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The Plan

The Plan

The Plan: Urban Justice Center at 40 Rector Street

U.S. Senator Cory Booker spoke at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the
Center at 40 Rector Street in Lower Manhattan.

The Urban Justice Center knows how to trade up, real estate-wise.

In 1984, a few years after his graduation from law school, Doug Lasdon received a $25,000 grant from the New York Community Trust to create the Urban Justice Center, a legal services organization for some of New York City’s poorest residents. He set up his new multi-service not-for-profit in a burned-out building in East Harlem. By 1997, Mr. Lasdon’s organization was operating out of a 7,700-square-foot floor at 666 Broadway that he had bought for $600,000. Ten years later, he sold the property for a handsome profit of $5.7 million. Read More

The Plan

The Plan: Engel & Völkers New York Office at 430 Park Avenue

Engel & Volkers office in New York.

Engel & Völkers, the Hamburg, Germany-based real estate company that focuses on luxury residential properties, commercial real estate and yachts, has enjoyed a robust presence in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Having focused and developed its business in those key global markets, the firm has recently begun to pivot towards North America and expanding its presence on this side of the Atlantic.

“[Clients would say] we’ve done business with you in Zürich. We’ve done business with you in Hong Kong. Now, we want to do business with you in New York,” said Stuart Siegel, the president and chief executive officer of Engel & Völkers New York City. Read More

The Plan

The Plan: Valrhona Hits Sweet Spot in Dumbo

Doors already opened to a 1,600-square-foot coffee and snack bar supplying the building’s tenants and visitors with food and drink (Photo: Michael Nagle/for Commercial Observer).

Valrhona, the chocolate producer whose name is a nod to its head office location in France’s Rhône valley, relocated its U.S. office and next month officially opens l’École du Grand Chocolat, a school for professionals and enthusiasts, at 222 Water Street in Dumbo.

The 93-year-old company opened a local office in 2008 at 45 Main Street in Dumbo. But the 1,200-square-foot space had one significant deficit: no kitchen. Valrhona is well known for supporting customers with instruction and inspiration; it has training facilities at its headquarters, as well as in Tokyo and Versailles, France. Read More

The Plan

The Plan: Lester Schwab Katz & Dwyer

Black floors off-set the predominantly white design of the office for a clean, and highly modern look. “It’s a beautiful space for lawyers,” said Mr. Spector, “who are not used to beautiful space." (Photo: Ben Gancsos)

When law firm Lester Schwab Katz & Dwyer made the barely five block move from 120 Broadway to 100 Wall Street they took it upon themselves to adopt a radically new aesthetic for their two-floor, 40,000-square-foot space. The 40-year-old litigation firm turned to the Spector Group for an open-plan office that looks more Silicon Valley than big law.

“It’s a beautiful space for lawyers—who are not used to beautiful space,” said Spector Group principal Marc Spector. Read More

The Plan

The Plan: 1400 Broadway [Updated]

A newly added 1,000-square-foot terrace with views of the Empire State Building, Brooklyn and the Statue of Liberty.

A penthouse suite with sweet views of the city is available for lease at Empire State Realty Trust’s 1400 Broadway with a rent of $75,515 per month.

ESRT has converted the top two floors of the building between West 38th and West 39th Streets from multi-tenant space to one contiguous unit, with a newly added 1,000-square-foot terrace with views of the Empire State Building, Brooklyn and the Statue of Liberty. Read More

The Plan

The Plan: 1156 Avenue of the Americas

Credit APF Properties.

A Midtown building constructed in the early part of the 20th century is getting upgraded for the 21st. APF Properties will implement a four-month, $4 million renovation by Sydness Architects at its 1156 Avenue of the Americas property starting next month, APF Principal Kenneth Aschendorf told Commercial Observer. The nine-story structure on the corner of West 45th Street will be outfitted with a new glass entrance, a new lobby with ceilings twice its current height, new elevators, a new security system and multiple improvements to its office floors, Mr. Aschendorf said.

“We find that there are a lot of tenants out there who want the prewar feel and the prewar architecture, but they want a top-quality building,” he said. “Even tenants in non-creative fields are looking for more prewar space. We decided to do something that was more than cosmetic.” Read More

The Plan

The Plan: 1560 Broadway

1560 Broadway

Three is better than one—in buildings as much as anything else. Landlords SL Green Realty Corp. and Jeff Sutton at 1552 Broadway and Newmark Holdings and the Benenson Family at 1560 Broadway tapped Rosen Johnson Architects to figure out a way to link their two buildings, and smush in a third in between the two (which was demolished). Rosen Johnson principals Paul Rosen and Anthony Johnson designed an innovative new scheme for the space with great retail potential just off Times Square. Read More

The Plan

The Plan: Now What at 155 Avenue of the Americas

Now What's office space.

When Paul Barnett founded branding and marketing company Now What in 2004, he was the sole employee, making working out of his apartment on the Lower East Side economical and feasible. Since then, the company has ballooned to 30 people and has worked with high-profile clients including Google, ESPN, NBC, General Motors and Novartis. Yet Mr. Barnett remained adamant that his office still retained the warmth of a home.

“There’s no division between in-work and out-of-work,” said Mr. Barnett. “As a millennial, the people you work with are considered family. There’s no big division between work-time and home-time.” Read More

The Plan

The Plan: View the Space’s Office at 142 West 36th Street

View the Space's office at 142 West 36th Street.

View the Space, a cloud-based commercial real estate leasing start-up, has moved into its new digs after slumming it on West 30th Street. The firm’s new space, designed by The Mufson Partnership, spans 7,400 square feet on the entire 12th floor at Herald Square Properties’ 142 West 36th Street just off Broadway.

VTS was delivered turnkey space with exposed ceilings and ductwork as well as polished concrete floors. Read More

The Plan

The Plan: 635-641 Avenue of the Americas

635-641 Avenue of the Americas

SL Green Realty Corp. is nearing completion of its 12-month, $15 million renovation and recombining of what used to be two separate buildings at 635-641 Avenue of the Americas between West 19th and West 20th Streets, Steven Durels, the company’s director of leasing and real property, told Commercial Observer. The company owns two of the three buildings that used to comprise one department store in the Ladies Mile Historic District after architect William Hume completed it in 1902. And shortly after purchasing the two buildings for $173 million in 2012, SL Green set about turning the building at 635 Avenue of the Americas, which had become an auto mechanic instruction school, into the second half of a repositioned office property. “When we bought the building, it was apparent to us that there was the opportunity to create something special,” Mr. Durels said. The building at 641 was already a complete office building. Read More

The Plan

The Plan: 140 William Street

Dancers in the window at 140 William Street.

At the start of the current school year last month, Pace University unveiled the second phase of its renovation project at Pace Performing Arts’ home at 140 William Street.

Plans included the conversion of the seventh floor and penthouse into a design studio, sound studio, mechanical and electrical equipment rooms and a rooftop terrace for special events. Read More

The Plan

The Plan: The Madison Square Portfolio

Renderings of Madison Square Portfolio

The Kaufman Organization’s ongoing renovations of three Midtown South office buildings in what was once known as the “Ring Portfolio” are moving forward with a new name and a very new look.

The company, which in April acquired four buildings that it now calls the “Madison Square Portfolio” through a 99-year lease with Extell Development Company, is sprucing up three of the long-vacant properties—19 West 24th Street,13 West 27th Street and 45 West 27th Street—ahead of a planned June 2015 occupancy date, said Grant Greenspan, a principal with Kaufman. (The fourth building in the portfolio is already open at 119-125 West 24th Street.)  Read More

The Plan

The Plan: 12 East 13th Street

Living Room

A former garage in Greenwich Village will welcome luxury condo residents in the spring of 2015 through a conversion by CetraRuddy. Developers DHA Capital and Continental Properties are turning 12 East 13th Street into an 8-unit residence and ground-floor retail property after the architecture firm designed a 4-story glass addition featuring terraced homes and a 5,700-square-foot penthouse with an asking price of $30.5 million, according to a listing on the condo development’s website. “We really wanted to plan each apartment so that they would have these magnificent living rooms,” said John Cetra, AIA, the founding principal of CetraRuddy. “It’s a building where I think the apartments really feel like home.” Read More

The Plan

The Plan: 275 Seventh Avenue

FreeWheel Media office space at 275 Seventh Avenue.

When tech advertising firm FreeWheel Media, which was recently acquired by Comcast Corporation, decided to move to a full-floor space at 275 Seventh Avenue, the company knew it wanted an open plan with collaborative offices and break-out spaces.

FreeWheel hired the architecture firm Fogarty Finger, which two years ago started a $10 million renovation of the 600,000-square-foot Art Deco building, to design its 19,000-square-foot 24th floor office. Read More