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

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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

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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.

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Grand Openings

Brookfield Place Entry Hall Pavilion Opens

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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

Lease Beat

Sprinkles Cupcakes Dips into Ice Cream Biz

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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

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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

Postings

Lower Manhattan, By the Numbers

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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

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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

Lease Beat

Platinum Underwriters Reinsurance To Leave Brookfield Place for 26,206 Square Feet at 140 Broadway

140 Broadway (Credit: NYC Office)

Platinum Underwriters Reinsurance signed a 10-year, 26,206-square-foot lease at 140 Broadway, The Commercial Observer has learned. The deal will bring the company to the entire 42nd floor of the building from its current space at Brookfield Place (formerly the World Financial Center), where it had been a tenant for over 10 years.

Studley Senior Managing Director John Johnson and Executive Managing Director Marc Shapses represented the tenant. Cushman & Wakefield Executive Director of brokerage Bob Constable and Willard Overlock represented the landlord, 140 BW LLC. Mr. Constable said that asking rents were in the mid-$50 per square foot range.

“The property is very well-located for mass transit, and having the entire floor was very appealing to Platinum,” Mr. Shapses said. “Also, the views are phenomenal. All in all it was the right fit in a Class A building.” Read More

Lease Beat

TD Ameritrade Lease at 100 Broadway Fills Void Left During Darker Days

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TD Ameritrade has signed a 10-year, 9,509-square-foot lease for the ground floor and lower level at 100 Broadway, The Commercial Observer has learned.

The corner retail space in the 24-story office building features more than 170 feet of frontage along Broadway and Pine Streets.

“It’s a great corner space in the heart of the Financial District and steps from Wall Street, which lends itself well to a prominent financial institution like TD Ameritrade,” said Cushman & Wakefield’s Gene Spiegelman, who represented the landlord Madison Capital with Michael O’Neill. Read More

Food & Drink

Restaurateur Signs Deal to Run World Financial Center Marketplace

Restaurateur Peter Poulakakos has signed on to run the 30,000-square-foot marketplace at Brookfield’s World Financial Center, the New York Post reported yesterday.

Poulakakos is perhaps best known as operator of coffee chain Financier Patisserie but also oversees downtown restaurants Harry’s Café, Harry’s Steak, Adrienne’s Pizza Bar, Ulysses’ and Bayard’s.

“We met with everyone who has the expertise and desire to open a world class market in Manhattan and we were really blown away by Peter’s vision for marketplace,” Edward Hogan, Brookfield’s national director of retail leasing, told The Commercial Observer. Read More