Witkoff’s Former Toy Building Blocks Madison Park Views, Hotel Owner Charges

Rendering of 17 West 24th Street (Credit: Gene Kaufman Architect).

The developer who is breaking ground on a new boutique hotel in the NoMad area said he has lost his picturesque Madison Square Park views thanks to Witkoff Group’s 10 Madison Square West.

The temporarily-named Prime Hotel, an under-construction 18-story boutique hotel (also being dubbed Black Hotel) located at 17 West 24th Street, was originally hoping to showcase sprawling views of Madison Square Park on its top floors until the developer of 10 Madison Square West decided to add seven floors—a decision that Eugene Lee, a managing member of Prime Hotel Management, was not aware of when he bought 17 West 24th Street. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Terra Funds Witkoff Land Deal for Sunset Strip Development

Rendering of the Marriott Edition hotel 9040 Sunset Boulevard.

Terra—the Latin word for “ground”—is becoming all the more relevant for one firm. Terra Capital Partners closed its third land deal as the mezzanine lender continues to shift its attention to non-income producing and transitional assets for established sponsors.

The New York-based firm provided a $25 million mezzanine loan to fund the Witkoff Group’s acquisition and pre-development of 9040 Sunset Boulevard, a 1.4-acre development site in West Hollywood, Calif. Read More

Air rights

Times Square Marriott Sets Theater District Record With Big Air Rights Buy

A rendering of the Marriott Edition, to be built at 701 Seventh Avenue.

The Times Square Marriott at 701 Seventh Avenue has set a new record for the purchase price of Theater District air rights, paying $409 per square foot for 44,968 square feet of air rights, according to city records. The air rights were purchased by a development consortium led by the Witkoff Group, from the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre and The Booth Theatre, as Commercial Observer previously reported. It will allow the new mixed-use development on the corner of Seventh Avenue and 47th Street to rise to 500 feet, bringing the building’s total square footage to 269,892 square feet.

The sale marked the first time that air rights in the Theater District Transfer District, which was created by the city in 1998 to allow landmarked theaters to cash out on their unused air rights, had surpassed $400 per square foot, according to an analysis performed for the Observer by TenantWise, a real estate services and advisory company. Read More

Lower Manhattan 2013

‘Worth’ the Wait: As Lower Manhattan Population Soars, Alchemy Properties Builds Condos Atop Woolworth Building

The Woolworth Building

The luxury residential real estate market has soared to unprecedented heights in the past year, in terms of both price tags and building heights. But none of today’s $100 million penthouses rest atop a quintessential New York building. That will change next year, when new condominiums at the Woolworth Building hit the market.

Last August, The New York Times reported that Alchemy Properties had paid $68 million in a deal with building owners the Witkoff Group and Cammeby’s International to turn the top 30 floors of the 100-year-old landmark building into 40 luxury apartments—including a trophy penthouse spanning a whopping five stories at the top. Read More

Manhattan Market Report

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


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

Mortgage Beat

Investor Group Acquires Times Square Development Site for $430 Million

701 Seventh Avenue.

A venture between the Witkoff Group, Maefield Development, Infinity Urban Century–and New Valley, an investment unit of Vector Group–completed the $430 million acquisition of a development site at 701 Seventh Avenue in Times Square, where it plans to build a 340,000-square-foot, 36-story, multi-use complex. Times Square Gateway Center, located between Seventh Avenue and 47th Street, will feature retail space, a hotel tower and the nation’s largest single LED screen for Broadway’s iconic lights and advertising.

Steven Kassin, co-managing partner of Infinity Urban Century, confirmed the amount of the investment to The Commercial Observer.

Barry Sternlicht’s Starwood Property Trust and Starwood Capital Group provided $475 million in combined acquisition and construction financing for the development. The loan will have an initial funding of $375 million with $100 million of future funding for redevelopment costs and also contains an equity participation right for the lender. Read More