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.
Midtown East Rezoning
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.”
Midtown East Rezoning
Midtown 21C, a coalition heavy on construction companies and labor organizations advocating for the rezoning of Midtown East, yesterday released a study evaluating the area’s historic assets and development history. The focus of the study was structures targeted by preservation groups for landmark status, which could hinder rezoning proposals.
Members of the coalition include the New York Building Congress, the Building Trades Employers Association, the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, the Hotel Trades Council, 32BJ Service Employees Union and the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY).
According to the study, prepared for Midtown 21C by CivicVisions LP of Philadelphia, “New York runs the risk of undermining its competitive edge by revisiting issues that were covered 30 years ago when truly iconic buildings were landmarked. If landmarks are created solely for the purpose of opposing redevelopment, they jeopardize New York’s future.”
Thursday’s Real Estate Board of New York gala packed an estimated 2,400 guests into the Hilton New York’s overstuffed Grand Ballroom—an increase from last year by about 200. The Commercial Observer walked the room, hobnobbed with brokers and landlords and taste-tested a dinner of steak and potatoes while washing it all down with a few stiff drinks. Staff Reporters Karsten Strauss and Al Barbarino get the inside dish.
As forecasters became more and more certain that a monster storm named Sandy was barreling toward Manhattan in the 48 hours leading up to its landfall on Monday, October 29, Real Estate Board of New York President Steven Spinola lay in a hospital bed recovering from a sudden medical emergency.
But the hospital stay didn’t Read More
Since 1986, Steven Spinola has served as president of the Real Estate Board of New York. With his organization’s annual gala approaching next week, Mr. Spinola is saying goodbye to outgoing chair Mary Ann Tighe and welcoming Rob Speyer, president and co-chief executive officer of Tishman Speyer, while also guiding REBNY’s agenda for 2013. The Read More
If you are a regular reader of Concrete Thoughts, you know that I think networking is extremely valuable for participants in our commercial real estate market.
One of the main benefits of networking is getting to meet people face-to-face and developing relationships that are lasting and lead to business opportunities. One of the best trade organizations through which to network is the Real Estate Board of New York.
This week, REBNY is holding its 117th annual banquet, so I thought it appropriate to recognize the tremendous work that the board does on behalf of our industry. Not only does REBNY provide tremendous networking opportunities, it’s also a leading advocate for our industry.
The new year ushered in a shaken-up hierarchy to the Real Estate Board of New York.
Tishman Speyer President Rob Speyer has replaced Mary Ann Tighe as chairman. Mr. Speyer, 43, is the youngest chairman in the board’s 117-year history, and will inherit the position from the first female to ever hold it. Despite his youth, Mr. Speyer has history on his side: he’s the third generation of his family to be named REBNY chair.
Mr. Speyer’s combination of youth and lineage is well-suited to an organization that in 2012 faced fresh, modern challenges whose resolutions required the full weight of the influence REBNY has accrued over the past century. Hurricane Sandy caused unprecedented damage to coastal areas of the city and its transportation system, not to mention the related electric grid failure. And while major storms are nothing new, they seem on course to increase in size and frequency.
Broker confidence levels have been restored after a dip caused by Hurricane Sandy, but commercial brokers remain less optimistic than their residential counterparts, according to data from REBNY’s Broker Confidence Index released last week.
At 8.12 in December 2012, based on a scale of zero to ten, the average confidence rating for commercial and residential brokers combined was the second highest since REBNY began tracking the data in June 2012 (with the record of 8.55 set in September 2012).
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the rating had dipped to 7.55 in November.
Year in Real Estate
FEMA spokesperson William Rukeyser described the ad-hoc, jumbled feel of the company’s impromptu space in the Forest Hills Tower like a scene from a hard-hit neighborhood, with hanging wires, antennas strapped to the ceiling, Post-It notes and sheets of paper with various instructions scattered about, and impromptu folding tables holding printers and other office equipment. Most seemed at a loss for words when assessing damages.
“It’s—It’s—It’s just a mess,” Durst Organization spokesperson Jordan Barowitz told The Commercial Observer less than a week after the storm hit, struggling to describe the destruction in Lower Manhattan.
Faith Hope Consolo omits names but doesn’t mince words when she describes her visits to Real Estate Board of New York meetings in the late 1980s.
“I once walked into a Stores Committee conference. Back then it was this little club. And some bozo—I won’t say who—said, ‘What are you doing here? Why don’t you try residential real estate?’” said Ms. Consolo, chairman of the retail group at Douglas Elliman.
Rosemary Scanlon, dean of NYU’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, recalls some incredulous replies when she told people she was an economist. “They’d look at me and—in all seriousness—say ‘Oh, home economics. You must be a good cook,’” said Ms. Scanlon.
Upon hearing that Jennifer Carey, president of the Association of Real Estate Women and JLC Environmental Consultants, had majored in biology in college, “people all assumed I was a nurse,” said Ms. Carey.
Tax season surprises are rarely welcome events and next year could hold several for owners of New York commercial real estate, thanks to legislative action in Albany last year.
Bill number S5763, which died in the Assembly, was primarily tied to the Roberts v. Tishman Speyer Properties rent deregulation case. It would have meant that landlords wouldn’t have to return retroactive monetary damages related to rent overages.
The bill also would have meant the continuation of the controversial J-51 tax abatement and exemption program—originally intended to encourage owners to renovate and upgrade their buildings. In recent years the abatement has become a bone of contention among tenants rights groups, who feel that it is often used to reward landlords for improvements to luxury buildings.
Alan Wiener called the whole thing “weird.” And for several reasons it was a somewhat unusual scenario—two bus loads of folks from the Bronx 99% Spring, an Occupy Wall Street offshoot, gathered on his lawn Saturday April 14, 2012, a beautiful spring day. The buses had pulled up to the private drive leading to his Rye home as men, women and children took the short walk to Mr. Wiener’s property (click through to the end to read the letter the group left him).
Heidi Hynes, a spokeswoman for the group, told The Mortgage Observer that they chose Mr. Wiener “because he’s in charge of multifamily mortgages and because the Bronx is filled with multifamily housing.” Also, she said, he lives in Rye, which wasn’t far to travel. According to Ms. Hynes, Mr. Wiener is part of the predatory banking system that had over-financed mortgages and then received bailout money from the government, even as programs for poor kids in the Bronx were cut.
The Real Estate Board of New York released the candidates for its annual retail deal of the year awards yesterday. This year’s field includes 10 transactions. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on June 12.
As would be expected, the lineup includes a number of prominent leases.