C&W Exec Killed in Amtrak Derailment

Laura Finamore.

A Cushman & Wakefield executive has been identified as one of the eight people killed when Amtrak train #188 derailed Tuesday night.

Laura Finamore was a managing director of the corporate occupier and investor services group at C&W in New York City, where she worked since 2008, her family said in a statement. She was on her way back to New York on the ill-fated train after attending a memorial service for her friend’s mother at Arlington National Cemetery, reported. Read More

Mortgage Observer

M&T Finances Murray Hill Acquisition and Condo Conversion

The Montrose.

M&T Bank provided $66.3 million in financing to Gaia Real Estate for the purchase and planned conversion of a 22-story apartment building in Murray Hill to condominiums, Mortgage Observer has first learned.

The New York-based real estate investment firm bought the 97-unit property at 308 East 38th Street from UBS in late January for $75 million, a person familiar with the deal said on the condition of anonymity. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Five Major Market Properties Defeased

Michigan Plaza in Chicago.

Five commercial properties in big cities around the country had their loans fully defeased this week, Mortgage Observer has learned.

Data obtained and provided by the commercial real estate and financial research firm Trepp shows that the properties in Chicago, Boston, Seattle, Dallas and Washington, D.C., carried balances totaling $390.4 million. Defeasance provisions allowed the borrowers to swap out the loans with Treasury securities that replicate the cash flows of the loan. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Chang Refis FiDi Hotel With $135M From UBS

Holiday Inn Financial District

Sam Chang and Jubao Xie, sponsors of the Holiday Inn Financial District, a full service hotel at 99 Washington Street, have refinanced their debt on the property.

The sponsors, who are the majority shareholders of McSam Downtown, the ownership entity, took a $135 million loan from UBS, Mr. Chang confirmed to Mortgage Observer. Read More


Commercial Real Estate Lenders Reaching, or Exceeding, 2013 Expectations


December is typically a time when real estate leaders, especially the bankers who provide financing for commercial real estate transactions, allocate many evenings to attend year-end holiday parties.

One of the questions on the minds of many in attendance at these elaborate events this year will no doubt be whether the financial institutions have reached or exceeded their goals in providing funding for real estate transactions. One thing is certain: CMBS investment bankers have exceeded last year’s output, yet it is not certain if the Wall Street shops will reach a $100 billion in gross lending. There are also the traditional savings and commercial banks, mortgage REITs, private equity funds and insurance companies, as well as new players in town who joined and/or increased their volume of financing this year.

Read More

Lease Beat

Leerink Swann & Co. Subleases Again

Courtesy of Fisher Brothers

Leerink Swann & Co. will take another sublease at 299 Park Avenue.

The consulting firm, which specializes in equity research, investment banking and asset management services, will add another floor to its portfolio in the Fisher Brothers-owned building. The firm will take the 21st floor of the property from UBS, spanning 28,643-square-feet.

Read More

Lease Beat

Capital One Takes 250K SF at 299 Park Avenue


Capital One has signed a long-term lease for 250,000 square feet across eight mid-rise floors and ground-level retail space at 299 Park Avenue, The Commercial Observer has learned. Terms for the lease, which will begin immediately, were not disclosed.

The Fisher Brothers property will serve as the primary New York location for the financial services company, which specializes in credit cards and loans. The tenant will take space soon to be vacated by UBS, the Zurich-based company that announced plans to move earlier this year. Read More

Lease Beat

Eurotech Signs Sublease at 135 West 50th Street

Courtesy of Honest Buildings

Eurotech Construction has signed a 14,387-square-foot sublease at 135 West 50th Street, also known as the Sports Illustrated Building. The deal, for a portion of the fifth floor, carries starting rent in the low-$30s per square foot, according to data from CompStak.

The deal is similar to that of Fareportal, an online travel group that signed a sublease for the remainder of the fifth floor last year. The company consolidated three offices into the 40,848-square-foot Midtown space. Read More


Midtown’s Westward Expansion Offers a Modern Crack at Manifest Destiny


Like the westward expansion that gripped the nation during the early to mid-1800’s, the expansion of Midtown Manhattan offers the city’s commercial real estate pioneers a modern crack at manifest destiny.

The trajectory of Midtown’s new building stock over the last seven decades tells a story of westward expansion that most recently struck Midtown West with the Hudson Yards development project.

“Hudson Yards really is the last frontier,” said James Delmonte, principal and vice president of research at Avison Young.  “Firms are looking for newer product and larger floor plates, largely because there really is no available land on the east side.” Read More

The Lobby

Avison Young Continues Hiring Spree With Addition of John Ryan III


Industry veteran John Ryan III is the latest hire in Canadian real estate firm Avison Young’s mission to expand its footprint across New York City and the United States.

As Principal of the firm’s New York City office, Mr. Ryan will harness his 23 years of experience in tenant and landlord representation, providing brokerage services for key clients.

“I am thrilled by the opportunity to join Avison Young,” Mr. Ryan said, in a prepared statement.  “The positive trajectory of Avison Young’s growth nationally, as well as in the New York City market, where the firm has established a high-quality reputation in a relatively short period of time, has been very exciting to watch.” Read More

Stat of the Week

Deals Under 20,000 SF Ruled in 2012


Mega deals rule the commercial real estate market and the trade papers, as everyone in the industry wants to know where the latest big block of space was leased and who will take down the next one.

The market saw its share of deals that were 100,000 square feet and more in 2012, just slightly off of 2011’s pace—53 versus 56, respectively. It is always great to read about the UBS-type 890,000-square-foot renewals and expansions and the Microsoft-like 204,000-square-foot deals, but based on the number of transactions, these household names account for merely 3 percent of the leasing activity in any given year. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Class of 2013: New Hires Signal Banks’ Growth Heading Into New Year


Everyone wants to operate a business in New York City. Companies from around the world travel to the Big Apple to expand their presence in the global market by staking out space here.

While the costs of operating a business in the city and in the region can be astronomical, the rewards can make it well worth it. So despite the challenges, each year a number of financial institutions from around the globe decide that it’s time to expand in New York in order to capitalize on companies’ desires to open shop or expand their operations here. As 2012 draws to a close, a number of new entrants from regional and national banks are elbowing in to gain market share in the New York tristate area by offering financing for commercial real estate. That means new hires. Read More

Mortgage Beat

Vornado Realty Closes Loans on Midtown Properties

437 Seventh Avenue.

With a recently obtained mortgage and other two rumored to come next, Vornado Realty seems close to obtaining over $1 billion in loans on Midtown properties from some of the biggest players on the market.

The German Bank Landesbank Baden-Württemberg has recently provided $98 million of refinancing on 435 Seventh Avenue, at the corner with 34th Street. The 43,000-square-foot building is fully leased to the Swedish retailer H&M. Vornado Realty might now use part of the proceeds of the new loan to retire a $52 million mortgage provided in 2009 by HSBC Holdings. Read More