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How Safe Are Buildings in Lower Manhattan?

Safety in Lower Manhattan remains a top priority for stakeholders.

Thirteen years after Sept. 11, 2001, stakeholders, elected officials and security personnel in Lower Manhattan remain acutely aware that the 1.7-square-mile area south of Canal Street is still vulnerable to terrorism. Because safety concerns for people and property remain paramount, unprecedented steps have been taken to ensure preparedness in the event of an emergency.

“We continue to evaluate Read More

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Nonprofits, Others Getting Into the Commercial Condo Game

633 Third Avenue.

Nonprofit organizations in Manhattan have been cashing in on the strong investment sales market by selling off buildings they own and scaling back with office condominiums.

Last month, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies bought a $13 million, 33,000-square-foot condo at 40 Rector Street after selling its headquarters at the Church Missions House at 281 Park Avenue South for $50 million earlier this year. Big Brothers and Big Sisters, which pairs children with mentors, sold its townhouse at 223 East 30th Street for $6.75 million. It also terminated a lease at 245 Fifth Avenue and then consolidated with a 25,711-square-foot office condo it purchased for $10 million at 40 Rector Street. Vocational training organization FedCap Rehabilitation Services sold its longtime headquarters at 211 West 14th Street for $26.75 million and then purchased a 44,000-square-foot office condo at 633 Third Avenue for $26.5 million. Read More

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Billion-Dollar Retail Listing

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When the renderings become realities and the cranes give way to condos, the new towers along 57th Street will give rise to a soaring enclave of extreme wealth perhaps unlike any in the world. The tallest building along what some now call Billionaires’ Row, Extell Development’s Nordstrom Tower, will climb to 1,775 feet.

But how is the coming influx of super-rich tenants affecting the ground level—that is, the bustling corridor’s retail scene? Read More

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The Tide is High: Jamaica, Queens Could Become a Destination in its Own Right

Sutphin Boulevard, Jamaica, Queens

Ask the average New Yorker about Jamaica, Queens and you’ll likely hear an answer about its rail station or proximity to J.F.K. airport. Despite the development boom occurring west of the neighborhood in Astoria and Long Island City, Jamaica continues to feature more prominently in the minds of many city residents as a stopover en route to more glamorous locations.

But since the neighborhood was rezoned, local stakeholders have become increasingly optimistic that the perception of Jamaica as a gritty transit and discount shopping hub can change.

“We see the downtown [area] as a regional center of many activities that if concentrated here would have a high public purpose,” said Carlisle Towery, the president of the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, the area’s economic development entity. Read More

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Head of the Class: Teachers Retirement Fund TIAA-CREF Making Waves in New York

8 Spruce Street

Though not a traditional owner-operator, TIAA-CREF has begun to draw the attention of the real estate industry in recent months for a bevy of deals, including its acquisition of a stake in the Frank Gehry-designed building at 8 Spruce Street and a joint venture with Norges Bank Investment Management.

The asset management firm’s steady persistence in the real estate market during the downturn has led to a realization of gains, and recent deals could lead to the redeployment of capital in key markets going forward, said analysts familiar with the firm’s strategy going into 2013.

“TIAA is one of the investors that was pretty active in the depths of the market in 2009 and 2010, and some of those investments have turned into significant home runs,” said Dan Fasulo, managing director and head of research at Real Capital Analytics. Read More

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The Retail Picture Comes Into Focus

Elbow your way through the throngs in Times Square to the tune of a dozen foreign languages and you may understandably reach one conclusion quickly: Retail is back, baby.

Some claim the biggest spending slump in decades has ended, as confirmed by a 6.4 percent surge in Black Friday sales across the Read More