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

559px-666_Fifth_Avenue_by_David_Shankbone

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