The Sit-Down

The Sit-Down

Anthony Malkin Talks About the Empire Building Business

PHOTO CREDIT: Yvonne Albinowksi/For New York Observer

Anthony E. Malkin, the chairman and chief executive officer of Empire State Realty Trust, oversees a New York real estate portfolio that has suddenly become quite relevant. ESRT owns nine Manhattan office properties which are attracting top-credit tenants drawn to these buildings’ energy efficiency, accessibility to mass transit, on-site amenities and commitment to technology.

“I think that what we’re seeing throughout the portfolio is a continued improvement in the market’s perception of who we are,” Mr. Malkin told Commercial Observer during a sit-down interview at his office at ESRT-owned 1 Grand Central Place. “We’re going to outperform the market no matter what. If it goes downward, we’re gonna outperform up. If it stays the same, we’re going to outperform because we’re seeing better and better tenants coming to look at us.” Read More

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Shack Daddy Danny Meyer Talks Leases, Neighborhoods and Restaurants

Danny Meyer.

Danny Meyer appears to be on a roll right now, no pun intended.

The king of the $2 billion Shake Shack burger chain recently made it onto Time’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world and then saw the opening of his eagerly-awaited restaurant Untitled at the new Whitney Museum of Art in the Meatpacking District, along with the more casual Studio Cafe on the museum’s top floor.

As the chief executive officer of Union Square Hospitality Group, Mr. Meyer has overseen the opening of a slew of notable restaurants from Shake Shack (65 national and international locations and counting, traded on the NYSE as SHAK) to Gramercy Tavern to Maialino to Union Square Cafe, the latter of which is famously facing termination of its lease this year. Read More

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Jamestown Pioneer: Michael Phillips is Hungry for NYC Retail

Michael Phillips, the president of Jamestown (Photo: Arman Dzidzovic/Commercial Observer).

Making a lunch or even a breakfast date with Michael Phillips feels just shy of an exercise in futility. His schedule is jam-packed from morning until night (he is in the office by 7 a.m. and leaves “whenever it’s time,” he said) and appointments get rejiggered at the last moment. CO’s planning of a lunch with Mr. Phillips, the president of Jamestown, started months ago and is finally (fingers crossed) resulting in a coffee date this week. (Update: coffee date was canceled before publication.)

We understand why he’s a busy guy. He splits his time between Atlanta and New York. (And his hands are full with a six-year-old Jack Russell named Scout that he shares with his partner, Dominick Coyne, who’s an interior designer.) Plus, he’s got Jamestown—which has an $8.3 billion portfolio of mixed-use buildings—to fill his time. Read More

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Joseph Moinian Has Sold Off Two of His Towers and Is Focusing on the West Side

Joseph Moinian has sold his share of 180 Maiden Lane, selling his share of the Willis Tower in Chicago and is capitalizing on the Far West Side.

Behind Joseph Moinian’s desk is a glimmering view of the Hudson River between the buildings that separate his 3 Columbus Circle office from the Far West Side. While his back might be to the area, Mr. Moinian has a live feed of one of his buildings under construction in that area on a flat screen.

That building would be 605 West 42nd Street at the corner of 11th Avenue, dubbed “Sky,” where construction has topped off. That’s going to be followed by 3 Hudson Boulevard—a 1.8-million-square-foot office tower that will sit atop the new 7 train station at West 34th Street—adding to the property Mr. Moinian has built on 11th Avenue. Read More

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Brookfield’s Dennis Friedrich is Forging a 7M-SF Empire—and That’s Just One Project

Dennis Friedrich is leading Brookfield Office Properties to Hudson Yards and abroad (Photo: Arman Dzidzovic/Commercial Observer).

Dennis Friedrich, the chief executive officer of the Global Office Division for Brookfield Property Partners, has come full circle.

When he started, the firm was then called Olympia & York, and was opening the World Financial Center (eventually housing Merrill Lynch and American Express). He was yearning to go into marketing, so he helped organize a symposium to lure international firms to the complex. He described it as ending up a failure. Maybe he just needed the right moment to strike. Read More

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Bruce Eichner on His Game of Thrones-Like Battle for Air Rights

Developer Bruce Eichner in the sales gallery for 45 East 22nd Street (photo: Aaron Adler for New York Observer).

It was 2013, and Bruce Eichner was standing in the dimly lit hallway of a residential building on East 23rd Street begging the owner for his air rights.

“He would not return a phone call or an email for five months,” said Mr. Eichner, the founder and chairman of The Continuum Company, who needed the air rights for his ambitious residential project at 45 East 22nd Street near Madison Square Park (at a planned 65 stories, it will be the tallest residential tower in Gramercy). “I’m sitting in my office and I was like, ‘screw this.’ I got out of my office, went down, rang the doorbell.”  Read More

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Riguarding Peter: JLL’s Peter Riguardi Has Plenty to Smile About

Peter Riguardi of JLL

When Commercial Observer stopped by Peter Riguardi’s Madison Avenue office for an interview, the dark-haired, 53-year-old Mr. Riguardi—head of JLL’s New York office—was in excellent spirits. In just a few hours, he would be attending the broker party for JLL’s newest building, 28 Liberty Street (formerly 1 Chase Plaza) where the powers that be were auctioning off $2,000 gift certificates at Saks Fifth Avenue, and first-class stays in Europe and Shanghai. (By the way: These are not the most extravagant giveaways at a JLL party. They once raffled off a boat.)

The Staten Island native, who now divides his time between a house in New Jersey and a residence on the Upper East Side, seems like a genuinely chipper person—he talks affectionately about his sons (two of whom followed him to the real estate business) and gets excited when you mention Staten Island pizza. Read More

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Ziel Feldman and His Construction Binge, Starting With a Pair of High Line Projects

FROM A TO ZEIL: Mr. Feldman at his artfully decorated office (Photo: Aaron Adler for Commercial  Observer).

After four years of living on Park Avenue in the East 80s, Ziel Feldman will this year be moving to Marquand at 11 East 68th Street, a Beaux-Arts Revival rental-to-condominium conversion his firm is completing on Madison Avenue.

The chairman and founder of HFZ Capital Group (the H is for his wife Helene, F is for Feldman and Z is for Ziel) has worked on more than 30 conversion projects like The Chatsworth at 344 West 72nd Street, Astor at 235 West 75th Street, 11 Beach Street in Tribeca and One Madison Park. Read More

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Legendary Norman Sturner and Son David Take MHP South With 1.2M-SF Property

PATRIMONY: David Sturner (left) has taken over running the day-to-day operations of MHP Real Estate Services from his father, Norman.

After 10 years out of the Downtown market, MHP Real Estate Services has jumped back into it full throttle with the January purchase of 180 Maiden Lane.

The Manhattan-based commercial real estate broker, property manager and owner paid $470 million along with Clarion Partners for the 1.2-million-square-foot Class A office tower. And now the new owners are embarking on a $28 million renovation of the 41-story glassy building, with its panoramic views of New York Harbor. Read More

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Erik Horvat on Leading Fosun Into Its Future in NYC

Erik Horvat.

Last week, 28 Liberty Street, previously owned by JPMorgan Chase & Co., hosted the equivalent of its own debutante ball. Shanghai-based Fosun International, which purchased the 60-story, 2.2 million square-foot downtown property in late 2013, threw a Chinese New Year party in the middle of a late-winter ice storm to showcase the building and introduce itself to the New York real estate community. On the 44th floor of the Class A, landmarked tower, guests enjoyed peking duck slathered in hoisin sauce and watched live acrobats bend and twist, as a 60-foot dragon dangled above the bar bearing witness to the scene unfolding below. (They also raffled off gifts of near insane luxury including first class tickets to China; and thousands of dollars worth of gift certificates at Saks). Read More

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How the Walentas Family Ended Up With a $2B W’burg Project and Why Jed Calls His Dad David

Jed Walentas.

There are few names more synonymous with Brooklyn real estate (and Dumbo in particular) than Two Trees Management Company. Indeed, the company owns and manages much of Dumbo with 12 buildings comprising more than 3 million square feet of commercial and residential space. All told, the company’s holdings include more than 4 million square feet of built commercial, industrial and residential real estate throughout the United States.

Led by company founder David Walentas since 1968, Two Trees single-handedly transformed Dumbo—the acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass—from a neglected waterfront into one of the priciest mixed-use communities in the city. Read More

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Peter Hennessy on the Next Step For DTZ

Peter Hennessy of DTZ.

What happens when a mid-sized, nationally renowned real estate services company gets acquired by a bigger, international real estate company?

That was the natural question that we had when it was announced late last year that the finishing touches were being put on the deal that had Cassidy Turley (the national real estate firm in question) being swallowed up by the even bigger property services firm DTZ. Read More