AT&T Expands LTE Network

AT&T is expanding its LTE network. The company has acquired licenses from Bendbroadband, an Oregon-based cable company. The new licenses will allow AT&T the airspace to boost its LTE network in the state. The licenses include a 700 MHz B Block spectrum that will help the company operate in rural Oregon. According to FierceWireless reports, the company filed papers with the FCC and said the purpose of the licenses is to boost operation efficiency for subscribers.

The new licenses for Oregon are among the many business efforts the company has made to expand its network and remain competitive. AT&T has another pending deal with Cable One to buy licenses to expand its service in the Phoenix area. More licensing requests and expansion of the 4G LTE network in more than 14 states is expected to take place this year. New Jersey is among the states that may have possible service expansions.

In 2013, AT&T launched its 4G LTE network in 14 markets across North Carolina, including Charlotte-Gastonia, Raleigh-Durham, Greensboro-Winston Salem, Fayetteville, Wilmington and New Bern. AT&T installed fiber in 93 multitenant buildings in the same area. Last year, the company also boosted its commitment in community matters and employment, with $280 million invested in employee training.

Exterior to Be Unveiled at WeWork’s Soho Digs

Old rendering of 175 Varick Street. Spector Group architect Marc Spector said the facade is now more industrial and tech-friendly.
Old rendering of 175 Varick Street. Spector Group architect Marc Spector said the facade is now more industrial and tech-friendly.

The scaffolding will soon come down at WeWork‘s offices at 175 Varick Street, Marc Spector, a principal at Spector Group, told Commercial Observer, and the façade work will be completed by the end of March.

Spector Group was charged with creating an entirely new base to the exterior façade at 175 Varick Street for the national collaborative workspace provider. The upgrades include a dark grey grid façade and large portals of glass with black window mullions. Continue reading “Exterior to Be Unveiled at WeWork’s Soho Digs”

StreetEasy Slated to Move Into Bigger Space [Updated]

130 Fifth Avenue
130 Fifth Avenue

Residential listings database StreetEasy is moving to the Flatiron area from Soho, six months after being acquired by Zillow, The Real Deal first reported.

Zillow signed a 13,300-square-foot lease for StreetEasy on the ninth floor of 130 Fifth Avenue at 18th Street. The per-square-foot rent, TRD said, was in the mid $60s. Zillow will be joining Fresh, which is on the 10th and 11th floors and Brown Harris Stevens, which has the entire second floor. Continue reading “StreetEasy Slated to Move Into Bigger Space [Updated]”

Powa Technologies Takes First U.S. Office

Courtesy of
Courtesy of

Powa Technologies will open its first office in the United States.

The international commerce company that specializes in technologies that integrate physical and digital worlds will open a 9,945-square-foot space on the 39th floor of 1 Bryant Park, also known as the Bank of America TowerContinue reading “Powa Technologies Takes First U.S. Office”

Weeplay Kids Inks at Thor Equities’ 25 West 39th Street

25 West 39th Street. Courtesy of Thor Equities
25 West 39th Street. (Courtesy of Thor Equities)

Weeplay Kids has signed a lease for its office in the Garment District, Commercial Observer has learned.

The portfolio of childrenswear, which includes brands like Woolrich and Hello Kitty, will take a 13,400-square-foot space at the Thor Equities-owned 25 West 39th Street. Continue reading “Weeplay Kids Inks at Thor Equities’ 25 West 39th Street”

Old New York: The History of 375 Park Avenue

The montana
The Montana at 375 Park Avenue.

Steinway & Sons piano finishing factory at the site is built on the east side of Park Avenue between east 52nd and East 53rd Streets.

The Steinway & Sons factory site is sold.

Rouse & Goldstone design the Montana, an apartment building spanning Park Avenue between 52nd and 53rd Streets.

The Montana is sold to the Seagram Company and demolished.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson’s Seagram Building rises at the site. The architects were chosen primarily by Samuel Bronfman’s daughter, Phyllis Lambert.

The New Yorker notes a specific facet of the ongoing construction in the Talk of the Town section of its June 2, 1956, issue—specifically the portholes cut into scaffolding surrounding the site that gives passersby a peek at the site. “In the gray fencing that encloses three sides of the Seagram site, six sets of Plexiglas portholes have been installed,” the writer notes. “Above each set of portholes is a small but powerful loudspeaker, and out of it pours a stream of transcribed messages from such distinguished personages as Faye Emerson, Hy Gardner and Danton Walker, who plug the about-to-be building and themselves.”

The Seagram Building was completed 1958.

The Seagram Building is completed, marking an important stage in Park Avenue’s transformation from residential to a destination for high-profile offices and corporations.

On May 18, the Landmarks Preservation Commission holds a public hearing regarding the Seagram Building’s proposed designation as a landmark.

The site is officially declared a landmark on Oct. 3, 1989.

Insignia/ESG sells the 38-story office building to RFR Holding for owner TIAA-CREF for roughly $375 million.

Through nearly $1 billion in financing, which is later securitized, RFR takes full ownership of the building, which had been owned in a joint venture.

Investments in Real Estate Return 11.8 Percent for Norway’s Wealth Fund

Real estate investments returned 11.8 percent for Norway’s $840 billion sovereign wealth fund in 2013, the fund’s manager announced today.

In the fund’s second-best year ever, the Government Pension Fund Global returned 15.9 percent, or $115 billion, overall, according to the Norges Bank Investment Management. The fund’s equity investments returned 26.3 percent, while fixed-income investments returned 0.1 percent. Continue reading “Investments in Real Estate Return 11.8 Percent for Norway’s Wealth Fund”

Sprint Partners with Netgear to Unveil Wireless Router

Sprint is teaming up with Netgear Inc., to unveil its version of a fixed wireless router. The Netgear LTE Gateway 6100D, a high bandwidth router capable of producing 802.11ac Wi-Fi and gigabit Ethernet, is available to Sprint Spark subscribers. The router is designed for business and consumer use in homes or offices. It is enabled with 3G and 4G LTE technology and produces peak speeds of 50 to 60 megabits per second.

“At Sprint, we’re always striving to provide new innovation to meet the growing needs of our business customers, and this product is a great example of that,” David Owens, the vice president of product development for Sprint, said in a prepared statement. “The launch of devices like Netgear LTE Gateway 6100D, which can operate on three spectrum bands, is another milestone in the rollout of Sprint Spark. Customers will find that the enhanced technology of Sprint Spark and spectrum integration creates a more seamless network.”

In 2013, Sprint reported a net operating loss of $1.04 billion, down from $1.32 billion in losses the previous year. In spite of its losses, net operating revenue for the company increased to $9.14 billion, from $9.01 billion in 2012. During the fourth quarter of 2013, the company added about 477,000 subscribers. The company also sold 5.6 million smartphones in the quarter.

In-Depth Look: Crowd-Fund a Commercial Real Estate Deal? Not Quite Yet

Change is afoot in the business of how to issue securities for the purpose of funding a small commercial real estate project. It is already possible, though burdensome, to do so.  The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, enacted in 2012, promises to make it easier through a new crowd-funding exemption under the Securities Act.   Continue reading “In-Depth Look: Crowd-Fund a Commercial Real Estate Deal? Not Quite Yet”

ETRE Financial Files for IPO

NasdaqOn Monday, ETRE Financial filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering of ETRE REIT (proposed ticker is ECAV) on the NASDAQ exchange. Operating as a limited liability corporation, ETRE REIT would allow public investment in individual commercial real estate properties with the properties held as separate real estate investment trusts. Continue reading “ETRE Financial Files for IPO”

South Brooklyn’s Time to Shine

South Brooklyn’s waterfront neighborhoods have long fostered considerable charm and affluence despite being overshadowed by the explosion of “brownstone Brooklyn,” Williamsburg and Bushwick.

A few isolated incidents—take the 2011 Brighton Beach boardwalk shooting—and Superstorm Sandy didn’t help with image improvement, but recent developments point to South Brooklyn’s waterfront communities as the next Kings County neighborhoods to catch fire.

Continue reading “South Brooklyn’s Time to Shine”

Startup Accelerator Moving to 1407 Broadway

Techstars has signed a lease for the entire 13,719-square-foot 24th floor at 1407 Broadway. The startup accelerator will relocate its New York location to The Lightstone Group-owned building from 36 Cooper Square.

“Having Techstars at 1407 Broadway shows the tech community that we are serious about providing them with what they need,” said Mitchell Hochberg, president of The Lightstone Group, in a prepared statement.  “It’s the first of a steady stream of tech companies that are coming to our site.” Continue reading “Startup Accelerator Moving to 1407 Broadway”

Brooklyn Hotel Pipeline Expands

EVEN Hotels rendering for Downtown Brooklyn (source: Gene Kaufman)
EVEN Hotels rendering for Downtown Brooklyn (source: Gene Kaufman)

There are 22 hotel projects with 2,208 rooms in the pipeline in Brooklyn as of January, according to data provided by lodging industry benchmarking services firm STR to Commercial Observer. That represents a spike in room count year-over-year from 1,370, and an uptick in the number of hotels from 14.

Of the 22 current projects, four (with 212 rooms) are in the planning stages, six (with 609 rooms) are in the final planning stages and 12 (with 1,387 rooms) are in construction. Continue reading “Brooklyn Hotel Pipeline Expands”

Law Firm Expands at 30 Rock

Haynes and Boone LLP has expanded by 38,193 square feet at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, taking the entire 24th floor at the Tishman Speyer property, Commercial Observer has learned.

The law firm now occupies the entire 24th, 25th and 26th floors for a total of 112,793 square feet and is now the third largest tenant in the building, according to a spokesperson who confirmed the deal. The tenant will pay rent starting in the high-$70s, according to data from CompStak. Continue reading “Law Firm Expands at 30 Rock”

Williamsburg Development Site Could Reap Northside’s Rewards

A development site between Manhattan and Graham Avenues in Williamsburg is on the market for $6 million.  

The property, located just east of Northside Williamsburg, across the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in a relatively underdeveloped nook of Williamsburg, could capitalize on the popularity of its more affluent neighbor.

Continue reading “Williamsburg Development Site Could Reap Northside’s Rewards”

Weather’s Economic Impact Likely Temporary

There’s an old joke that says: “God created economists to make weathermen look good.” Generally speaking, economists do not pay much attention to the weather because it does not affect economic activity except over very short periods of time. A bad storm might affect a region for a few days or weeks, but after it’s over, activity quickly recovers and economic activity, while delayed, is not generally reduced. After the storm is over the economy bounces back and people get on with their lives. Since we are in a region that was hit with a severe storm a little over a year ago, I do not want to minimize the impact an event like Superstorm Sandy can have on people’s lives. The loss of property can be devastating and some families have yet to recover from that storm. But the regional economy recovered fairly quickly and resumed its pre-storm growth trajectory.

Today, the weather discussion is slightly different, but I think the result will be the same. The winter of 2013-2014 has been one of the worst in recent memory and bad weather in the form of record cold and severe storms has affected much of the country. The bad weather has definitely had an impact on the economy. Everything from employment to retail sales to construction activity has been curtailed in both December and January. One example: new housing starts in the Midwest region which totaled about 150,000 in 2013, dropped to an annual rate of 50,000 in January. This was the lowest monthly total ever recorded, even lower than January 2009 when the great recession was at its worst. Clearly, the bitter cold of January delayed a lot of activity.

This weather impact is compounding the difficulty of discerning the underlying state of the economy. Just about everyone, including me, expected the U.S. economy to enter a period of stronger growth in 2014 after four and a half years of slow recovery. The political confrontations that had constrained economic growth since mid-2011 were finally being put in the rear view mirror. A budget was passed and the debt ceiling was increased without incident. Then, the economic data coming out of emerging markets like China started to look a little weak and equity markets began to falter. Confidence softened and some uncertainty crept into the economic conversation. Add to this weather-related weakness, and some are starting to question the positive economic outlook.

Our view remains that most of the weakness we have seen in the economic statistics was indeed weather related and there will be a substantial bounce back in employment, consumer spending, home construction and many other activities over the next few months. It will bear close watching, but it’s far too early to change our outlook based on something as temporary as the weather.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Leases First NYC Space

120 Fifth Avenue
120 Fifth Avenue

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has signed a lease for 6,200 square feet at 120 Fifth Avenue, Commercial Observer has learned, marking the public company’s first New York City location. The specialty coffee and coffee makers’ new sales office and showroom will span the entire third floor of the Bromley Companies’ 70,000-square-foot building at the corner of 17th Street.

“The space was on the market less than 30 days when we struck a deal with Green Mountain for one of the best spaces in the building with 13-foot ceilings, original exposed steel columns and oversize 9-foot windows,” the landlord’s broker, Bromley’s Peter Tong, said in a prepared statement. Continue reading “Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Leases First NYC Space”