After establishing Brownstoner.com and the Brooklyn Flea, Jonathan Butler has expanded his Brooklyn empire into brick and mortar, acquiring 1000 Dean Street in a joint venture with BFC Partners and the Goldman Sachs urban investment group. The 140,000-square-foot commercial building in Crown Heights will open for occupancy on October 1 and is expected to welcome a mixture of artists, technology firms and nonprofits, offering lower-cost office space for Brooklyn’s entrepreneurial class. Mr. Butler spoke with The Commercial Observer outside his office in Dumbo last week, offering insight into his motivation for acquiring the property and his vision for the future. Read More
Perry Finkelman at times sounds like he’s describing something from a science-fiction movie. The CEO of Automotion Parking Systems talks of designing machines, manipulating machines—even machines that send text messages. It’s not Rise of the Machines he speaks of … not exactly. But the technology that will control the 697-car underground parking garage that Automation plans to Read More
Over the last three decades, Michael Cohen has been a driving force behind Colliers International’s transition from a family-owned, independent mom-and-pop real estate firm into a global powerhouse. As president of Colliers’s tristate operations, the third-generation executive at the firm splits his time between managerial duties and deal-making, harnessing his firm’s global resources and ownership structure to create a competitive advantage—most recently, as part of the team that sealed AppNexus’s 220,000-square-foot expansion and extension at 28-40 West 23rd Street. He spoke with The Commercial Observer last week about the significance of that deal, the staggering transformation of his company, the city’s changing real estate landscape and even his passion for theater as it relates to Bernard Madoff.
Earlier this year, Michael Kimmelman, the chief architecture critic at The New York Times since 2011, wrote a column addressing Madison Square Garden’s request that its special permit to operate an arena atop Penn Station be renewed in perpetuity. In it, Mr. Kimmelman suggested that the City Council grant the Garden a 10-year permit, enough time for the various stakeholders to plan for both a renovated Penn Station and a new location for Madison Square Garden. In a show of Mr. Kimmelman’s relative influence, the City Council did just that. Now the clock is ticking on finding a solution for the futures of both the “World’s Most Famous Arena” and the city’s busiest rail hub. Nicknamed “The People’s Critic” by New York magazine for his insightful focus on the New York Public Library, redevelopment after Hurricane Sandy and affordable housing, Mr. Kimmelman spoke with The Commercial Observer last week about the viability of a 10-year term and what can be done to convince stakeholders to come to the table. Read More
Leslie Himmel started Himmel+Meringoff Properties from the ground up with business partner Steve Meringoff in 1985. “Just believe in yourself and buy real estate,” were the words of wisdom with which Ms. Himmel’s mentor, former REBNY chairman Bernard Mendik, inspired her at the time. “It’s easy to say but not always so easy to do,” Read More
He’s a horse-riding, tennis-playing, mountain-biking, party-throwing philanthropist. But it’s his three decades of tireless deal-making at the helm of the firm he and wife Daun Paris built from the ground up that makes Peter Hauspurg a true industry mainstay. “Deal-making is my passion,” he told The Commercial Observer last week, later admitting that he earned Read More
Scott Panzer no longer wears a tie to the office. But despite his nod to Gen Y’s watering down of the workplace dress code, the Jones Lang LaSalle vice chairman shows up to our interview in a snazzy pair of suspenders and a starched white button-down. A 26-year veteran of the real estate industry, Mr. Panzer is at a stage of his career when he doesn’t sweat the small stuff, like neckwear. Instead, he focuses on matching elite tenants (like Interpublic Group of Companies) with A-list landlords (including Sheldon Solow) and their trophy properties (e.g. 9 West 57th Street). Mr. Panzer spoke to The Commercial Observer about his real estate salad days, the comeback of triple-digit rents and the negotiating power of cowboy boots. Read More
In 2005, CBRE broker Mary Ann Tighe told The New York Times that there had never been a “phenomenon quite like Bob Alexander.” What’s more phenomenal is that the 58-year-old chairman of the firm’s tristate region still ranks among its top brokers, having landed some of the city’s highest-profile deals this year as a lead broker representing Read More
As chief operating officer of Jamestown Properties, Michael Phillips has helped create and oversee a portfolio of more than 80 properties across nine states, totaling over 25 million square feet. But the jewel in his and Jamestown’s crown may well be Chelsea Market, the wildly popular foodie mecca in the Meatpacking District. Jamestown is currently working on a contentious expansion of that Ninth Avenue destination that will result in an additional 330,000 square feet of office space (an earlier plan for a 90,000-square-foot hotel was scrapped).
The Commercial Observer grabbed a few minutes with Mr. Phillips inside Jamestown’s swank, canopied, free-crepe-dispensing booth at ICSC’s RECon global retail real estate summit in Las Vegas. There, the James Beard Foundation vice chair and Real Estate Board of New York governor shared some morsels about Jamestown’s unannounced plans for a second sit-down restaurant at Chelsea Market, its imminent foray into the Brooklyn culinary world, and marquee projects in Georgia and California. Read More
As a senior managing director and head of retail services in the Americas at Cushman & Wakefield, Matt Winn oversees 325 brokers making deals from Canada to Brazil. In previous roles at C&W, the Atlanta-based Mr. Winn handled the expansion efforts of tenants including Nike, Abercrombie & Fitch and Ann Taylor. The Commercial Observer caught up with Mr. Winn at his company’s booth on Monday morning at the International Council of Shopping Centers’ RECon real estate summit in Las Vegas to discuss the return of “true luxury” and strategies for walking the convention floor. Read More
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.