Real Estate and Politics
Median retail asking rents in Manhattan grew eight percent in the last six months and 12 percent over the past 12 months, according to the latest biannual retail report released this morning by the Real Estate Board of New York.
Median retail asks for all kinds of spaces now run for $104 per square foot versus $93 per square foot last fall, while average ground floor rents increased along 13 of 17 corridors tracked by the report. The stretch of Fifth Avenue between 49th and 59th Streets remained the most expensive retail area in Manhattan at a median asking rent of $3,500 per square foot and its closest competitor, a Times Square area that encompasses Broadway and Seventh Avenue between West 42nd and West 47th Streets, stayed in second place with a median asking rent of $2,225 per square foot, the report found.
A week after a three-month investigation by the New York Times substantiated earlier reports that Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s staff shielded the Real Estate Board of New York from scrutiny before disbanding the so-called “Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption,” good government advocates called for the public release of all documents related to the defunct commission and raised questions about REBNY’s political sway.
REBNY President Steven Spinola hasn’t sat for an interview since news leaked on June 17 that he would step down by the end of next year, and the saga of the commission’s stilted examination of the 421-a tax abatements that Mr. Cuomo and state Lawmakers awarded to five developers last year has provoked queries about the nature of the prominent trade and advocacy group’s Albany activities.
Longtime Real Estate Board of New York President Steven Spinola will retire at the end of 2015, the Financial Times reported today.
Mr. Spinola, 65, has led the trade group and influential real estate advocacy organization since 1986, and he called the reports of his departure “premature” in a message to the organization’s board of governors while acknowledging that the recent extension he signed through the end of next year will be his last.
World Trade Center
Landmarks are a vital part of New York City’s legacy and an essential part of its identity. Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, Greenwich Village, the Grand Concourse and Brooklyn Heights are each irreplaceable and distinctive elements that make up the fabric of our city. The members of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) proudly own and impeccably maintain some of New York’s great landmark buildings, and our office is in the magnificent landmark G.E. building.
REBNY President Steven Spinola is praising friend and Silverstein Properties, Inc. Chairman Larry Silverstein for the progress made at the World Trade Center site and his various contributions to New York City real estate.
Mr. Spinola published an article in Real Estate Weekly yesterday highlighting and lauding Mr. Silverstein’s accomplishments encompassing “more than a lifetime’s worth of success” following the 82-year-old’s recent announcement that he would step down as co-CEO of SPI.
While the venues and honorees may change for the annual Real Estate Board of New York banquet, some things remain constant. The raucous event, dubbed the Liar’s Ball, has developed and maintained a notorious reputation for its crowd, which carries on loudly over the on-stage speakers. Imagine the Blue Seats at Madison Square Garden circa 1982, only with tuxedos and more booze.
With the fate of millions of dollars in tax incentives and millions of square feet of office space in the balance, the city’s real estate industry is bracing for the impact of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s cabinet appointments. But the left-leaning Democrat who won the election last fall by attacking inequality and his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, has thus far refrained from tapping any nominees hostile to new development.
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.
Confidence among New York real estate brokers dipped in the third quarter thanks to political disarray in Washington and a relentless push toward super-luxury residential development that has dimmed the prospect of middle-class housing creation.
Midtown East Rezoning
Within days, the City Council will vote on the plan to rezone the Midtown East area of Manhattan. Like most major rezoning, there has been no shortage of opinions and ideas from many quarters. However, there are a few points on which everyone should be able to agree.
First, the building stock in Midtown East Read More
Midtown East Rezoning
Hundreds of opponents and supporters of Mayor Michael Bloomberg‘s controversial plan to rezone a 73-block area in Midtown East descended on the City Council Tuesday for a public hearing leading up to a final vote on the proposal scheduled for next month.
The rezoning, brought before the packed house for a final hearing before the vote, could Read More
Andrew Penson, president and founder of Argent Ventures, owner of Grand Central Terminal, is fighting back against the Midtown East rezoning plan, which Mr. Penson argues undervalues the 1.3 million square feet of transferable development rights acquired along with the rail station, Crain’s New York reported.
As part of the rezoning proposal, the city is planning to charge $250 per square foot for development rights allowing developers to build larger towers in the Midtown East submarket. The city’s price, Mr. Penson argues, is half of what Argent values the air rights at.
Midtown East Rezoning
The Newmark Grubb Knight Frank team of Barry Gosin, Brian Waterman and Romel Canete was awarded the Real Estate Board of New York’s Henry Hart Rice Award for the Most Ingenious Deal of the Year Award at the trade association’s 69th annual cocktail reception yesterday evening. The deal, which was a lease for Morgan Stanley at One New York Plaza, closed in April of last year.
The judging committee evaluated 37 dealmakers across sales, lease and finance transactions over the last year. So impressive were the submissions, that a presenter at last night’s event at the 101 Club wondered aloud whether the authors of the submissions had advanced degrees in creative writing.
New York City is beginning the public review process for the proposed rezoning of Midtown East, it was announced yesterday.
“Our East Midtown plan provides zoning incentives for the development of a handful of new, state-of-the-art sustainable commercial buildings over the next 20 years,” said Amanda Burden, city planning commissioner, in a prepared statement. “This will enable this iconic district to build on its distinguished building stock and maintain a spectrum of commercial space for different business needs, including tenants seeking modern Class A offices.
The Real Estate Board of New York has opened the submission process for the Retail Deal of the Year Awards, it was announced yesterday. The awards recognize the most creative and significant retail deals in New York City.
Submissions for the awards are due April 25. Winners will be announced at the REBNY Retail Committee’s Deal of the Year cocktail party on June 11.
“It’s certainly the most prestigious award given in our business,” Peter Braus, retail committee chair at REBNY, told The Commercial Observer. “As retail has gotten to be more of a factor in New York real estate, it has gotten to be quite the market prestige to win the award.”