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Feature

The Madison Square Garden Area Is Starved for Upscale Dining Options

Onyx Equities is bringing a new three-story retail space to the market at 210 West 31st Street.

Robin Abrams was planning to see Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden one night two weeks ago and was at a loss searching for a restaurant where she and her husband could meet their out-of-town friends pre-concert.

Some trendy eatery with the name Batalli on the menu? Or Jean-Georges? Perhaps a Colicchio’?

No such luck. She and her pals settled on Europa Café before the concert—then Au Bon Pain by the Long Island Railroad afterward, so the friends could make their train. Read More

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LIC Got an Influx of Residents. Now Commercial Tenants are Calling.

A residential boom in Long Island City is driving commercial demand (Photo: Arman Dzidzovic/Commercial Observer).

The founders of Digital Natives, an Internet marketing and website development firm, were looking to move closer to New York City from Armonk, Westchester, where they launched their company in 2011.

Had the founders gone to Dumbo or other areas of Brooklyn, they would have been a small fish in a big pond, said co-founder Vladimir Lackovic. Instead, the four tech executives opted for the cheaper rents, bigger spaces and growing community in Long Island City. Read More

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Hostel Environment: Advocates of Dorm-Like Lodgings are Making Their Play for NYC

STAY YOUNG: Hosteling International New York, 891 Amsterdam Avenue (Photo: Arman Dzidzovic/Commercial Observer)

Gotham could be looking at a hostel takeover.

Hostel proponents are pushing to allow the dormitory-style accommodations back in the city after many have closed in the last few years. With the average hotel room rate in New York City at $295 per night last year, advocates believe hostels could attract an untapped clientele that might not otherwise come to a city as expensive as New York. A bed in one runs the gamut from $40 to $80 per night, according to various hostel websites. But tourism leaders believe it’s the exact opposite: allowing hostels to open in the city would only add to the existing “glut” of hotel rooms. Read More

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Is 57th Street the Most Overpriced Block in the U.S.?

View of 57th Street from Eighth Avenue looking east (Photo: Arman Dzidzovic/Commercial Observer).

It all started innocently enough: a single building with a fancy design, a couple of apartments in the $90-plus million range, a few billionaires looking to park their money in New York luxury real estate…

But several buildings (and tens of millions of dollars worth of apartments) later, one has to wonder whether the strip of über-luxury condominium development on 57th Street—nicknamed “Billionaire’s Row”—has finally run its course. Read More

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Get With the Times: The Ever Changing Face of Times Square

The Great White Way.

As the clock approached midnight on Dec. 31, 1903, a tradition was born: a New Year’s Eve bash at the intersection of Seventh Avenue, Broadway and 42nd Street, then known as Longacre Square.

The year 1904 began with fireworks from the roof of the in-construction new headquarters of The New York Times: 1475 Broadway (the first ball drop was 1907/1908). At the time, the 25-story 1475 Broadway was among the tallest in the city, and the world. A few months later the city renamed the intersection and the soon-to-open subway station below for the building (and business) above: Times Square. Read More

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Men At WeWork: Talking to WeWork Co-Founder Miguel McKelvey

WeWork co-founder Miguel McKelvey

Late last year, WeWork—the communal workspace company, which was founded in 2008—was valued at $5 billion. This co-working giant has been swallowing up hundreds of thousands of square feet of New York office space, and is only planning more. (It was reported last week that they’re even bringing the concept to residential as well as commercial space.)
It is fair to say that this company is standing the traditional office on its head. How did that happen? Where will they strike next? And (because this is in a Midtown South issue), how ripe is Midtown and Midtown South for expansion? We posed these questions—and a few others—to Miguel McKelvey who co-founded the company with Adam Neumann. Read More

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Market Share: With Companies Looking to Cut Costs, Office Shares Are All the Rage

One of the shared space companies taking NYC is PivotDesk.

The powers that be in New York City have done a great job of attracting startups—keeping them, however, is another issue.

But an up-close view of the Empire State Building is increasingly becoming a viable option for young businesses. Why? Co-working companies—which offer cut-rate office space so long as tenants are willing to share—are rushing into the Midtown South market, and beyond. Read More

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Downtown Developers Are Keeping an Eye On the Water

Adam Goldberg standing next to the AquaFence.

A few days after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 Jonathan Resnick was at 199 Water Street, assessing. “It was the Wild West down there,” he recalled. Eight-million gallons of water; disaster recovery experts randomly handing out cards; building owners and tenants trying to make sense of it all. “There was a real feeling of helplessness. There was nothing to do but stand, arms crossed, watching the water flow.”

After hours of watching, the president of Jack Resnick & Sons began to walk. He walked down South Street to 55 Old Slip to 125 Broad Street, where he encountered John Santora. The CEO of Cushman & Wakefield was doing what everyone else was doing: watching the water. Read More

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The British Are Coming! Inside the English Invasion of Gotham

One of the U.K. brands scoping out space in New York is Primark.

While the New York City-born mayor of London, Boris Johnson, threatens (again) to renounce his U.S. passport, United Kingdom-born businesses are moving in the opposite direction, signing leases all over town.

Attracted by a common language, similar retail opportunities, a large national playing field with essentially one set of laws and great freight system (expansion to other states can be easier than, say, European expansion) and a favorable exchange rate, British investment and leasing activity are growing. Read More

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Gaul in: The French Affair With NYC Real Estate Is in Full Flower

HOLLANDE TUNNEL: With a weak euro, a 75 percent taxation rate and Socialist François Hollande leading the country, many French investors think the time is right to put their money in New York City.

New York City is getting a French kiss from Gallic investors looking to park their money in commercial real estate.

France’s 75 percent income tax rate, anti-Semitism, political unrest and the declining value of the euro have been prompting more French citizens to invest abroad.

“The political climate has not been good the last two years with taxes rising up,” said Rémy Raisner, the founder and chief executive officer of Proteus Capital Management. He said France’s Socialist president, François Hollande, ran a campaign on increasing taxes and since his election in May 2012, “the economic outlook hasn’t been great.” Read More

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I.C.E. Hot: The Brand New Culinary School at Brookfield Place

Kitchen equipment worth $1 million was purchased for I.C.E.

“Look at these striking views of the Marina, the river, Jersey City,” said Rick Smilow gesturing at the floor-to-ceiling windows in what will be the student lounge of the Institute of Culinary Education when it relocates from the Flatiron District to Brookfield Place in mid- to late-March.

Mr. Smilow, ICE’s president and chief executive officer, is clearly smitten. He picked this location after a labor-intensive search with a team of Savills Studley brokers that he recalls involving at least 70 buildings. “There were places that would have cost less but wouldn’t have been as spectacular,” he said. Read More

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Le Opening: Le District is Opening in a Month, Part of Downtown’s Culinary Revolution

OOH LA LA: Le District of Brookfield Place should be a French version of Eataly (Photo: Emily Assiran/Commercial Observer.

Hear ye, hear ye, Downtown office workers: Plan on loosening the notches on your belts in the coming months, because by the end of March (or the beginning of April), Downtown Manhattan’s dining options are about to go into the stratosphere.

The 30,000-square-foot French-themed market and 520-seat dining zone, Le District, will be opening at the newly renovated Brookfield Place in Battery Park City. It will also include a 25-seat fine dining chef’s table concept, set to open in May. Read More

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Five Things That Will Have New Yorkers Sailing to SI Next Year

+POOL.

Informally nicknamed “the forgotten borough,” it sometimes feels like Staten Island doesn’t get the respect it deserves. We don’t know whether it’s the fact that it’s mainly accessible by ferry, the fact that we find it hard to forget the odors of Fresh Kills Landfill (even though there’s been an effort to reclaim the landfill and turn it into a park that started in 2008) or what, but for some reason the borough of Richmond doesn’t excite developers—or Manhattan dwellers—the way that, say, Kings County does.

But, hopefully, that’s all about to change. Staten Island is breaking ground on several major projects that seek to put the island on the map with attractions that will appeal to locals and tourists alike. Amidst the projects big and small, here are the top five things we’re most excited about: Read More