Lease Beat

SEC Filing: Bloomberg Renews in Midtown East

731 Lexington Avenue

Financial information and media giant Bloomberg L.P. renewed the massive lease at 731 Lexington Avenue that accounts for 45 percent of the revenues of its landlord, Vornado Realty Trust partner Alexander’s, Inc., the company announced in a third-quarter U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing this week.

Bloomberg officials signed a five-year renewal covering 188,608 square feet of office space in October to extend agreements previously slated to expire in 2015, the document notes. Commercial real estate blog “Jay Rickey” first reported the renewal. Read More

Sales Beat

Vornado Makes Big Midtown Sale, Big UES Retail Buy

1740 Broadway

Vornado Realty Trust has reached an agreement to sell its 601,000-square-foot office building at 1740 Broadway for roughly $605 million and finalized the joint $700 million purchase of the retail condominium on the ground floor of the St. Regis hotel and an adjacent retail townhouse on Fifth Avenue, the company announced this morning.

Company officials will spin off the approximately $483 million in tax gains by reinvesting them in a tax-deferred exchange towards the acquisition of the retail space on the southeast corner of 55th Street, where Vornado closed as the 75 percent partner in the joint buy of the property with Crown Acquisitions. Read More

Lease Beat

Nonprofit Inks Lease for Subleased Space

90 Park Avenue

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit that provides research grants to scholars and artists, signed a 16-year, 13,878-square-foot lease in space it has occupied as a subtenant for nearly 50 years in Midtown East, EVO Real Estate Group announced earlier this week.

The nonprofit inked the direct lease with Vornado Realty Trust for the entire 33rd floor of the building at 90 Park Avenue where asking rents run for $85 per square foot, EVO officials said. The organization will relocate temporarily for new renovations and occupy the revamped space between East 39th and East 40th Streets in April 2015, Arnold Gamberg, an executive vice president at EVO, told Crain’s New York Business, which first reported the deal. Read More

The Sit-Down

Talking Towers, Cities and Teamwork With Josh Kuriloff of Cushman & Wakefield

Josh Kuriloff

Cushman & Wakefield Executive Vice Chairman Josh Kuriloff’s office at the company’s Midtown headquarters features several models of Chicago’s Willis Tower; pictures of the 28-year veteran C&W broker with Bill Clinton, George Pataki, Colin Powell and Magic Johnson; and a desk covered in piles of research reports and client files. Mr. Kuriloff, a 55-year-old married father of two, invited Commercial Observer to visit last week for a frank discussion of his work representing clients like the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Verizon and his thoroughly researched thoughts on the city’s future. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Ashkenazy Receives $210M CMBS Loan for L.A. Mall Buy

Beverly Connection

Meridian Capital Group secured a $210 million CMBS loan on behalf of New York-based Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation to help fund its purchase of the Beverly Connection shopping center in Los Angeles, Mortgage Observer has first learned.

Meridian Senior Managing Director Ronnie Levine and Managing Director Jeffrey Berkes, both based in the company’s New York City headquarters, led the negotiations. Messrs. Levine and Berkes declined to name the lender. Read More

REIT Beat

REIT-Specific Trading Platform Launched

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In an effort to diversify the real estate investment trust sector and bring shares of individual real estate assets to the market, ETRE Financial has launched the first real estate-specific trading platform. The platform combines capital markets, asset management, trading, and analysis services into a single system.

“Everyone is familiar with portfolio REITs, but the genesis here was to bring single asset REITs to the marketplace,” Paul Frischer, co-founder and chief executive of ETRE, told The Commercial Observer. Read More

Mortgage Observer

The Return of Mezzanine Financing

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Mezzanine financing, filling the gap between first mortgage lending and the equity that investors have to finance, has returned with a vengeance. As Joshua Stein reported in the April 2013 issue of this magazine, “Today, first mortgage lenders want to lend again, but it’s very much not like 2007 all over again. Proceeds are down, conservatism is up, and many borrowers find themselves with a gap between the equity they’re willing to risk in a deal and the first mortgage financing they’re able to find.” Read More

Facelifts

Frank Gehry to Design Facebook’s New Offices at 770 Broadway

770 Broadway

A-list starchitect Frank Gehry will team up with Facebook on the design of the social media kingpin’s “big,” “open” and “cozy” new offices at 770 Broadway in New York.

Mr. Gehry is currently working with Facebook on the expansion of its Menlo Park, California headquarters. The 100,000-square-foot Village office will share certain elements–collaborative spaces, an uncluttered floor plan, an abundance of white boards and videoconferencing rooms–with the West Coast mothership but, per an announcement by Facebook’s New York engineering team site director Serkan Piantino, also “be distinctly Big Apple in design.” Read More

Mortgage Observer

Cartier! Versace! Vuitton! Financing Next Gen at Crown’s Ritzy Retail Focus

Chera brothers.

One day in the late 1980s, three Brooklyn brothers in their teens—Isaac, Haim and Richard Chera—followed their grandfather, Isaac, and their father, Stanley, on a trip to Manhattan. While not in school, the brothers would spend much of their spare time in the Fulton Street children’s clothing store that their grandfather had opened in 1948, in a space formerly occupied by a hat store, Suzette Millinery Shop. At the time, lacking the money to replace the previous banner, Isaac Chera simply tweaked it, naming his business Suzette Kiddie Store. Only later, after having expanded to several other stores, did the family change the name to Young World. Soon, the elder Isaac Chera started to invest in real estate. The best advice he gave to his family, according to his grandson, Haim, was to always buy the building where they had a store. Read More

Lease Beat

Blue Mountain Capital Renews at 280 Park Avenue

Courtesy of the Real Deal

Blue Mountain Capital has extended its lease and will expand at 280 Park Avenue.

The firm had previously occupied a 22,250-square-foot office on the fifth floor of the building where it has been located since 2007. It will relocate to the 12th floor of the building where employees will spread out across the entirety of a 49,541-square-foot floor plate. Read More

Lease Beat

HP Girlswear/BB Active Signs For 61,916 Square Feet of Office Space At 100 West 33rd Street

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HP Girlswear/BB Active signed a lease for a total 61,916 square feet of office space spread over two floors at Vornado Realty Trust‘s 100 West 33rd Street, the Herald Square building that houses the Manhattan Mall.

Arnold Gamberg, a senior executive manager at Murray Hill Properties, represented the tenant.  Vornado was represented in-house by Craig Panzirer, a vice president and director of the firm’s Penn Plaza portfolio, and Jared Solomon, a leasing agent. Read More

Manhattan Market Report

Sevenfold Retail Sales Volume Catapults $13 Billion Q4: Eastern Consolidated

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An unprecedented sevenfold increase in retail property sales fueled the Manhattan commercial real estate sales market’s epic comeback in the fourth quarter – its strongest performance since 2007, according to preliminary data from Eastern Consolidated.

The hallmark quarter, with nearly $13 billion in sales volume – the strongest since record-breaking performances in 2007 (peaking at $19 billion in Q2 of 2007) – was triggered by fears of impending capital gains taxes, which had owners scrambling to unload properties before year’s end.

“This was definitely fiscal-driven growth,” said Barbara Byrne Denham, Eastern Consolidated’s chief economist.  “Sellers wanted to cash out and buyers knew it, so they were eager to come to the table as well.” Read More