The Top 10 NYC Commercial Real Estate Stories of 2018


This past year has been exciting for those working in New York City commercial real estate as non-real estate companies have become serious real estate players, one of the city’s highest-profile firms closed and Long Island City, Queens was selected as the future home of one of Amazon (AMZN)’s two new headquarters.

So it wasn’t easy for Commercial Observer to whittle it down to the top 10 stories from 2018. We did our best to include a smattering of breaking news, features, and profiles, in no particular order.

SEE ALSO: The Year’s 10 Top Commercial Real Estate Finance Stories

Tech giant Google (GOOGL) is reigning supreme among technology companies that are snapping up real estate.

Google notched the Chelsea Market building at 75 Ninth Avenue from Jamestown for $2.4 billion, the largest investment sales deal of the year in New York City. And that’s not even part of the $1 billion campus the tech giant is creating in Manhattan. (The San Francisco Chronicle said Google, owned by Alphabet Inc., scored the first- and second-largest real estate acquisitions in the United States this year, with the Chelsea Market as the biggest and its $1 billion purchase of a 12-building site that was formerly the home of LinkedIn in Mountain View, Calif. as the second.)

Another deal of import, was Silverstein Properties picking up ABC’s Upper West Side campus for more than $1 billion. The office properties span more than 1 million square feet. CO broke the news when the deal went into contract in April.

Gotham scored a real victory, and a real boost, when after a race against 19 other cities, Amazon picked Long Island City, Queens it as one of two new future headquarters. Amazon will invest $2.5 billion and employ around 25,000 people there.

CO broke the news that Eastern Consolidated was closing its doors in July, which sent shockwaves throughout the industry. It marked the beginning of a string of notable executive moves from Eastern and other firms.

Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry reassured us he’s not retiring anytime soon. Among other things, the 89-year-old starchitect told us of the all-glass skyscraper designs: “They were inevitable, but the way they are being built makes you wonder. They’re kind of banal; why do they have to be that?”

The General Services Administration (GSA), which handles most of the federal government’s real estate contracts across the country, is not the huge tenant it once was. We dug deep into what it means for millions of square feet of property.

The Trump Administration’s immigration policies have created uncertainty for a booming, labor-constrained construction industry, and we talked to labor organizers about the plight of immigrant workers.

In July, when it emerged that Katara Hospitality—a subsidiary of the sovereign wealth fund of the tiny, oil-rich Gulf nation of Qatar—had agreed to acquire the iconic Plaza Hotel in Midtown for the price of $600 million, we decided to look at the long and winding ownership history of the famed hotel.

The Cuomo-de Blasio feud has been a hot topic and we delved into how the fallout of the conflict has affected the city’s real estate, housing and transit policy.

And no top-10 list of ours would be complete without the annual Power 100, which has become the industry bible for the city’s machers. This year’s winner? Click here to find out.