Debate Simmering Over Transferable Development Rights

Municipal Art Society

The Municipal Art Society’s new interactive development rights map, “The Accidental Skyline”, re-ignited a longstanding debate over the complex process for buying and selling unused air rights.

The nonprofit planning and preservation advocacy group’s contention that there should be more public notice and review for zoning lot mergers, the most common form of rights transfers, inspired a skeptical response from analysts at the Real Estate Board of New York and the NYU Furman Center who expressed concern that public review might hamper new development projects. Read More

Big Deals

REBNY Names 2013 Retail Deals of the Year

Richard B. Hodos

More than 250 retail brokers and industry insiders streamed into Club 101 at 101 Park Avenue Tuesday night for the Real Estate Board of New York’s 2013 awards for the “most ingenious retail deal of the year” and the “most significant retail deal of the year.”

The 18 nominees with nicknames like “What a long strange trip it’s been: bringing national retailer Guitar Center to a side-street sub-basement off Times Square” (for Lon Rubackin and Gary Trock of CBRE) and “David v. Goliath: using ingenuity and due diligence as a sling shot” (for Benjamin Fox of Massey Knakal Realty Services) vied for just the two awards recognizing broker creativity and skill and the deals’ overall importance to the city’s real estate market. Read More

Manhattan Retail Asking Rents Up 20 Percent: REBNY


The Manhattan-wide jump to $139 per square foot was notable but starkly contrasted by the booming top tier corridors. The stretch between 49th and 59th Streets on Fifth Avenue, for instance, led the pack again this year with record-breaking asking rents of $3,550 per square foot. Read More


REBNY Bestows ‘Ingenious Deal’ Awards

101 Park Avenue.

It was a veritable who’s who of New York City commercial real estate at the Real Estate Board of New York‘s “Most Ingenious Deal of the Year Awards” last night.

The awards for deals done in 2013 were presented at the 70th sales brokers committee cocktail party at Club 101, at 101 Park AvenueWoody Heller, an executive managing director and group head of the capital transactions group of Studley in New York, MC’d the event. Read More

Cover Story

Breaking Barriers: Richard Bernstein and Peter Hennessy on Cassidy Turley’s Star Turn

Richard Bernstein and Peter Hennessy. (Photo: Mike Nagle)

“If I could knock this wall down I would,” said Peter Hennessy, pointing through a glass enclosure that separates his office from a row of open workstations within the 42nd floor of Cassidy Turley’s 277 Park Avenue offices.

Mr. Hennessy, the tristate president at the firm, will likely get his wish if Cassidy Turley continues to literally and figuratively break down the barriers that once separated its business lines by expanding the consulting practice that he and Richard Bernstein, the firm’s executive vice chairman and principal, said is crucial to the company’s future. Read More


NYC Launches Fundraising Drive for East Harlem Explosion Victims [Updated]

The scene in East Harlem following the explosion. (Credit: Rob Bennett/NYC Mayor’s Office)

The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City is raising money for people who were adversely impacted by last week’s East Harlem gas explosion, as part of a strategic relief plan. It has already received $250,000 in pledges, First Lady Chirlane McCray, chair of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, announced yesterday at Bethel Gospel Assembly.

The financial aid will help victims cover their rent, funeral arrangements, household expenses, counseling services as well as community-based outreach focused on immigrant communities. Read More

big and tall

Audio: Bill de Blasio Promises REBNY He’ll Build Big

Mayor Bill de Blasio today. (Photo: Getty)

Mayor Bill de Blasio today praised some of the biggest names in the real estate industry and told them he has no qualms about building large in the name of affordable housing.

“I’m looking forward to building upon on a lot of the relationships that I’ve already had the honor of having with folks in this room and getting to know people more deeply in the years ahead and working together,” Mr. de Blasio told the group, according to audio from the closed-door meeting released by his office. Read More

Mayoral Meetings

De Blasio Received With ‘Open Arms’ at REBNY Meeting

Bill de Blasio arriving at this morning's REBNY meeting.

Members of the well-connected Real Estate Board of New York praised Bill de Blasio this afternoon after the mayor attended a closed-door meeting with the group.

While many in the business community had been nervous about the left-leaning mayor and his plans to up taxes on the rich and force developers to build more affordable housing, members of the group’s board left today’s sit-down offering nothing but praise. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Singer & Bassuk Secures $450 Million Starwood Property Trust Loan for 250 East 57th Street Condo

Rendering of 250 East 57th Street by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s Roger Duffy

The Singer & Bassuk Organization has closed a $450 million construction loan from Starwood Property Trust for World-Wide Group‘s $600 million luxury condo development at 250-252 East 57th Street, Mortgage Observer has exclusively learned.

The four-year loan with extension options, which closed earlier today, covers 93 condo units and 173 rental apartments as well as 33,000 square feet of retail space, said Andrew Singer, chairman and CEO of the New York-based brokerage firm, and a spokesperson for the developer. The loan also covers the Whole Foods Market store that was built on the site in 2010, Mr. Singer noted. Read More

Crime & Punishment

Saparn Realty Head Charged with Stealing from Brooklyn Mitchell-Lama Facility [Updated]

Harway Terrace, at 2475 West 16 Street in Brooklyn, and Alan Gorelick

Alan Gorelick, who runs Saparn Realty along with his wife, was arrested and charged with diverting more than $600,000 from a Brooklyn complex he oversaw into his firm’s business account, according to a criminal complaint.

Between 2001 and the end of 2011, Mr. Gorelick, 68, managed Harway Terrace, a two-building Mitchell-Lama co-op complex at 2475 West 16th Street in the Gravesend area of Brooklyn, containing more than 350 apartments. Between the end of 2006 and the end of 2011, Mr. Gorelick was a signatory on Harway Terrace’s bank account. Mr. Gorelick diverted $610,914.94 from Harway Terrace and deposited it into Saparn’s business account, “either by depositing checks from third parties written to the order of Harway Terrace or by depositing checks written against two of Harway Terrace’s accounts into Saparn’s business accounts,” the complaint indicates. Read More

Real Estate and Politics

Real Estate Leaders Back Universal Pre-K Proposal

Leonard Litwin

Real estate industry leaders have joined a growing group of supporters of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to fund a universal prekindergarten program with tax increases, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Mr. de Blasio’s proposal, which would raise taxes on New York City residents with incomes over $500,000, has received backing from major political donor Leonard Litwin of Glenwood Management, Steve Witkoff of the Witkoff Group, and other business leaders.

Read More

REBNY 2014

Such Great Heights: REBNY’S Year In Review


As the city and real estate market continued its post-recession surge over the past year, a number of significant milestones played out under the watchful eyes—and in some cases careful direction—of the Real Estate Board of New York that will shape the future of the city for decades to come.  Read More

REBNY 2014

The Shape of Things to Come: REBNY’s 2014 Agenda

Grand Central Terminal.

Last year ended in disappointment for the Real Estate Board of New York when the New York City Council struck down Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s sweeping Midtown east rezoning proposal. 

The plan, which would have transformed 73 blocks surrounding Grand Central Terminal, had been viewed as vital modernization of an area deemed structurally obsolete by many in the industry. 

REBNY is undeterred in 2014, however, and is as determined as ever to push through not only Midtown east rezoning but a number of other development projects and legislation it deems critical to the future of the city’s infrastructure.

Read More