Rabbi Pinto’s UWS Synagogue Site Hits the Market

240 Riverside Boulevard. (Credit: Keller Williams NYC website)
240 Riverside Boulevard. (Credit: Keller Williams NYC website)

Ilan Bracha, the founder of Keller Williams NYC, has listed an Upper West Side commercial unit for sale that was supposed to be the home of Rabbi Yishayahu Yosef Pinto‘s Shuva Israel West Synagogue, Commercial Observer has learned.

The space, a 2,786-square-foot unit at Heritage at Trump Place at 240 Riverside Boulevard, is on the market for $1.75 million, according to a listing on Keller Williams’ website. It includes a private entrance on 72nd Street. Continue reading “Rabbi Pinto’s UWS Synagogue Site Hits the Market”

Brack Sells Three Commercial Condos at Element for $23M

555 West 59th Street
555 West 59th Street

Brack Capital Real Estate has sold three commercial condominium units on the ground floor of the 35-story Element residential condo to Cohen Equities for $23 million, according to property records.

Brack, which co-developed the 365,000-square-foot, nearly 200-unit condo at 555 West 59th Street, closed on the sale on March 20. It appeared in public records yesterday. Continue reading “Brack Sells Three Commercial Condos at Element for $23M”

Sam Chang’s Hotel ‘Promise’ to Rise in Midtown West

Sam Chang will reportedly commence work on an 80-room Comfort Inn or Days Inn at 337 West 36th Street as part of a pledge to give his business associates a stake in a hotel before he retires.

Sam Chang. (Credit: Wired New York)
Sam Chang. (Credit: Wired New York)

Mr. Chang’s McSam Hotel Group could start construction on the 18-story lodgings in Midtown West as soon as six months from now after filing plans with the city last week.

Continue reading “Sam Chang’s Hotel ‘Promise’ to Rise in Midtown West”

Persistence. Persistence. Persistence. Persistence.

My first job in sales was as a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley. Recently out of law school, I was young, devoid of experience and contacts and competing for my future. I had one advantage, and one advantage alone: I was persistent. And that little trait had a huge impact on my life.

Every day for three years I was the first person in the office each morning–I arrived a little after 7:00 am daily–and the last to leave, often after 9:00 pm.

During the days I worked harder and with more persistence than my peers. I learned a lot during those times but mostly I learned about persistence–the relentless, never ending, single-mindedness that abhors failure and fuels success.

I adopted Calvin Coolidge’s famous saying as my guiding principle: “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

I was smart, talented and well-educated, but so was everyone else. In the meritocracy of talent I was not natively gifted. No, I needed to build my reputation and success on my effort and focused drive. I was committed that no one would outwork or be more persistent than me.

Persistence is precisely how I landed one of my top clients early in my career. He was a retired doctor who owned several medical practices and buildings. He had amassed over $25 million in liquid assets. I remember my first call to him vividly and viscerally. He cursed at me, said all brokers are idiots and hung up. I smiled. I knew I had him right where I wanted him.

For 13 straight days I called, he cursed and hung up. With each expletive I became more excited. Why? I knew I had no competition for the business; no one else would put up with the abuse. Finally, on the 14th day, I won. He said simply, “You are a persistent SOB. What will it take for you to stop calling me?” Quickly, in a tone that masked my euphoria, I said, “15 minutes of your time and if you don’t like what I have to say we part as friends.”

A few months later I earned the business and a residual, six-figure income stream. This is my story. But every top broker has had a similar defining moment.

Here are seven ways for real estate brokers to harness the power of persistence:

1. Realize the power of persistence. For many of us, effort and persistence are the only real differentiators that we can immediately tap into.

2. Don’t give up at the first sign of resistance. About 50% of Brokers end a cold call at the first sign of rejection, 75% at the second and over 90% at the third. The first couple of objections are generally reflex responses and do not necessarily indicate a person’s real feelings.

3. When you find a difficult prospect, realize he or she is that way to everyone. Therefore, by managing yourself you will have very little competition.

4. Make more calls and conduct more meetings than your peers. You control that. Brokerage is a contact sport–the more calls you make, the more sales you secure.

5. Be relentless in learning. Read everything. Books, periodicals, reports and websites all hold vital keys to your future. I love reading and learning from history because while the names and faces change, human nature never does.

6. Ask questions of others. There is always someone who knows more than you. So ask for help, guidance and advice. This is another outlet to learning.

7. Be aware that relentless effort is the “science” of persistence, but it is also an art form. It is important to read the other person and situation and not cross the line between persistence and stalking.

Persistence is one of the greatest tools that Brokers have. Harness the power of persistence today and immediately put yourself a step ahead of the competition.

BofA’s Steve Kenny Named East Region Exec

Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Steve Kenny was named east region executive for commercial real estate banking, succeeding Chris Thomas, who has retired, a statement from the bank today said. He will manage all real estate finance employees in the Eastern United States.

Previously, Mr. Kenny served as CREB executive for the New York and New Jersey markets. Continue reading “BofA’s Steve Kenny Named East Region Exec”

Developers, WeWork Eye Former Prison

A number of developers and co-working giant WeWork toured the former Bayview Correctional Facility, a defunct women’s prison in Chelsea, with an eye toward possibly bidding on the property, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

The Related Companies, L&L Holding Company, Taconic Investment Partners and William Macklowe Company toured the facility, the Journal reported. The list of other potential suitors that viewed the property includes the rapidly expanding co-working space provider WeWork, Steinway Musical Instruments and Avenues: The World School. Continue reading “Developers, WeWork Eye Former Prison”

Top 1WTC Security Officer Resigns

The Durst Organization is reportedly looking for a successor to replace a top security official who resigned following a series of incidents that exposed seemingly gaping holes in security at 1 World Trade Center.

245px-OneWorldTradeCenterDavid Velazquez, assistant security director at the site, will not leave the firm until The Durst Organization has found a replacement.

Continue reading “Top 1WTC Security Officer Resigns”

Big Apple Hostel Sells for $12M

119 West 45th Street
119 West 45th Street

Big Apple Hostel, at 119 West 45th Street, has sold for $12 million and is slated to become a tavern and hotel or hostel, according to city records and the buyers’ attorney.

The buyers also own the adjacent Perfect Pint, at 123 West 45th Street, and Connolly’s Pub & Restaurant, at 121 West 45th Street. Continue reading “Big Apple Hostel Sells for $12M”

Are You Ready for Some Retail?

When it comes to changing the face of a building—or even an entire neighborhood—there’s no denying the power of retail. Lately, Google has made headlines as it searches Soho for a flagship space. Likewise, the recent large-scale retail redevelopment at Brookfield Place at World Financial Center, a project we personally had a hand in as part of the project team, has turned heads and reinvented lower Manhattan, creating a demand for commercial, as well as residential, occupancy. However, if you’re a building owner, or anyone who is invested in attracting retail tenants for that matter, there’s something you ought to know: Get ready now!

Why the need to prep? If there’s one thing we’ve learned through our work on the retail end of the business, it’s that proactive work with a building owner or landlord can create just the right aesthetic and accommodations to attract the kind of marquee tenants that can take a space, entire block front or even a whole corridor to the next level. However, if a space is not positioned properly, that window of opportunity may pass. Yesterday’s hot neighborhood can turn into a ghost town. On a more positive note, a once-dormant street can suddenly come alive. It’s all in the approach.

A fine example of readying in advance is what’s currently underway in Dumbo. Spector Group is the executive architect for a significant redevelopment in Brooklyn that will create a retail demand where one doesn’t exist today. The inquiries are already starting to come in—a classic case of “if you build it, they will come.”

The idea transfers well to office buildings in need of a facelift. Through team work, one can create a cityscape at a tower’s base and enliven a nearby neighborhood. Partnering with retail professionals, brokers, designers, existing tenants and end users allows building ownership to hear the collective needs and respond accordingly. The same concept applies to refreshing residential coops or condos, as is the case with Madison Avenue, where many owners have responded to evolving neighborhoods by positioning retail spaces to best serve residents and nearby office workers.

Another example of getting retail right is the automotive corridor along 11th Avenue, which Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Audi all call home. Working with building ownership, we were able to open up facades to bring in ample amounts of light—ideal for showrooms—and to switch out sidewalks, creating an aesthetic language that seamlessly relates to both the building and the neighborhood. Interiors that have a “vibrant look” also work well for these setups and offer a good deal of flexibility to attract a variety of future tenants. It’s all about creating an energy that works for a desired tenant mix and that a leasing agent can easily explain.

The one thing all of these success stories have in common: a proactive approach. If you want to be ready for retail, you should prepare your space before that tenant comes knocking at your door.

Revenue Watch Institute Signs Lease at 80 Broad Street

Revenue Watch Institute, a non-profit policy and grantmaking organization, has signed a seven-year lease for a 7,255-square-foot portion of the 18th floor at Savanna’s 80 Broad Street, Commercial Observer has learned. Asking rent for the space was in the high-$30s per square foot.

The nonprofit, which was represented in the transaction by Andrew Stein of Vicus Partners, will relocate its New York headquarters from the seventh floor of 1700 Broadway in approximately three months.

Continue reading “Revenue Watch Institute Signs Lease at 80 Broad Street”

Extell Inches Toward Deal to Sell Kaufman Four Ground Leases

119-125 West 24th Street
119-125 West 24th Street

As soon as next week, Gary Barnett’s Extell Development is slated to sign a contract to sell the long-term ground leases on four Ring portfolio office buildings to the Kaufman Organization, Commercial Observer has learned.

The $150 million deal, to be sealed next week or the week afterward, will include 119-125 West 24th Street, 13-15 West 27th Street, 19-21 West 24th Street and 45-47 West 27th Street, a source with knowledge of the deal said.  Continue reading “Extell Inches Toward Deal to Sell Kaufman Four Ground Leases”

Times Square ‘Earth Hour’ Blackout Scheduled for Saturday

Tourists visiting Times Square on Saturday might appear even more stupefyingly aimless when the lights go out.

One Times Square, 2010.
One Times Square, 2010.

As part of “Earth Hour,” lights at landmarks across the globe will go out to raise awareness of energy use and conservation, and Times Square will reportedly show its support for the annual event From 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Continue reading “Times Square ‘Earth Hour’ Blackout Scheduled for Saturday”

Impaired Performing, Nonperforming and CMBS Loan Prices Up: DebtX

Credit: DebtX
Credit: DebtX

While the volume of commercial real estate loans declined in New York City in January, their pricing increased across the nation, according to a report from DebtX, a leading mortgage adviser, released in early March.

“Commercial real estate loan prices got off to a good start in 2014,” DebtX Managing Director Will Mercer said in a press release. “We saw increases in both impaired performing and nonperforming secondary-market trades. CMBS loans saw a nice increase as well.”

Impaired performing loans traded through DebtX had a weighted average monthly price of 79.8 percent in January, up from 79.2 percent month over month. That was nearly on par with the figure one year ago, which was 80 percent, the data show.

Nonperforming loans, meanwhile, were trading at a weighted average monthly price of 50.5 percent in January, up from 48.4 percent in December and down from 52.3 percent year over year.

DebtX said that prices for U.S. CMBS loans increased to an estimated 94.1 percent as of Jan. 31, according to the report. That figure was a moderate jump from December’s figure of 92.6 percent and also up from the December 2013 number, which was 89.2 percent.

DebtX’s monthly Loan Liquidity Index, which looks at pools of loans sold through DebtX, was 109.8, down from 110.2 in December and up from 107.1 in January 2013.

Neiman Marcus Negotiating Hudson Yards Deal

Dallas-based department store Neiman Marcus is reportedly negotiating a deal for a New York flagship store at Hudson Yards.

Continue reading “Neiman Marcus Negotiating Hudson Yards Deal”

Canadian REIT Closes $19.5M Loan to Buy Suburban Chicago Office Property

Adventus Realty Trust, a real estate investment trust based in Vancouver, Canada, closed $19.5 million in financing to acquire an Illinois office property, Mortgage Observer has exclusively learned.

The 10-year, 4.98 percent fixed-rate loan from J.P. Morgan Chase Bank will be serviced by HFF, which brokered the deal. Continue reading “Canadian REIT Closes $19.5M Loan to Buy Suburban Chicago Office Property”

Prudential and AXA Lend $300M on LIC’s 4545 Center Boulevard

Developer TF Cornerstone closed a $300 million permanent loan from Prudential Mortgage Capital Company and AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company for 4545 Center Boulevard, part of the developer’s EastCoast residential complex in Long Island City. The loan is one of an increasing number of large deals from major lenders focused on the Queens neighborhood.

The Singer & Bassuk Organization brokered the 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage to refinance a $265 million construction loan on the 40-story rental tower, said Andrew Singer, chairman and chief executive officer of the New York-based brokerage firm. Prudential took $200 million, and AXA took $100 million, he said. The new loan closed on March 10.

Continue reading “Prudential and AXA Lend $300M on LIC’s 4545 Center Boulevard”

First Look Media Negotiating Space at L&L’s 114 Fifth Avenue

114 Fifth Avenue
114 Fifth Avenue

New online news venture First Look Media is negotiating a full-floor lease at L&L Holding Company’s redeveloped office tower 114 Fifth AvenueCommercial Observer has learned from someone with knowledge of the deal. The floors are just shy of 20,000 square feet.

In the interim, the news start-up, which was financed with $50 million by the eBay founder and billionaire Pierre Omidyar, will be subletting a floor (which are about 11,000 square feet each) at 162 Fifth Avenue between 18th and 19th Streets that was leased by major Hollywood talent agency, CAA. CAA has relocated to the Chrysler Building, as Commercial Observer previously reported. Continue reading “First Look Media Negotiating Space at L&L’s 114 Fifth Avenue”