Spec & Design

Architectural Myths Vs Reality: Part Two

When I decided to take on the biggest myths in architecture, I didn’t have to think long or hard to come up with the second notion that I wanted to put to rest: working with an architect means you’ll get locked into their design “style.” In fact, it’ such a common misconception that I’ve decided Read More

Sammons Says

The Award for Most Interesting 2013 Manhattan Submarket Goes to…

…It was definitely a close call. During the vote for the 2013 Most Interesting Manhattan Submarket Award (of which I was the only voter), it came down to the NGKF submarkets of World Trade or Penn Station (home of “greater” Hudson Yards). There was consideration to open it up to all of New York City so Brooklyn could be included. But cooler heads prevailed–a gain, just mine–and without getting into all that Brooklyn promotion, I kept the selection to one borough. I’m pleased to announce that this year’s MIMS Award goes to Read More

Lease Beat

51 Astor Place Fully Leased by January 30: Edward Minskoff

51 Astor Place

In October news broke that online auctioneer 1stdibs had signed a 15-year lease for the entire 42,232-square-foot third floor at 51 Astor Place, and now Edward Minskoff says the building will be full by the end of next month. 

“By January 30 we’ll be 100 percent leased there, and that’s all I’ll say,” he told The Commercial Observer Read More

The Plan

Check Out New 59th Street-Columbus Circle Subway Shopping Corridor


Two weeks ago, the Metropolitan Transit Authority announced it had tapped Columbus Development to build, curate and manage Shop//Stop, an unprecedented 27,000-square-foot retail concourse at the 59th Street-Columbus Circle subway station.

As part of the plan, the developer will invest $6.5 million in capital improvements to the concourse, through which 21 million commuters pass each year. Columbus Development Principal Susan Fine, who previously worked on retail projects at the World Financial Center and Grand Central Terminal, spoke to The Commercial Observer last week about the unique challenges and opportunities presented by this public-private project.

“We’re trying to create a family of stores—a curated group of stores—which will both serve the transit rider and the population on the street,” she said.

Read More

All a-Twitter

Twitter Said to Eye Astor Place Move; Minskoff Suggests Otherwise


Social media giant Twitter is in talks to take up to 100,000 square feet at 51 Astor Place, Edward Minskoff’s “spec” tower, according to a report.

Twitter, the micro-blogging site, is in discussions over a long-term deal with rents in the $90s per square foot, according to a report by Crain’s New York. The company, which celebrated a successful initial public offering earlier this month, opened its first New York office at 340 Madison Avenue in 2011.

Read More

Grand Openings

Brookfield Place Entry Hall Pavilion Opens

WFC, Entry Pavilion3

Plaza Construction has announced the opening of a new entry pavilion at the recently renamed Brookfield Place (formerly the World Financial Center) that can hold an estimated 100,000 commuters each day.

The Entry Hall Pavilion, which is part of the first phase of landlord Brookfield Office Properties‘s $250 million renovation of the property, allows PATH and subway commuters easy access to Brookfield Place and Goldman Sachs headquarters. The ambitious renovation plans also include a marketplace and food vendors that have drawn comparisons to Mario Batali‘s Eataly. Read More

Mergers and Acquisitions

Brookfield Property Partners Looks to Buy Brookfield Office Properties

Brookfield Place.

Brookfield Property Partners, which spun off from Brookfield Asset Management earlier this year, has offered to buy the remaining shares of Brookfield Office Properties it does not already own in a transaction valued by the company at $5 billion.

In the planned tender offer, BPO shareholders would receive $19.34 per share–a 15 percent premium on the stock’s price at Friday’s market close and a 17 percent premium to the 30-day volume-weighted average price. Shares in BPO traded up over 16 percent to $19.54 in early morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Read More

Design & Spec

Hey, Spec, What is an Executive Architect?

It’s my favorite time of the year: college football season!

As an architect, I can relate to the intensity some of the players feel. How so? Much like the strongest linebacker on a football team, an executive architect coordinates all of the players on defense—or, in this case, on a project team—and makes sure all Read More

Lease Beat

Sprinkles Cupcakes Dips into Ice Cream Biz


Sprinkles Cupcakes has signed a 7,000-square-foot lease extension and expansion at 780-782 Lexington Avenue, giving the shop an additional 1,000 square feet for the launch of an ice cream undertaking next to its existing Manhattan cupcake operation.

An “ATM machine” outside the shop will allow customers to order cupcakes 24 hours a day, according to Read More

New Developments

Waiting on a Dream: Betting on ‘Spec’ at 51 Astor Place


The dark glass walls lining 51 Astor Place are modernistic, if not futuristic. Some critics have claimed that its developer’s asking rents, at upward of $115 a foot, are from the future too.

Others have argued that Edward Minskoff took a gamble in erecting the structure without an anchor tenant—a so-called “spec tower.”

But for Mr. Minskoff, who has developed close to 37 million square feet of property in 10 cities around the country—maintaining patience as a virtue—the term takes on a positive connotation.

“A spec tower means that we started the development with the confidence that if you build it they will come, and with the confidence necessary to lease the building,” Mr. Minskoff told The Commercial Observer.  “If you’re going to plan a building and you don’t start it until a tenant comes walking along, you can be sitting on the dirt for 10 years.” Read More


Lower Manhattan, By the Numbers

CO 3-19 Postings, Page 22

While the story in Midtown South over the past two years has inarguably been Class B and, to a lesser extent, Class C buildings and their increasing cachet among tech startups, the story in lower Manhattan is still all about Class A properties. With approximately five million square feet of new inventory coming online next year with the completion of 1 World Trade Center, the market will boast some of the most efficient and modern space in all of Manhattan.

More immediately, however, approximately two million square feet of space at the World Financial Center is expected to be made available by next month, thanks to lease rollovers by Nomura and Deloitte, among other major tenants. With such availability of Class A space, no wonder the asset class saw a 30 percent uptick in leasing from last February. Jonathan Mazur, director of research at Cushman & Wakefield, clued The Commercial Observer in on some other big statistical changes in lower Manhattan last week and gave us a sense of what’s to come in 2013. Read More

The Sit-Down

Food With A View: Brookfield Properties’ Ed Hogan on Lower Manhattan’s Answer to Eataly


Ed Hogan is the national director of retail leasing for Brookfield Properties and has a lead role in signing food vendors and retail tenants at the World Financial Center, soon to be renamed Brookfield Place. In the past month, Brookfield has inked deals with eight vendors and confirmed that the restaurateur Peter Poulakakos will operate the facility’s new marketplace. Mr. Hogan spoke with The Commercial Observer last week about his vision for Brookfield Place, the thought process behind choosing food and retail tenants, and how Brookfield Place will fit into lower Manhattan’s evolving landscape.

The Commercial Observer: What is your vision for Brookfield Place?

Mr. Hogan: Our vision is to create the most exciting, dynamic neighborhood in Downtown Manhattan. Brookfield Place is situated on the edge of the Hudson River, facing the New York Harbor and Statue of Liberty, and is truly one of the most special places in the city, with unparalleled views. Given the transformation that Downtown’s undergoing, we just view it as a great opportunity to create a dynamic neighborhood that is indicative of the people living, working and visiting Downtown today. Read More