Steve Wiktoff paced back and forth in a conference room at his partnership’s New York City office, eager to talk about his latest endeavors, but just as eager to tackle the other 10 commitments that had come his way over the course of the first of several interviews with The Mortgage Observer.
Midtown East Rezoning
Midtown 21C, a coalition heavy on construction companies and labor organizations advocating for the rezoning of Midtown East, yesterday released a study evaluating the area’s historic assets and development history. The focus of the study was structures targeted by preservation groups for landmark status, which could hinder rezoning proposals.
Members of the coalition include the New York Building Congress, the Building Trades Employers Association, the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, the Hotel Trades Council, 32BJ Service Employees Union and the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY).
According to the study, prepared for Midtown 21C by CivicVisions LP of Philadelphia, “New York runs the risk of undermining its competitive edge by revisiting issues that were covered 30 years ago when truly iconic buildings were landmarked. If landmarks are created solely for the purpose of opposing redevelopment, they jeopardize New York’s future.”
Todd Korren joined Massey Knakal Realty Services yesterday, stepping out from the transaction-based roles that made him one of the city’s elite brokers and into a managerial role as Managing Director of Manhattan.
Mr. Korren, who spoke exclusively with The Commercial Observer about his new role, will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Read More
Any institution with 117 years under its belt is sure to accumulate truckloads of data points, and the Real Estate Board of New York, which celebrates its 1,404th month in existence this February, is no exception.
Indeed, from its modest beginnings as an organization with fewer than 50 members to its current position as the real estate industry’s most influential lobbying group, the board has come along way—and The Commercial Observer has the numbers to prove it.
After the jump, a random sampling of data points from over the course of REBNY’s distinguished, colorful history.
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.
As forecasters became more and more certain that a monster storm named Sandy was barreling toward Manhattan in the 48 hours leading up to its landfall on Monday, October 29, Real Estate Board of New York President Steven Spinola lay in a hospital bed recovering from a sudden medical emergency.
But the hospital stay didn’t Read More
If you are a regular reader of Concrete Thoughts, you know that I think networking is extremely valuable for participants in our commercial real estate market.
One of the main benefits of networking is getting to meet people face-to-face and developing relationships that are lasting and lead to business opportunities. One of the best trade organizations through which to network is the Real Estate Board of New York.
This week, REBNY is holding its 117th annual banquet, so I thought it appropriate to recognize the tremendous work that the board does on behalf of our industry. Not only does REBNY provide tremendous networking opportunities, it’s also a leading advocate for our industry.
In July, the Real Estate Board of New York announced that Rob Speyer, 43, president and co-CEO of Tishman Speyer, would succeed Mary Ann Tighe to become its youngest chairman ever. Stepping in this month, he is the third successive generation of his family to hold the post—also a first in the organization’s 117-year history. Though he might have a reputation as being media-shy, Mr. Speyer’s success in real estate is no secret—his company has completed $6 billion in new transactions and raised $4.5 billion of new equity since 2010. Mr. Speyer sat down with The Commercial Observer last week for a rare interview to discuss his new appointment, his agenda for REBNY in 2013, following in his father and grandfather’s footsteps, and the best way forward for New York City as global competition ramps up.
It’s described by real estate wheelers and dealers as “the industry’s only must-attend event.” A crippling bout with a stomach virus was the only thing that once kept a 25-year veteran of the affair away. At least one pillar of the brokerage community wants the whole thing disbanded.
The Real Estate Board of New York’s Annual Banquet is back this week at the New York Hilton’s Grand Ballroom, its 117th edition. Food will be served and ignored. Booze will flow and attention will be paid. Award recipients will make acceptance speeches drowned out by a cacophonous crowd that makes the old Yankee Stadium’s bleacher creatures look reserved.
The first Real Estate Board of New York (then the Real Estate Board of Brokers) gala took place on May 12, 1897, at the since-destroyed Marlborough Hotel on Broadway between 36th and 37th Streets. The dinner started with littleneck clams and ended with “fancy ice cream” for the evening’s 50 assembled members and guests.
TIAA-CREF has purchased 1511 Third Avenue on the Upper East Side from Related Companies for $60 million, sources tell The Commercial Observer.
The 60,000-square-foot property is a four-story landmarked building, one block south of East 86th Street, the main retail artery in the neighborhood.
With more than 50 million tourists running amok each year, consumers feeling recharged, and throngs of foreign retailers streaming in, Manhattan’s prime retail corridors are not only booming—they’re expanding.
High rents and low vacancies in prime corridors are changing the invisible boundary lines that once separated high- and low-end sections of Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue, Greenwich Village and other retail corridors throughout the city, analysts and real estate brokers claim.
“When these big names and huge chains move into these areas, people just love to follow them,” said Jeffrey Roseman, an executive vice president and principal with Newmark Grubb Knight Frank’s retail division. “They become anchors and magnets to pull others.”
Just as the earlier success of Urban Outfitters and H&M sparked further expansion below 49th Street on Fifth Avenue, and Alfred Dunhill and watchmaker Panerai boosted retail appeal below 57th Street on Madison when they emerged in 2009, aspirational clothing retailers are now doing the same in Greenwich Village.
Paul Massey began his career at CBRE in 1984 but disembarked on his own within months after becoming disenchanted with the company’s hierarchical atmosphere. Senior brokers there, he found, were unwilling to collaborate with or groom younger talent.
It was the start of what seemed like the career of someone bent on doing things his own way.
Four years later, Mr. Massey would launch the scrappy, eponymously named startup he founded with colleague Robert Knakal, overseeing just a handful of staff. The two developed a system of brokerage that no other firm had then employed, in which employees were assigned to specific territories in the city.
Many observers of the firm thought the plan would be a death knell, limiting its ability to recruit talent. After all, what top broker would want to be assigned to some obscure neighborhood in Queens or Staten Island?
The pair eschewed the real estate establishment in more glaring ways, too.
Lord Norman Foster this month won the contest to design the first new office tower in almost 50 years on Park Avenue, beating three other finalists for the opportunity to make a mark on the row of 30 Class A buildings in the submarket, which already boasts two of the city’s most famous modernist classics.
L&L Holding Co. late last month chose Foster + Partners’ design for an illuminated 41-story tower at 425 Park Avenue, a few blocks north of the Seagram Building and Lever House, 1950s buildings that helped establish the International Style of glass and steel construction. Foster’s tapered steel-frame tower allows for three gradated tiers of column-free floors, separated by tree-lined terraces where employees will take breaks and exchange ideas, as well as a ground-level public plaza.
Tax season surprises are rarely welcome events and next year could hold several for owners of New York commercial real estate, thanks to legislative action in Albany last year.
Bill number S5763, which died in the Assembly, was primarily tied to the Roberts v. Tishman Speyer Properties rent deregulation case. It would have meant that landlords wouldn’t have to return retroactive monetary damages related to rent overages.
The bill also would have meant the continuation of the controversial J-51 tax abatement and exemption program—originally intended to encourage owners to renovate and upgrade their buildings. In recent years the abatement has become a bone of contention among tenants rights groups, who feel that it is often used to reward landlords for improvements to luxury buildings.
The Polsinelli Report
Have you ever made a decision and then felt a weird tingling in your gut, or a warm flush flow across your face? Can you recall a nagging feeling of remorse or guilt you experienced after an encounter with conflict?
If you have a conscience, you will be nodding yes to at least one of these feelings. If you can’t ever remember a feeling of guilt, uncertainty or wanting a do-over after making a questionable decision, you’re obviously reading the wrong version of “Fifty Shades.”