Lease Beat

CVS Inks on Lower East Side

Courtesy of CVS

CVS Pharmacy is the latest tenant to move to the Lower East Side, inking a deal at 42-56 East Houston Street.

The pharmacy chain, whose presence is limited and overshadowed by Walgreens and Duane Reade in the city, will be taking a 10,365-square-foot space that spans the entire block between Mulberry and Mott streets. Read More


The Best Booths At Last Week’s ICSC RECon


Las Vegas is the desert, and RECon is a tent city.

As 35,000 registered attendees at the annual global retail real estate summit flooded the Las Vegas Convention Center last week, a few of the roughly 1,000 exhibitor booths stood out.

After the jump, a sampling of the booths that had guests reeling, as well as photos from the
convention floor and the event last week in sunny Las Vegas. Read More

ICSC 2013

Retail on the Rebound: Spirits High at ICSC Event

(Credit: LeVar Thomas)

In 2009 and 2010 “you could have rolled a bowling ball down the aisle” at the International Council of Shopping Centers’ RECon conference “and it wouldn’t have hit anybody,” Massey Knakal executive vice president of retail leasing Benjamin Fox told The Commercial Observer.

But when an estimated 33,000 real estate professionals converged upon one million Read More

Sales Beat

Cohen Commercial Properties Acquires Bronx Retail Property for $11.425M


Cohen Commercial Properties has acquired a 12,212-square-foot, two-tenant, retail property at 1800 Williamsbridge Road in the Bronx for $11.425 million, The Commercial Observer has learned.

“It is a conservative investment, but it’s in an area that currently and in the longer term is going to appreciate in value,” Andrew Cohen, chief executive officer at CCP, said of the acquisition. Read More

Sales Beat

New Bank of America Building in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn Sells for $8.45 M.


A 4,000-square-foot Bank of America branch location under construction at 6601 18th Avenue in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn has changed hands for $8.45 million, city records show.

The property sits on the corner of 66th Street and 18th Avenue, which is also known as Cristoforo Colombo Boulevard and is one of the neighborhood’s most heavily-trafficked thoroughfares.

Massey Knakal marketed the property, originally for $9.75 million, as offering “a high yield, management free investment opportunity in the heart of one of Brooklyn’s fastest growing middle-class neighborhoods.” Read More

Sales Beat

Madison Capital and Institutional Owner Pay $80 M for Five Properties Across the Boroughs With Citibank Retail

181 Montague Street, Brooklyn Heights

A joint venture between Madison Capital and an institutional owner has purchased a portfolio of five Citibank retail bank branches across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx for $80.55 million.

A team from Newmark Grubb Knight Frank led by Kenneth Zakin arranged the sale and is exclusively marketing seller FGP West Street’s New York portfolio of 18 Citibank-leased properties purchased from Citibank in 2007.

“We are thrilled to complete the sale of this core group of properties, which consisted of the most valuable assets in the entire portfolio,” said Mr. Zakin, who brokered the transaction with Randall Liberman and Hymie Dweck, adding that Madison Capital solidified the deal following a competitive bidding process.  “Madison Capital stepped up and submitted an aggressive bid for the five-property portfolio.” Read More

Lease Beat

Pier One Imports Opens on Staten Island

Courtesy of Southern Savers

Pier One Imports has inked a deal in Staten Island.

The retailer that specialized in imported him furnishings and decor has grabbed a 12,000-square-foot location at 2385 Richmond Avenue in Staten Island.

The location will be its sixth in the city, following locations at 1110 Third Avenue and 71 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and a Read More


Moving Leases to Balance Sheets Has Landlords and Tenants Off Balance


Moving leases—real estate, equipment or otherwise—onto balance sheets has been kicked around for some time now, but an agreement recently reached by the International Accounting Standards Board and the Financial Accounting Standards Board could signal that change is actually coming.

Sources told The Commercial Observer that the initiative, which caught fire as “transparency” became a buzzword in the midst of the financial crisis, could have major implications for lessees of commercial real estate, particularly those that lease multiple or large blocks of space.

Stephanie Urbanski, a global real estate sector resident and assurance senior manager at Ernst & Young, pointed out several of these implications. They include changes in balance sheet metrics as leverage and capital ratios, decreased borrowing capacity and decisions by some lessees to buy rather than rent.

“Their current loan agreements may say that they must have a debt-to-asset value of some number,” Ms. Urbanski said. “If you’re increasing the debt balance, that gives them less borrowing capacity.” Read More

Power Broker

Chasing Manhattan: Westchester’s Own Chase Welles on Big Plans for Big Apple

Chase Welles.

Chase Welles never needed a Manhattan office address to execute big deals. But now he has one, and a new firm too.

For years, Mr. Welles has been one of the city’s top retail brokers despite being based in White Plains—an unusual headquarters for such a prolific and successful deal-maker in Manhattan, well-known for its clubby retail industry.

Recently, however, Mr. Welles relocated to an office overlooking Columbus Circle. Meanwhile, the firm where he is a principal, Northwest Atlantic, merged with the Shopping Center Group, a national retail services company in Atlanta. Read More

Lease Beat

C. Wonder Deal Inked at Time Warner Center

Time Warner Center. (Courtesy Property Shark)

C. Wonder, the preppy apparel and accessories retailer launched last year by designer Tory Burch’s ex husband, Christopher Burch, has signed on for a space at Time Warner Center, according to sources familiar with the deal.

The store, which opened another Manhattan store last October in Soho, will take about half of the roughly 15,000 square feet formerly occupied by the now-defunct bookstore chain Borders on the retail complex’s second floor. Read More