Lease Beat

Law firm Signs Dotted Line for Space at Rock Center

Atlas Statue at Rockefeller Center

Law firm Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady is moving to bigger digs at Rockefeller Center, Commercial Observer has learned.

The firm, which has an active commercial and real estate litigation practice, is expanding its office space by more than 4,000 square feet to 16,163 square feet comprising the entire 10th floor at 600 Fifth Avenue near 48th Street. Read More

Lease Beat

Law Firm Expands at 30 Rock

30 Rockefeller Plaza

Haynes and Boone LLP has expanded by 38,193 square feet at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, taking the entire 24th floor at the Tishman Speyer property, Commercial Observer has learned.

The law firm now occupies the entire 24th, 25th and 26th floors for a total of 112,793 square feet and is now the third largest tenant in the building, according to a spokesperson who confirmed the deal. The tenant will pay rent starting in the high-$70s, according to data from CompStak. Read More

MO's Top 50

Jonathan Pollack Takes Top Spot On This Year’s 50 Most Important People in CREF

Jonathan Pollack

Deutsche Bank’s CMBS guru and real estate financing head honcho, Jonathan Pollack, took the No. 1 spot on this year’s 50 Most Important People list due to several colossal deals and his team’s top ranking in the global and U.S. securitized debt markets.

While the German global banking and financial services company reported an unexpected overall loss of 965 million euros, or $1.3 billion, for the fourth quarter of 2013, its real estate debt operations have continued to show clear gains. Read More

The Sit-Down

Kevin Hoo’s Tweet Victory

Kevin Hoo

Kevin Hoo’s prior experience with UBS AG and later Tishman Speyer allowed him to slip seamlessly into a role as a vice president at Savanna in 2011, where as an asset manager he handles everything from financing acquisitions to choosing building finishes, leasing them up and handling day-to-day operations. “We run a fairly lean team here,” he said. “My role has been to play the jack of all trades.” At Tishman Speyer, Mr. Hoo’s acquisition, development, design and construction roles saw him focusing on properties as iconic as Rockefeller Center and the MetLife Building, but as he tells it, Savanna’s recent repositioning of 245 and 249 West 17th Street, now home to Twitter’s New York City headquarters, is the most exciting endeavor he has been a part of. Read More

Lease Beat

Baker Botts Clamps Down on 30 Rock, Enters Brazil

30 Rockefeller Plaza

Houston-based global law firm Baker Botts has signed a 10-year, 104,000-square-foot renewal for its space at Tishman Speyer’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

The move comes on the same day that the firm, the fourth-biggest adviser on North American oil and natural gas deals this year, announced it will expand to Brazil as Petroleo Brasileiro SA – its Read More

Wired City

The World According to Riggs Kubiak, Honest Buildings’ Visionary CEO

Riggs Power Broker_Fernando Pereira Gomes-3

For Riggs Kubiak, the appeal of real estate lay in its tangibility.

“Working with things that you can touch, feel, walk into and experience,” he said, “was more exciting to me than dealing with synthetic collateralized debt obligations.”

Mr. Kubiak, 32, got his start in the industry renting apartments while he was an undergraduate at Boston College. And, following stints at Ernst & Young and Granite Partners, he rose to become the global head of sustainability at Tishman Speyer, where he worked for five years.

Now he’s the chief executive officer of Honest Buildings, a website he co-founded with his sister, Garrett Kubiak, and Cody Roberts that connects building owners and tenants with brokers, contractors and other real estate professionals in a bid to bolster transparency and hasten innovation in construction, design and other fields. Read More

Lease Beat

Consignment Shop Second Time Around Leases 1,213 Square Feet in Stuy Town

Stuy Town as seen from First Avenue

The consignment store Second Time Around signed a long-term lease for 1,213 square feet of Stuyvesant Town real estate at 334 First Avenue.

Scott Galin and Darell Handler of Handler Real Estate Organization represented the tenant. Bruce Spiegel and William Bergman of Rose Associates, Inc. represented the landlord, ST Owner, LP. Messrs. Galin and Handler said asking rent was $120 per square foot. Read More

Lease Beat

Law Firm Selects Chrysler Building for First New York Office


Lewis Baach PLLC, a Washington, D.C.-based law firm, has signed a 4-year lease for 3,867 square feet on the 32nd floor of the Chrysler Building at 405 Lexington Avenue, it was announced yesterday. Asking rent was $65 per square foot.

The law firm, which has international offices in London and Buenos Aires, will operate in New York under the name Lewis Baach PLLC Kaufmann Middlemiss. The office is currently operational according to Adam Kaufmann, partner, who will be joined in New York by Arthur Middlemiss. Mr. Kaufman recently left the Manhattan District Attorney’s office to join the firm. Read More

The Sit-Down

The Final Word: Charles Bagli on “Other People’s Money”


The New York Times’s Charles Bagli’s new book Other People’s Money tackles the housing crisis and 2010 collapse of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village deal. Set for release April 4, the book takes readers inside the bidding war and the eventual loss of billions of dollars of investor money. Mr. Bagli, a former reporter at The New York Observer, spoke with The Commercial Observer about the book, how the Stuy Town deal defined an era, and whether or not investors and the industry learned a lesson.

The Commercial Observer: What is the significance of this story?

Mr. Bagli: For me—just my own thinking—it was a critical moment. Here we are in the midst of another real estate boom, and it just really highlighted the fact that these guys that used to go for the “glass and brass” are out there scooping up what some people would call “meat and potatoes,” the brick tenements. You sort of step back and say: ‘Whoa, what’s this about?’ Like I say in the book, I think Stuyvesant Town, in a way, is for New Yorkers an iconic place, not dissimilar from the Empire State Building or Rockefeller Center.

Read More

A Boom With a View

Empire State Building, 30 Rock Battle for Big Observatory Bucks; 1 WTC May Top Both

Coco Jones, on top of the world.

The view from the Empire State Building observation deck was especially expansive on March 13, with crystal-clear skies hovering over the five boroughs, New Jersey and, visible to the north, Westchester County. Yet Coco Jones briefly dominated the panorama.

Ms. Jones, 15, was perched, alone, on the southeastern corner of the deck. The Disney Channel alumna—she appeared on the cable network’s short-lived sketch comedy series So Random!—had released her debut EP, Made Of, the previous day. And although its lead single, “Holla at the DJ,” had yet to chart on Billboard’s Hot 100, Ms. Jones was ready to celebrate its release on the Empire State’s Building’s 86th floor. Read More

Cover Story

Long Island City’s Renaissance

2012-12-07 V001 sm

Miami native Rick Rosa stuffed a few bags with his belongings in 1999 and headed for New York City.

Though not the postcard image he envisioned, he stumbled upon the industrial waterfront neighborhood of Long Island City, where he found an affordable pad, close to Manhattan, with a yard for his dog, Benny.

“The neighborhood Read More