REBNY 2014

The Party Circuit: 118th Annual REBNY Banquet

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REBNY 118th Annual Award Banquet

The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) rolled out the red carpet for its 118th annual banquet held at the New York Hilton on January 16. The exclusive event, touted as the industry’s most important networking event of the year, drew in many of New York City’s most influential industry leaders, elected officials and hundreds of the city’s top real estate professionals to celebrate 2013’s accomplishments and opine on the outlook for 2014, which promises to be another exciting year in real estate. Award winners at this year’s REBNY banquet were: Stephen L. Green, Chairman of the Board, SL Green Realty Corp.; Kenneth Fisher, Senior Partner of Fisher Brothers; Joel I. Picket, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Gotham Organization, Inc.; Robin Abrams, Executive Vice President of The Lansco Corporation; Thomas L. Hill, Senior Vice President of Boston Properties’ New York Property Management Department; and Robert C. Fink, Director of Leasing for The Winter Organization. 

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Wired City

Comcast Provides Broadband to 220,000 Low-Income Families

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Last week, Comcast announced that its Internet Essentials program has successfully delivered affordable broadband to more than 220,000 low-income families over the past two years.

The program, which launched in 2011, offers families Internet connection for $9.95/month, computers for $150, and free online training. To qualify, families must have a child eligible for the National School Lunch Program and reside in an area where Comcast offers Internet service, among other minimal requirements.

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Wired City

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer Criticizes Poor Broadband Connections in NYC Schools

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In March of 2010, President Barack Obama announced an ambitious National Broadband Plan designed to take America’s Internet to the next level.

Among other goals, the plan aimed for “Every American community [to] have affordable access to at least 1 gigabit-per-second broadband service to anchor institutions such as schools, hospitals and government buildings” by 2020. Sounds pretty sweet, huh? Read More

MSG

City Planning Proposes 15-Year Limit for MSG Special Permit

MSG

At a meeting yesterday, the City Planning Commission proposed a 15-year term for Madison Square Garden’s application for a special permit to operate an arena of more than 2,500 seats. The proposal, some way short of MSG’s request the permit be renewed in perpetuity, is still a small victory over previous suggestions of a 10-year limit.

Opponents of Madison Square Garden’s request point to the need for a renovated Penn Station, a process which is inhibited by the arena’s location. A term limit, they say, provides ample time for both Madison Square Garden to find a new location and for plans for a new Penn Station to be drawn up. Read More

Lower Manhattan 2013

Next Stop, Lower Manhattan: Fulton Center Transit Hub Chugs Forward

Renderings of Fulton Center

As Grand Central Terminal celebrates its centennial year as a crown of Midtown, the Fulton Center transit hub is being born three miles south.

It’s been a rocky delivery. Since 2004, when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s project—then known as the Fulton Street Transit Center—was introduced, its budget has ballooned from $750 million to $1.4 billion. And the completion date has been pushed back from 2007 to June of 2014.

Despite troubles common to a project of this scope, M.T.A. officials are optimistic that Fulton Center will transform commuting in lower Manhattan when it ultimately connects 11 previously separated subways lines and installs a pedestrian link to Santiago Calatrava’s World Trade Center PATH station, whose cost certain estimates put at $3.7 billion.

“Fulton Center is designed to create a focal point and an entranceway to Downtown,” said Aaron Donovan, a media liaison at the M.T.A. “Like Grand Central, it’s something everyone can gravitate toward. And lower Manhattan has not had that sort of landmark structure in the past.” Read More

Controversies

Group Grades The Moinian Group With a Big Fat “F”

Moinian

Things could get rowdy when a consortium of elected officials including City Council Speaker Christine Quinn rallies near City Hall this afternoon to issue a report card to Joe Moinian’s The Moinian Group for alleged failings as a real estate developer and landlord.

The report card grades the developer – with letter grade “F” across the board – on tenant relations, safety, financial stability, vendor relations and the creation of good jobs.

“It’s going to be rowdy – we’re expecting hundreds of people,” said Jessica Ramos, a spokesperson for Build Up NYC, one of the groups spearheading the effort.  “We want to create public support and awareness for them to be a responsible developer and build buildings with good jobs that actually help the economy.” Read More

Lower Manhattan

Sale of City Hall Buildings Snagged

City Hall submarket.

A city proposal to sell three lower Manhattan buildings, potentially converting 750,000 square feet of outmoded office space into luxury housing or hotels, has run into objections from community representatives in the City Hall area, who argue that the plan should have included provisions for a school, community center or affordable housing.

The City Council’s subcommittee on planning, dispositions and concessions plans a hearing next week on the disposal of the properties at 22 Reade Street and 49-51 Chambers Street. Disposition of the third building in the package, at 346 Broadway, was approved in 1998. Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the sale in January as part of a drive to make the city more efficient by consolidating its office spaces. Read More

Stringer Gives Extell Thumbs Down on Riverside Center

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer yesterday delivered his official thoughts on the planned Riverside Center housing development on the Upper West Side, recommending against the proposed 2,500-apartment project (with conditions).

The development is the last piece of Riverside South, the giant string of apartment towers along the West Side Highway that were started by Donald Read More

SKYSCRAPERS

Stringer Likes Vornado’s Hotel Penn Tower

Steve Roth’s plan for what would be the city’s third tallest tower, across from Penn Station on the site of the current Hotel Pennsylvania, just got a boost, as Borough President Scott Stringer on Wednesday gave his conditional approval for the proposal.

The planned 1,200-foot skyscraper—which is theoretical in that it would not likely be Read More

A Stuy-Town Simile

It looks like the elected officials who represent Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village are bracing for the complex to default, and they’re already reminding the complex’s lenders–Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–about how the lenders themselves needed a bit of help last year.

In a letter to Fannie and Freddie, the electeds–U.S. Representative Carolyn Read More

How Keen Is Manhattan Valley?

An unexpected alliance between a powerful developer and a neighborhood retirement home is causing an uproar in the Manhattan Valley section of the famously ornery Upper West Side.

Enigmatic developer Joseph Chetrit and Jewish Home Lifecare, which has a campus at 120 West 106th Street, between Amsterdam and Columbus avenues, have decided to swap properties. Read More