Cover Story

Times Square Marches On

New York''s Times Square

Lisa Steinberg was just a few months out of college when she was bound, gagged and stabbed to death in the office of a Gap store on West 57th Street near Broadway. It was January of 1992, halfway through David Dinkin’s only term as mayor of an increasingly anarchic and crime-plagued New York. 

The murder rate had peaked at 2,245 in 1990. But the number of homicides climbed in the Midtown South precinct—which includes Times Square—reaching 11 in 1993. East New York’s 75th precinct broke the record that year for the most murders in a single precinct: 126.   Read More

Retail Report

Real Estate Pros: Opening Calatrava’s PATH Station to Events Signals Retail Struggle

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When Santiago Calatrava‘s much-delayed World Trade Center transportation hub (maybe) opens in mid-2015, its mammoth concourse floor will be leased out for private events and to retail tenants staging promotional blitzes. And while retail rents between $450 and $550 a foot rival those of respectable Midtown corridors, some industry insiders think that opening up Calatrava’s Oculus concourse to parties and glorified live commercials is an ominous sign for traditional retail in the $3.74 billion project. Read More

ICSC 2013

The Walmart Conundrum: Four Brokers Weigh In on Behemoth’s NYC Struggle

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If one hot-button retail issue has dominated the New York real estate landscape in recent years, it’s been Walmart. The giant discount retailer has been trying to find a suitable location in the city for nearly a decade, but resistance has been fierce. The reasons for this resistance range from the big-box store’s labor practices to the perceived threat to local retailers.

The conflict came to a climax last year when Christine Quinn, democratic candidate for mayor, snarled, “As long as Walmart’s behavior remains the same, they’re not welcome in New York City.” Last week, The Commercial Observer spoke with some of New York’s leading retail brokers about the role of politics in retail real estate, what Walmart can do to ingratiate itself and which locations, if any, are suited to its footprint.

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Development

Developers Break Ground at 7 Bryant Park

Rendering of 7 Bryant Park

Developers broke ground at 7 Bryant Park yesterday, with a consortium of public officials including Mayor Michael Bloomberg gathering to pitch the trophy office tower as a boon for the city.

Politicians are touting the planned 28-story, 470,000-square-foot steel and glass tower, slated for completion in the first quarter of 2015, as a magnet for good jobs, talent and companies.

“The best days are still to come to Bryant Park – a place the city has worked hard to bring roaring back to life,” Mr. Bloomberg said at the ceremony, adding that the project will bring “more top-tier, cutting-edge commercial space, and more leading companies and their tax revenue to Midtown Manhattan.” Read More

Controversies

Round 2: City Landlords Kick and Scream Back Following Allegations of Broker Leapfrogging

(Photo: The Real Deal)

Some city landlords are kicking and screaming back after an article published in The Commercial Observer yesterday morning cited sources who allege that a new wave of city landlords are leapfrogging brokers to get at retail tenants directly—but many continue to claim that the landlords do just that.

Wharton Properties’ Jeff Sutton, who sources name among several landlords, sought to set the record straight yesterday, claiming that “95 percent of the deals I do have brokers” and calling the implication that he does otherwise “disgusting.”

“Some deals where I’ve had relationships [with] tenants for many years, who don’t have brokers, I do myself, but how could you put me in that category,” he said.  “I’ve never ever gone around anybody.” Read More

Lease Beat

Fairway Set to Open Fourth Location

Courtesy of Off The Broiler

Fairway has inked a lease deal in Kips Bay Plaza for its fourth Manhattan location.

The grocery store will grab a 42,000-square-foot corner lot at 542-580 Second Avenue. The space will occupy 2,000 square feet on the ground level and escalators and glass elevators will bring shoppers to a massive 40,000-square-foot lower level with 20-foot Read More

retail beat

Details on Nordstrom’s 225 West 57th Street Location

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On the heels of The Commercial Observer’s report yesterday about all signs pointing to Nordtrom taking space at Extell Development’s project at 225 West 57th Street, the company said today that it has now finalized those plans. The store is projected to open in 2018 and excavation work could begin by the first quarter of 2013. When it opens, it will be the retailer’s New York flagship, and its first full-line store in the city. Read More