Sam Zell, chairman of private investment firm Equity Group Investments, presented the keynote for the Commercial Real Estate Finance Council‘s annual conference, held this week at the New York Marriott Marquis. Interviewed by Thomas Flexner, global head of real estate for Citigroup Global Markets, Mr. Zell addressed topics from the challenges the commercial real estate finance arena faces to where he thinks the best international investment opportunities are.
When asked what “keeps him awake at night,” Mr. Zell said it’s “the cliff that’s coming in financing.” Even with many borrowers locking in 10-year mortgages, it’s hard to think that rates will not go up, he said. “I believe the cost of capital is materially lower than the inflation rate, and I just don’t think that can go on for any long period of time without a major alteration.”
In early July, Jonathan Gray, Blackstone’s global head of real estate, appeared on CNBC in an exclusive interview with the network. Dubbed Most Powerful Man in Real Estate—this ran in a banner during the 12-minute segment—Mr. Gray outlined the strategy behind Blackstone’s recently launched mortgage REIT, Blackstone Mortgage Trust.
With a mid-summer rising of rates at the front of most minds, Mr. Gray explained what, at the heart of it, apart from the Blackstone name, makes the endeavor a safer bet. “Blackstone Mortgage Trust is a floating rate lender,” he told David Faber, the co-anchor of Squawk on the Street. “Rising rates for this vehicle are better.”
New York City real estate is typically focused on the new. Ascendant tenants. Emerging neighborhoods. Fresh construction and radical renovation.
Barbara Koz Paley appreciates the new. But the founder and chief executive officer of Art Assets also trains her well-practiced eye on the old. “I’m a recycler,” Ms. Paley said. “The old and tired excite me.”
She’s referring to the commercial spaces that her 21-year-old art consulting firm helps reinvigorate with sculptures, paintings, installations and performances. Art Assets injects culture into what might have been antiseptic corporate lobbies and retail rooms, drawing in passersby (and prospective tenants) and defining the visual environment for existing users.
Khim’s Millennium Market – until now a fixture only in Williamsburg – has signed on to occupy the ground floor retail space at the base of Brooklyn’s tallest residential building, The Brooklyner at 111 Lawrence Street, The Commercial Observer has learned.
The organic grocery inked the deal for the roughly 7,000 square feet of space and roughly 70 feet of frontage with Equity Residential following an intensive polling and vetting process by the building manager to find the right tenant, brokers involved with the deal said.
Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. struck a deal last week to purchase a 26.5 percent stake in apartment company Archstone for $1.58 billion, as was first reported last week by The Wall Street Journal.
Lehman will buy the stake from Bank of America Corp. PLC, which in 2007 teamed up with Lehman to purchase Archstone through Read More
When Chicagoans Speak
A development site in Lower Manhattan that investor Sam Zell tried to purchase two years ago has be acquired by Hidrock Realty for $27.9 million, The Commercial Observer has learned.
The vacant parcel, located at 133 Greenwich Street, can accommodate up to about 135,000 square feet of hotel or commercial development. According to sources, residential space can also be built but the density of the development must be reduced for that type of project according to the zoning at the site.
Movers and Shakers
We talked to Sam Zell, the grave dancer himself, this afternoon. It was short and sweet, and mostly about a profile The Observer‘s working on. But, Mr. Zell, whose Equity Residential recently bought three apartment buildings in Manhattan, did have this to say about the New York real estate market:
“I think Read More
Two years ago, in the months before the fall of Lehman Brothers, when New York’s economic lily was still contentedly gilded, crafting a list of real estate’s biggest machers was pretty easy: Moguls X, Y and Z had done deals A, B and C, and the business of real estate ticked along.
Then came the Read More
At the beginning of a panel entitled “The View From 10,000 Feet,” part of the N.Y.U. Schack Institute of Real Estate’s 15th Annual REIT Symposium on Thursday afternoon, the always outspoken Steve Roth had a question for moderator Robin Panovka.
“Is there press in the room?” asked Mr. Read More
Gnomish Chicago-based billionaire and Tribune company chairman Sam Zell may know piles about New York real estate, but he has a little something to learn about the stuffiness of New York WASP society.
On Jan. 14, Mr. Zell found himself temporarily unable to enter the 147-year-old Union League Club on 37th Street and Park Read More
Sam Zell–the self-proclaimed “grave dancer” with a history of swooping in on the carcasses of struggling businesses–is now picking at the Manhattan real estate market. Yesterday, Mr. Zell’s company Equity Residential fleshed out its plans in Chelsea, which were reported by the Post last month. From today’s Wall Street Journal:
In its Read More