Near Barclays Center, the Rave that Wasn’t (But Might Be)

It was billed as New York City’s largest Halloween party, an all-night rave with a costume contest in three 1000-plus capacity rooms and more than 15 DJs.

The Factory, a new venue in Brooklyn—operating without permits—aimed to piggyback on the Sensation electronic dance music show Oct. 26 at the Barclays Center just a few hundred feet away.

Continue reading “Near Barclays Center, the Rave that Wasn’t (But Might Be)”

Commercial Property Markets in a World of Rising Rates

More than three months after the summer’s initial spike in Treasury yields, commercial real estate investors are breathing a little easier. Third-quarter 2013 data show a modest impact on cap rates and borrowing costs from higher interest rates; neither increased in lock step with their baseline costs of capital. In actively contested segments of the market, including most institutional markets, cap rates were flat or increased only slightly during the quarter. In the extreme, cap rates for the most coveted assets inched lower.

Continue reading “Commercial Property Markets in a World of Rising Rates”

Forest City Ratner Sues the City for More Atlantic Yards Tax Breaks

Apparently, $761 million in subsidies and tax breaks isn’t enough for Forest City Ratner. The Atlantic Yards developer is thanking the city for its generosity by suing the Department of Finance for a lower tax assessment.

The developer has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Finance, in an attempt to knock down the market value assessment on block 1129, which comprises the southern section of the development site, from $11.2 million to a scant $1.6 million, DNAinfo reported today.
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NASA Launches Lunar Broadband Connection

Putting our traditional Earth-bound Internet providers to shame, NASA set a record this week with an amazingly fast data transmission between the moon and Earth. This is the basis for what could one day become a high-speed interplanetary Internet connection. 

With this Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD), NASA was able to transmit data between the 239,000 miles separating the moon and Earth at 622 Mbps—that’s more than eight times as fast as Verizon’s fastest basic connection and still faster than its fastest fiber-optic plan (which boasts a rate of 500 Mbps). 

Continue reading “NASA Launches Lunar Broadband Connection”

Empire Outlets and NY Wheel Get City Council Approval

The New York City Council approved plans yesterday for the 630-foot New York Wheel and Empire Outlets mall after an undisclosed agreement hashed out by the developer of the mall and the Building and Construction Trades Council earlier this week.

(Rendering: SHoP Architects)
(Rendering: SHoP Architects)

BFC Partners is developing the $260 million Empire Outlets, a one-million-square-foot, mixed-use retail hub designed by SHoP Architects, adjacent to the St. George Ferry Terminal and next to what will become one of the world’s tallest ferris wheels. Continue reading “Empire Outlets and NY Wheel Get City Council Approval”

World Gets First View of 1 World Trade Center Model Offices

For the first time since construction workers topped off 1 World Trade Center in May, the Durst Organization this morning unveiled a crisp, white-walled model office space that tenants could be replicating as early as next year. Replete with floor-to-ceiling windows and unobstructed views of the city, office spaces below the 64th floor will command $75 per square foot.

“This is the beginning of a big year for us as we begin our transformation from a construction site to an office building,” said Jordan Barowitz, director of external affairs for Durst, before introducing the project’s director of leasing, Eric Engelhardt.

“What we’ve done here is taken the first and biggest step in being able to showcase what the office space can look like for tenants,” Mr. Engelhardt added.

Continue reading “World Gets First View of 1 World Trade Center Model Offices”

City Council Approves Woolworth Building’s Additional Pavilions

The City Council has approved the development of two new pavilions at Alchemy Properties‘s redesigned Woolworth Building. The terraces will flank the 29th floor wings of the classic skyscraper, whose top 30 floors Alchemy is converting into luxury residences. The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the pavilions last week.

“We have proposed subtle changes for the Woolworth Building, which will help to preserve and restore it to its true New York City landmark form,” Kenneth Horn, the president of Alchemy, said in a prepared statement. Continue reading “City Council Approves Woolworth Building’s Additional Pavilions”

Getting Along: Some Tips for Brokers and Lawyers

Overheard in a broker’s office: “The lawyer is trying to blow the deal. There was an agreement, then the lawyer started raising all these problems. I don’t get half of them. Now I don’t know where this deal is going, except maybe in the ditch. I think the lawyer’s just running up fees.”

Overheard in a lawyer’s office: “The broker is just trying to get their commission as soon as they can. And it’s so much money! It makes our legal fees look like nothing. The brokers seem to think closing a real estate deal requires about as much thought as buying a loaf of bread.”

Continue reading “Getting Along: Some Tips for Brokers and Lawyers”

60,000 Expected at NYC Halloween Parade, Retailers Unafraid

Following a harrowing but successful effort by organizers to raise $50,000 to save the 2013 NYC Halloween Parade, the horrific procession will go on as planned tonight in Greenwich Village.

Halloween ParadeThe 40th anniversary of the storied parade will attract an assortment of ghouls, ghosts and goblins, along with a welcome swarm of freakishly – if not scantily – clad pedestrian traffic.

“The foot traffic is always a nice boost for the local retailers, especially on a weeknight,” said David Zar of ZAR Property NY, which owns several retail properties in the area.

The largest public Halloween event in the United States will commence at 7 p.m., beginning on Sixth Avenue and Spring Street, eventually coming to a bloodcurdling halt on 16th Street around 11 p.m.

After organizers cancelled the parade last year in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, a.k.a. “Frankenstorm,” a Kickstarter campaign reached the $50,000 necessary to save this year’s parade – a good opportunity to tag the event with a “revival” theme and bring back some old favorites.

“We’re bringing back old puppets that have been sitting in the barn that are in disrepair or covered in dust and saying, ‘Wake up!’” Jeanne Fleming, director of the NYC Halloween Parade, told International Business Times, which mapped out the parade route on its website and got a sneak peek at artist Basil Twist’s giant spider, “Whitey.”

The parade dates back to 1973, when puppeteer Ralph Lee started the parade for his puppet creations, eventually evolving into the nonprofit it is today. Hundreds of puppets, 53 bands, dancers and artists, along with an estimated 60,000 costumed New Yorkers and tourists, are expected tonight, IBT reported.


Babies Angry about South Slope CrossFit

A group of babies, dogs – and other residents – living adjacent to the CrossFit 718 at 712 5th Avenue in South Park Slope are shrieking, crying and barking over the continuous grunting, shouting and banging emitting like an “earthquake” from the popular gym.

(An angry baby)
(An angry baby)

Neighbors told The Brooklyn Paper that the disturbing clamor, which starts at 6 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. on weekends, is still driving them up a wall – assuming the walls hold up – two years after the gym came to town.

“It’s been a nightmare,” said resident Edwin Torres. “It’s so bad the walls shake. It might eventually start causing structural issues.”

The club opened two years ago in the one-story industrial building that, according to the publication, was “illegally converted” from a storage facility. Today it offers personal training sessions for $100 per hour and kids’ sessions for $300.

But there’s no training program for babies, or dogs, who are equally fed up.

“I put my pillow over my head and hope that it stops,” said Jena Battaglia, “then babies start crying and dogs start barking.”

Check Out Jamestown’s Long Island City Project

1CO4200A1022With Long Island City quickly becoming a popular alternative to Manhattan, both for work and play, Jamestown Properties last year acquired the Falchi Building, a 640,000-square-foot office and manufacturing facility at 31-00 47th Avenue.

Envisioned by Jamestown as a mixed-use property with retail, office and light manufacturing components, Mitch Arkin, executive director
at Cushman & Wakefield, is preparing to market space in the building as existing tenants move out and space becomes vacant.

Though Jamestown has employed similar formats elsewhere, the developer is at pains to stress that the Falchi Building is not Chelsea Market and is, in fact, its own unique opportunity. “We think we can develop this into something that is aligned with the Jamestown brand,” Mr. Arkin told The Commercial Observer.

Continue reading “Check Out Jamestown’s Long Island City Project”

Fon Opens NYC Office, And U.S. Finally Gets Its Wi-Fi-Sharing Router

Spanish Wi-Fi aggregator Fon is making its relatively new presence known here in New York City. It has a new Soho office, and, starting this week, U.S. customers can get their hands on the trademark Fon Wi-Fi network-sharing routers.

The routers, called Foneras, work like normal Wi-Fi hot spots except that Fon’s networks are free and easily accessible for anyone who’s a Fon member. And to be a Fon member, called a Fonero, the cost is relatively low—you pay $59 for the router and agree to share it with other Foneros. In exchange, you’ll get access to Fon hot spots all over the globe.

Continue reading “Fon Opens NYC Office, And U.S. Finally Gets Its Wi-Fi-Sharing Router”

Colliers Handles Leasing, Repositioning of Madison Ave. Art Deco Tower

A 30-story, 185,000-square-foot Midtown office tower is in the midst of an extensive capital improvement campaign.

Upgrades to the boutique building at 501 Madison Avenue include a new entrance and lobby. Fresh elevator cabs, restrooms and common tenant areas are also being installed. One compelling opportunity at the property is 8,800 square feet of retail space between the ground and second floors. Continue reading “Colliers Handles Leasing, Repositioning of Madison Ave. Art Deco Tower”

Continental Grain Takes Full Floor Sublease at GM Building

Continental Grain Company has signed a 38,100-square-foot, seven-year sublease and relocation at Boston Properties767 Fifth Avenue – the iconic GM Building.

GM BuildingThe New York Post reported that the 200-year-old company will relocate its Midtown headquarters to the GM Building, where it will take the entire 15th floor. The space was one of three floors General Motors has opted to sublease.

The multinational conglomerate, established in Belgium in 1813 and headquartered in New York since 1964, is one of the world’s oldest food and agribusiness companies.

A Newmark Grubb Knight Frank team of Moshe Sukenik and Eric Zemachson represented the tenant in the transactions, which were completed with Andrew Levin, who handles leasing in-house at Boston Properties.

Peter Riguardi, Lloyd Desatnick and Michael Shenot of Jones Lang LaSalle, represented General Motors in the assignment to sublease three floors 14 through 16, which according to the Post had an asking rent of $89 per square foot (the 16th floor was previously rented to Reservoir Capital, while the 14th is still available).

Continental Grain will move from its current offices at 277 Park Avenue in the last quarter of 2014, according to the report.

The General Motors Building is a 50-story, 705-foot office tower, facing Fifth Avenue at 59th Street — one of the few structures in Manhattan that occupies a full city block. The nearly 1.8-million-square-foot building stands on a 200-by-420-foot plot that was formerly the site of the Savoy-Plaza Hotel.

The brokers did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

REIT-Specific Trading Platform Launched

In an effort to diversify the real estate investment trust sector and bring shares of individual real estate assets to the market, ETRE Financial has launched the first real estate-specific trading platform. The platform combines capital markets, asset management, trading, and analysis services into a single system.

“Everyone is familiar with portfolio REITs, but the genesis here was to bring single asset REITs to the marketplace,” Paul Frischer, co-founder and chief executive of ETRE, told The Commercial Observer.

Continue reading “REIT-Specific Trading Platform Launched”

Of Burgers and Theater Districts

Earlier this year, the Five Guys shop at Fulton and Flatbush, paying $125 per square foot, closed due to insufficient business. Across the street from a top-grossing McDonald’s, Five Guys couldn’t make it. At nearly the same moment, Shake Shack made a deal for $200 per square foot across from Barclays Arena.

What will we see in retail changes around Brooklyn’s theater and arena district, on and around Flatbush Avenue from Fulton to Pacific Streets?

So far, change is incremental—as is often the case with retail, where below-market tenants have leases in place. Tony Roma’s at 625 Atlantic Avenue is under construction, and there’s a big expansion of the Vitamin Shoppe at Fourth and Atlantic, as well as the StubHub on that block. Not much action so far.

While Barclays is the whale, there are seven elegant theatrical dolphins now in place: BAM Opera House; BAM Harvey; Fisher Theater; BRIC House; Roulette, the new music facility in the YWCA building; and Theater for a New Audience. Additionally, the best art house in Brooklyn, BAM Cinema, will be adding screens when the BAM South Site on Flatbush is built.

We now have a theater district, thanks to BAM, the city of New York and the other leadership organizations like BRIC, TNA and Roulette. We haven’t had such a plethora of legit theater seats since Fox and Paramount closed long ago.

Many are wondering how these spaces will transform Downtown Brooklyn, Fort Greene, Boerum Hill and Prospect Heights retail. Residential high-rise is underway, yes, but what will come on the ground level to match these fine theaters and our hot arena?

Five Retail Units Planned for Avenue A Development

The East Village community board has released zoning information about 181 Avenue A, a seven-story mixed-use building set to rise above the recently demolished Mary Help of Christians church.

Plans call for about 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail divided into five parcels. The basement includes 8,000 additional square feet of commercial space.  Continue reading “Five Retail Units Planned for Avenue A Development”