Cushman & Wakefield reported the second-highest annual revenue in its 95-year history in 2012, so its new tristate president, Ronald Lo Russo, was unabashed to admit that the firm’s metered first-quarter performance was “probably a little slower” than he would have liked. But the 38-year-old is no stranger to adversity, having shaped his career by Read More
Hines has been busy on the investment and development side over the past few months. After breaking ground at 7 Bryant Park in February, officials at the 56-year-old firm announced in March that they would put up for sale its properties at 499 Park Avenue and 425 Lexington, both part of the Hines Core Fund. Read More
Last week, Forest City Enterprises confirmed what had become an open secret in New York real estate circles: MaryAnne Gilmartin would succeed Bruce Ratner as president and chief executive of the company’s New York subsidiary, Forest City Ratner Companies. Ms Gilmartin spoke with The Commercial Observer on the day of the announcement last week about the process of deciding on a succession plan, what she will bring to the table and how her ascension to the top of FCRC will impact the way women are viewed in the real estate industry.
In August of last year, JEMB Realty Corporation acquired the leasehold interests of Daffy’s, the now-defunct Secaucus, N.J.-based discount retail chain, for $43 million. The acquisition allowed the company, which had owned the Herald Center office and retail property for a quarter-century, to reposition its asset. In a rare interview, Joseph Jerome, president at JEMB, spoke with The Commercial Observer last week about the Daffy’s deal and his plans for Herald Center and Herald Towers, the firm’s nearby residential property. Read More
Trinity Church boasts over three centuries of landownership in New York City, dating back to 1705, when Queen Anne gave a 250-acre land grant in what is now Hudson Square to the parish. Bounded by Greenwich Street to the west, Avenue of the Americas to the east, Houston Street to the north and Canal Street to the south, Hudson Square has more recently benefited from Midtown South’s increasing popularity with the creative class. Jason Pizer, president of Trinity Real Estate, spoke with The Commercial Observer last week about Trinity’s presence in the market, the evolution of Midtown South and the future of Hudson Square as rezoning stands to revitalize the neighborhood once again.
L&L Holding Company’s development of 425 Park Avenue may be the company’s current marquee project, but the firm, which chairman and CEO David Levinson co-founded with Robert Lapidus in 2000, continues to make a mark on Midtown South. In January, L&L purchased 114 Fifth Avenue in a $165 million joint venture, planning to model it after 200 Fifth Avenue, a thriving symbol of Midtown South’s bull real estate market. Mr. Levinson, 64, who owns a stake in the New York Yankees, spoke with The Commercial Observer about Midtown South, the threat of bomb attacks and the Bronx Bombers. Read More
Edward Minskoff has developed close to 37 million square feet of property in 10 cities around the country. His latest dive into Midtown South comes at 51 Astor Place, where a 13-story, 430,000-square-foot dark glass building will open next month, fueled by a red-hot office market and Mr. Minskoff’s personal faith that the neighborhood will Read More
Before becoming president of the Municipal Art Society in 2009, Vin Cipolla had founded three companies, presided over the National Park Foundation and been the executive vice president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. His ability to move between the corporate and public sectors prepared him well for his role at MAS, which is among the city’s most prominent civic preservation groups. Between the proposed rezoning of Midtown East and the sea change under way in Midtown West, the MAS has a full plate. Mr. Cipolla, 56, still had time to talk to The Commercial Observer about those two issues, as well as Mayor Bloomberg’s legacy and the future of Manhattan’s center. Read More
With eight buildings totaling close to nine million square feet across a number of submarkets, Boston Properties is one of the largest owners of real estate in Midtown. Andrew Levin, senior vice president of leasing in the real estate investment trust’s New York office, has his finger on the pulse of the market. He spoke with The Commercial Observer last week about leasing trends in Midtown and Boston Properties’ development of 250 West 55th Street, which will open in fall 2013. Read More
As president of the New York Jets, Jay Cross spent the first half of the 2000s immersed in the plans for the New York Sports and Convention Center on the Far West Side. The plan collapsed and the Jets’ focus shifted to the Meadowlands, but Mr. Cross kept eager watch on the Mass Transit Authority’s bid to find a new developer.
After Stephen Ross purchased the Miami Dolphins in 2008, Mr. Cross found himself fatefully reacquainted with Related’s founder and chairman through an assigned seating arrangement at an NFL owners’ meeting, setting the stage for Mr. Cross’s eventual role as president of Related Hudson Yards.
“The Jets always sat beside the Dolphins at these meetings, so I was sitting beside Stephen,” Mr. Cross said. “He asked me how I was getting home. He flew me home and said, ‘You should come and run this project for us.’”
Here’s what Mr. Cross had to say about the 26-acre, 15-million-square-foot mixed-use project that he began orchestrating on Manhattan’s Far West Side in the summer of 2008. Read More
“The ability to socialize and collaborate is one of the founding blocks of creating a tech community,” writes Ashkán Zandieh, director of the creative and start-up advisory division at ABS Partners Real Estate, in the latest edition of his quarter TechStarter report. Mr. Zandieh has been involved with the technology sector for seven years. He created and sold a start-up, has advised several fledgling companies and tracked the field’s real estate activity for the past year. From ABS Partner’s Union Square area office, Mr. Zandieh is well-positioned to observe and dissect the red hot Midtown South tech real estate market and, if he looks south, the growth of the Financial District as a tech and new media contender.
Mr Zandieh spoke by phone with The Commercial Observer.
The Commercial Observer: How is the tech-fueled Midtown South commercial real estate market holding up?
Mr. Zandieh: The average asking rental price per square foot increased from an estimated $38 per-square-foot in 2011 and 2012 to nearly $60 per square foot for Class B buildings in Midtown South in the first quarter of 2013. What’s pretty interesting is that we’re seeing a Class B transition–there’s a fuzzy line between Class B and Class C.
So young companies are still drawn to, and able to afford, the neighborhood?
A lot of the start-ups I’m working with now are down in Soho and expanding by 20 or 30 employees. They’re moving out of Soho and to NoMad, where they can get larger floor plates. By NoMad, I mean 23rd Street to 28th Street between Park and Seventh Avenues. Read More
The New York Times’s Charles Bagli’s new book Other People’s Money tackles the housing crisis and 2010 collapse of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village deal. Set for release April 4, the book takes readers inside the bidding war and the eventual loss of billions of dollars of investor money. Mr. Bagli, a former reporter at The New York Observer, spoke with The Commercial Observer about the book, how the Stuy Town deal defined an era, and whether or not investors and the industry learned a lesson.
The Commercial Observer: What is the significance of this story?
Mr. Bagli: For me—just my own thinking—it was a critical moment. Here we are in the midst of another real estate boom, and it just really highlighted the fact that these guys that used to go for the “glass and brass” are out there scooping up what some people would call “meat and potatoes,” the brick tenements. You sort of step back and say: ‘Whoa, what’s this about?’ Like I say in the book, I think Stuyvesant Town, in a way, is for New Yorkers an iconic place, not dissimilar from the Empire State Building or Rockefeller Center. Read More
Ed Hogan is the national director of retail leasing for Brookfield Properties and has a lead role in signing food vendors and retail tenants at the World Financial Center, soon to be renamed Brookfield Place. In the past month, Brookfield has inked deals with eight vendors and confirmed that the restaurateur Peter Poulakakos will operate the facility’s new marketplace. Mr. Hogan spoke with The Commercial Observer last week about his vision for Brookfield Place, the thought process behind choosing food and retail tenants, and how Brookfield Place will fit into lower Manhattan’s evolving landscape.
The Commercial Observer: What is your vision for Brookfield Place?
Mr. Hogan: Our vision is to create the most exciting, dynamic neighborhood in Downtown Manhattan. Brookfield Place is situated on the edge of the Hudson River, facing the New York Harbor and Statue of Liberty, and is truly one of the most special places in the city, with unparalleled views. Given the transformation that Downtown’s undergoing, we just view it as a great opportunity to create a dynamic neighborhood that is indicative of the people living, working and visiting Downtown today. Read More
Marketing the World: Silverstein Properties’ Jeremy Moss on Leasing the Country’s Most Conspicuous Building Complex
Before Jeremy Moss, senior vice president of leasing at Silverstein Properties, joined the firm four and a half years ago, he spent eight years working at Forest City Ratner, a tenure that culminated in a role managing the leasing of the office space at the New York Times building. He called working alongside Bruce Ratner Read More
1.5 Million and Counting: Robert Becker of The Durst Organization on Leasing Remaining Space at 1 WTC
Robert Becker, senior leasing manager at The Durst Organization, joined the company eight months ago. Having previously worked closely with the firm as an executive with Bank of America’s global real estate transactions and leasing operations team, Mr. Becker jumped on board with inside knowledge of the firm’s pivotal role in shaping the landscape of Read More