opinion

New Columnists, More Opinions, Now!

If you hadn’t already noticed, The Commercial Observer late last night added seven new columnists to its already formidable roster of real estate thought leaders.

Indeed, along with veteran prognosticators Robert Knakal, Sam Chandan, Richard Persichetti and Robert Sammons (back from a short hiatus), we’re now happy to welcome David Greene, Christopher Havens, Barry LePatner, Kenneth McCarthy, J.D. Parker, Joshua Siegelman and Scott Spector. Find web-exclusive columns along the right rail of our website every week. Read More

Food & Drink

Clean and Sober: A Tour of Pernod Ricard’s New 250 Park Avenue Offices

Photo: Peter Lettre/New York Observer

It’s Thursday morning, 9:15, and the immaculate bar at Pernod Ricard’s new Midtown headquarters is empty. Company representatives half-jokingly offer Bloody Marys. But despite scores of bottles of Absolut, Jameson, Glenlivet, Beefeater and Malibu that tauntingly—and in some cases perilously—line the conference room tables and cubicle dividers of the three-floor space, the office is all business.

Pernod Ricard, the French beverage conglomerate with 36 wine and spirits brands under its umbrella, settled into its 82,000-square-foot office at 250 Park Avenue last October, leaving behind 40,000 square feet at 401 Park Avenue South, which it subleased. About 200 employees— including 80 who moved here from the Purchase, N.Y., office—occupy the full 16th, 17th and 18th floors (158 employees remain in Westchester). Read More

Cover Story

IT’S A MOD, MOD, MOD, MOD WORLD

madworld

Two years ago, Bruce Ratner sought to ease a shrinking budget and appease swarms of critics who lambasted the original rendering for a residential tower at Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn as a “Lego-like” atrocity.

Like a frustrated schoolboy, he punted the plans to erect a set of oddly arranged giant blocks, shoving designer Frank Gehry Read More

The Plan

Check Out Pernod Ricard’s New Offices

Pernod Ricard

After signing an 82,000-square-foot deal for three floors—not to mention an option for a fourth—at 250 Park Avenue in May of last year, wine and spirits company Pernod Ricard’s new flagship space consolidated Pernod Ricard USA and Pernod Ricard Americas, which owns brands like Absolut Vodka and Jameson Irish Whiskey.

With the deal, the company now occupies floors 16 through 18, with a focus on the 17th floor, where an open layout and exposed, distillery-like environment commingle with a lounge and conference rooms.

“We’re loving this space—it came out so great,” said Scott Spector, principal of the Spector Group, which designed the space. “It’s one of the coolest spaces we’ve ever worked in on Park Avenue. Some will likely argue that the finished product is even cooler.”

After the jump, Mr. Spector reviews the furniture plans with The Commercial Observer and explains what, exactly, drew Pernod Ricard to 250 Park Avenue. Read More

The Sit-Down

The Winter Garden and Quirky.Com: Scott Spector Designs New York City

Scott Spector. Spector Group

Since breaking into Manhattan in 1998, the Spector Group has immersed itself in some of the city’s most notable design projects, including a series of assignments for NASDAQ, office designs for Internet start-up companies and some of the area’s earliest initiatives for data centers and telecom hotels, some of which are now being converted back to office use. Principal Scott Spector, 49, spoke to The Commercial Observer about one of his family-owned company’s biggest assignments, rebuilding the Winter Garden, as well as ongoing work for NASDAQ and what may be his most imaginative job yet—designing eclectic office space for Quirky.com with repurposed bowling alley materials. Read More