has yielded a number of unique new features for the iconic venue, which was beginning to show its age, a ripe 45 years.

Below are some key facts and figures about the newly renovated arena and what fans have to look forward to this season.

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The Annotated Manhattan Office Market, Third Quarter 2013


The summer doldrums didn’t hit Manhattan during the third quarter, as leasing activity continued to tick upward in much of the market. Downtown Manhattan was the strongest performer of the city’s three major submarkets during that period, buoyed by healthy leasing in Class B stock and spillover from Midtown South. Tech continues to be a major driver in all sectors of the market, as growing industry diversification is making up for lack of growth in the financial services sector.

“Overall, Manhattan had a pretty good quarter, and that’s despite the fact it is the summer months and the third quarter is not high volume historically,” summarized Don Noland, managing director of research at Cushman & Wakefield. With the help of Mr. Noland and Jim Delmonte, director of research, The Commercial Observer sheds some light on the third-quarter office market.

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Five Midtown East Buildings That Could Be Landmarked


Two weeks ago, the Landmarks Preservation Commission reviewed five buildings in Midtown East for landmark consideration in what was another chapter in the debate between the real estate industry and preservationists over the area’s historic real estate assets.

Seen as a roadblock in the Midtown East rezoning plan by many real estate professionals and a vital step in historic preservation by preservationists, the debate has raged on for months—even some of the buildings’ owners oppose preservation status.

Spearheaded by the Municipal Art Society, the preservation process began with the submission of a list of 17 candidate buildings. Four of the five buildings reviewed by LPC were on that preliminary list, and all five have been pinpointed below by The Commercial Observer.

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For First Time in a Century, Cushman & Wakefield Rebrand


For the first time in the firm’s nearly 100-year history, Cushman & Wakefield has initiated its first global brand refresh.

The global company—15,000 employees strong—redefined the company’s culture and elected to change its global branding to better align with Cushman & Wakefield’s overall vision. “Our visual identity change was a direct result of defining our culture,” Celine Clarke, global head of corporate communications and marketing, told The Commercial Observer. “We took the business approach of being simple and disciplined and applied it to our visual identity.”

Changes to the brand include a complete refresh of the company website, an expanded color palette for use in company communications and a new globally licensed font. Ms. Clarke spoke with The Commercial Observer about the changes and what, specifically, motivated each of them.

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Dives Take A Dive


Next month, Jackie’s Fifth Amendment, a longstanding Park Slope bar, will close—due not to increasing rents but rather its owner’s declining health and his family’s reluctance to take over.

Famed for its $10 bucket of beers, Jackie’s will join a long and distinguished list of watering holes—many of them dive bars—that have faded from service, gracefully or not, as property values continue to climb across the city. The Commercial Observer profiles a few of the most notable. Read More


Spoiled Sports: NASCAR Isn’t the Only Venue to Bite Dust


Last week, the International Speedway Corporation sold a Staten Island plot of nearly 700 acres for $80 million, bringing a close to a saga in which the organization had promised to bring an 82,000-seat NASCAR raceway to the metropolitan New York area. The sale of the land for the proposed project, scuttled in 2006 after dissent by local residents, brings to mind a handful of other ambitious plans for other New York sports venues that were never realized.

Below, we take a look at some of the most prominent examples. Read More


The Rise of Midtown South, Continued


The story in the second quarter continues to be Midtown South, where, for the first time, asking rents for Class A space outpaced those in Midtown.

Throughout the city, asking rents have largely been driven by availability in new or renovated properties such as Brookfield Place and 51 Astor. Leasing activity overall has been stout, outpacing the same quarter in 2012.

Last week, Ken McCarthy of Cushman & Wakefield spoke to The Commercial Observer about the firm’s leasing stats for the second quarter. Read More


Peddling To Those Who Pedal


As you have no doubt heard, last Monday marked the debut of the bike-sharing program Citi Bike. Proponents including Mayor Bloomberg say that Citi Bike, which could be a capstone of the mayor’s environmentally and health-conscious administration, will revolutionize and greenify commuting in New York while making its citizens healthier and leaner. (People over 260 pounds are prohibited from riding the 6,000 bikes, though the stations do not feature scales.)

To the program’s detractors, the 300 stations are obtrusive eyesores, the bikes are an inevitable hazard on clogged Manhattan and Brooklyn streets, and the flagrant Citibank advertising at the docks and on the bikes is obscene. The Commercial Observer took to the streets on the third day of the program to ask employees of businesses near various stations how they felt about the initiative and whether it had led to an uptick in customers. Read More


The Best Booths At Last Week’s ICSC RECon


Las Vegas is the desert, and RECon is a tent city.

As 35,000 registered attendees at the annual global retail real estate summit flooded the Las Vegas Convention Center last week, a few of the roughly 1,000 exhibitor booths stood out.

After the jump, a sampling of the booths that had guests reeling, as well as photos from the
convention floor and the event last week in sunny Las Vegas. Read More


Midtown Leasing Remains Below 10-Year Average

CO 4-2 Postings Page 18

Lately overshadowed by neighboring Midtown South, the Midtown market is feeling the pressure. Year-to-date leasing remains below the 10-year average, and vacancy rates have been stagnant for the past two years.

Jonathan Mazur, director of research at Cushman & Wakefield, spoke with The Commercial Observer last week to shed light on several of the more significant numbers from the firm’s February Midtown office market report, ahead of the brokerage firm’s release of its quarterly statistics, set for later this week. Read More


The Commercial Observer Pop Quiz

Illustration courtesy Michael Marsicano.

The 30 Under 30 issue is the perfect time for The Commercial Observer to propose a battle of wits between young brokers and their (relatively) veteran mentors.

In our attempt to mimic Trivial Pursuit, we’ve come up with questions spanning technical industry minutiae, the real estate loyalties of New York’s finest rappers and History 101 that should be familiar to real estate professionals young and old. After the jump, Commercial Observer staff writer Billy Gray provides the questions and answers. Read More