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Cover Story

High Tide in Greenpoint

Greenpoint along the East River. (Michael Nagle)

Greenpoint may not be as sleek as Williamsburg, and the neighborhood is still a (diminished) Polish stronghold, but it’s gaining more attention now as residential developments, many stalled during the recession, prepare to dot the still-scrappy waterfront.

“It’s just a matter of evolution,” said Ofer Cohen, the founder and president of Brooklyn commercial brokerage TerraCRG, Read More

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Leading Beyond LEED: NYC Buildings and the Evolving Fight to Consume Less Energy

803 Knickerbocker Avenue.

One of the country’s first hyper-efficient affordable multifamily passive houses was failing a basic evaluation early this month and nobody on architect Chris Benedict’s Architecture and Energy Limited team could figure out why. When the innovative foam-and-stucco structure at 803 Knickerbocker Avenue in Bushwick couldn’t hold up to the blower door test that’s a standard Read More

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Etsy Takes Brooklyn

(Sergio Herrera/Flickr)

Up on a hill, yet down under the Brooklyn Bridge overpass, sits Dumbo Heights, a collection of manufacturing buildings including the former Watchtower buildings. Once owned by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the properties were home to printing presses that churned out the religious organization’s pamphlets and Bibles, as well as corporate offices and dry-cleaning services for members of the delegation.

Last October, the Witnesses sold six of these buildings to Kushner Companies, Invesco, LIVWRK and RFR Realty for $375 million. They joined forces to turn the properties into perhaps the largest and most advanced creative technology hub in New York, a campus meant to rival even the legendary campuses of Silicon Valley. LIVWRK’s chief executive officer, Asher Abehsera, branded the campus Dumbo Heights and a new kind of New York City development was born. (Kushner Companies CEO Jared Kushner is the publisher of Commercial Observer.)  Read More

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Sky-High Ferris Wheel, Massive Outlet Stand to Transform SI

The New York Wheel. (NYCEDC)

Every year some 2 million tourists ride the Staten Island Ferry to get a better look at the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the New York City skyline. Yet the vast majority of those sightseers spend little time on Staten Island itself, preferring instead to do the “Staten Island shuffle” and mill about the ferry terminal before catching the next boat back to Manhattan.

A group of investors are betting big that those travelers—and New Yorkers from the other boroughs—can be persuaded to extend their stays on the island’s North Shore. From the city’s first outlet mall to the world’s tallest observation wheel, ambitious plans are in the works to make the “forgotten borough” a destination all its own.  Read More

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Tower Power Play: Up Close and Personal with the World Trade Center Amid Roiling Debate

4 WTC

The springtime breeze is nice on the 57th-floor outdoor terrace of 4 World Trade Center. With a vista stretching from the Statue of Liberty to the Empire State Building and across the East River to Queens, the building will reward employees of whatever company snaps up the available 34,000-square-foot floor with a break room in the clouds.

But far down below that rarefied air, there’s intense scrutiny of a potential construction loan to complete one of the six new towers at the site. The same goes for the memorial park, the transit hub, the retail center and the performing arts center that will also one day adorn the spot where the 9/11 tragedy destroyed the twin towers and their surroundings 13 years ago. Read More

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Retail in the (East) Bronx Is on Fire

Proposed shopping center at Gun Hill Square.

Up until the late 1980s, people in the East Bronx had to drive to Westchester to find the closest mall. Then, in 1988, Bay Plaza Shopping Center was built, and now has  more than 50 department and specialty retailers ranging from J.C. Penney to Daffy’s to Applebee’s. Now, the mall’s developer, Prestige Properties & Development, is expanding the center with what it boasts is the first new, suburban style enclosed fashion mall in the New York City area in four decades.

And that’s just one aspect of an emerging retail scene in the East Bronx, as more young professionals and families flee Manhattan for less-expensive properties in Bronx County. Other retail projects in various stages of development in the East Bronx—the area includes Throggs Neck, Morris Park, Van Nest, Country Club, Co-op City, City Island, Pelham Parkway and Pelham Bay neighborhoods—are the Throggs Neck Shopping Center, a Gun Hill Square open-air retail center and an outlet center at the Whitestone Multiplex site. Read More

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Home Field Advantage: The Impact of Yankee Stadium and Citi Field

Yankee Stadium.

Baseball has long been considered a rite of spring. The sound of bat on ball has for decades been associated with those fledgling days of warm weather when New Yorkers in the Bronx and Queens embrace the early games of baseball season with a sense of renewed hope that this may just be the year.

It may also be a time of renewed hope for the neighborhoods the Yankees and Mets call home. Five years removed from the openings of the new Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, the areas around both young stadiums are set for rebirths. Read More

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Start Me Up: Young Tech Companies on Real Estate

Berlin Startup Tour

In an independent survey conducted earlier this year, approximately 50 New York start-ups in varying stages of funding were asked how important they considered real estate.  Of the respondents, none labeled real estate “very important” while only five considered real estate “important.”

The vast majority—36 respondents—considered it “not important” and eight admitted to never having thought about real estate at all. Read More

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Breaking Barriers: Richard Bernstein and Peter Hennessy on Cassidy Turley’s Star Turn

Richard Bernstein and Peter Hennessy. (Photo: Mike Nagle)

“If I could knock this wall down I would,” said Peter Hennessy, pointing through a glass enclosure that separates his office from a row of open workstations within the 42nd floor of Cassidy Turley’s 277 Park Avenue offices.

Mr. Hennessy, the tristate president at the firm, will likely get his wish if Cassidy Turley continues to literally and figuratively break down the barriers that once separated its business lines by expanding the consulting practice that he and Richard Bernstein, the firm’s executive vice chairman and principal, said is crucial to the company’s future. Read More

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Midtown Caters to Hungry Office Workers, Shoppers with Proliferation of Gourmet Food Courts

Gotham West Market

Come next spring, Columbus Circle will be home to a 14,750-square-foot food market lined by 10- to 20-foot-wide open storefronts just outside of the busy subway station. On the East Side, Urban Space, the food hall manager behind Mad. Sq. Eats, Broadway Bites and Dekalb Market, recently signed a long-term lease for 10,000 square feet of retail space at the Helmsley Building at 230 Park Avenue. And late last year, Gotham Organization opened Gotham West Market, a 10,000-square-foot Chelsea Market-like food hall in Hell’s Kitchen, to considerable fanfare.

Why are so many food courts—once synonymous with suburban shopping malls and dreary office atriums—not only popping up in Midtown, but luring forward-thinking chefs and adventurous diners? Read More

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285 Madison Transformed

A rendering of 285 Madison Avenue.

In December 2011, 41-year-old advertising executive Suzanne Hart began an average Wednesday by entering the elevator in the lobby of her firm’s 285 Madison Avenue headquarters. As she stepped inside, the elevator suddenly leaped upward, tragically trapping Ms. Hart between the elevator and the wall of the now 88-year-old building. Two other elevator passengers, powerless to help, could only look on. Read More

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As Cornell begins to rise on Roosevelt Island, tech industry ponders future

Aerial  rendering of Cornell NYC Tech (source: Kilograph)

Even as the construction process commences on a marquee Roosevelt Island technology project, some tech companies are uncertain about how the industry will fare now that Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a staunch advocate for tech, is out of office. 

As Cornell NYC Tech, the engineering school slated for Roosevelt Island, makes its way through the development process and the city welcomes a new administration, it prompts a question: Will the sustainable applied science and engineering campus—and tech in general—get the same level of attention from Mayor Bill de Blasio as it did from his predecessor, Mr. Bloomberg? Read More

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When Tribeca Rocked: Remembering the Wetlands Preserve

CO_FINAL_01_06_14

By 2001, the Spin Doctors had all but broken up. The New York alt-rock band that earned Top 40 fame with the hits “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” and “Two Princes” had been inactive for nearly two years.

Then news broke that the Wetlands Preserve, the hometown venue where the band first made its mark, was closing. Shortly thereafter, a request came in to reunite the band for one last show at the club.

“If anything was going to bring us back together it was going to be the Wetlands, because we had such a history there,” said Aaron Comess, the band’s drummer, adding that the reunion helped to revive the band. 

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Grand Opening: Behind the Scenes of 4 WTC Debut

Image 1 - 4WTC

Less than two weeks after a celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony held to mark the official opening of 4 World Trade Center, the scene at the building was comparatively muted. Instead of welcoming tenants and checking in guests, security officers manned their posts as construction workers put the finishing touches on the building’s lobby.

That’s all about to change.

Within 12 months, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and New York City, the two tenants that have committed to space at tower, will complete their respective build-outs and commence moving in. Other tenants, it is hoped, won’t be far behind.

“The fact that [4 World Trade Center] is open brings another level of reality to the project,” said Adam Foster, senior vice present at CBRE, who is part of the leasing team at the Silverstein Properties-owned building. “It demystifies everything.”

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