Sunday Summary: Ooh, La La… Check Out Moynihan Train Hall!


Another week, another helping of absolutely bananas news.

Last time this summary went out, President Donald Trump was swatting away calls for a second impeachment. He lost that struggle. On Wednesday, he became the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.

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But while the awesome powers of the presidency will leave him before the next time this summary goes out (at least we think that’s the case), it’s safe to assume that Trump will remain a potent presence in real estate and media circles in 2021.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio shot the first arrow across the bow last week, when he announced that the city was severing all contracts with the Trump Organization.

This affects four sites: the Wollman and Lasker skating rinks in Central Park and the Central Park Carousel, as well as the Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in the Throgs Neck section of the Bronx. According to the mayor’s announcement, these contracts reel in about $17 million a year for the Trump Organization. We smell lawsuits and New York Post headlines.

De Blasio’s bête noire, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, had some other real estate-related news this week: In his State of the State Address, Cuomo announced plans to build a 1,200-foot extension of the High Line.

This will connect the High Line to the dramatic, chichi, newly opened $1.6 billion Moynihan Train Hall, which Commercial Observer’s Rebecca Baird-Remba visited recently and noticed, amidst its turn-of-the-century steel arches and 2,000-piece curved skylight, a distinct lack of public seating. (Still, the new train hall is a pretty jaw-dropping achievement. Check out our slideshow.)

Taking the good and the bad.

First, the good: Chuck E. Cheese, the arcade/restaurant, whose animatronic rat mascot is the beau idéal of children and rodents everywhere, safely emerged last week from bankruptcy, having shed more than $700 million in debt.

The other good news: There was leasing activity! Prestige Organic Market added some 3,100 square feet onto its lease at Greenpoint Landing in Brooklyn. Likewise, Workshop Middle School snagged 10,000 square feet at Bond Bakery Clock Tower in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. Finally, DNA Model Management, the modeling agency that represents luminaries like Emily Ratajkowski and Naomi Campbell, announced that it was re-upping at 55 West 25th Street.

There was some unwelcome (if not entirely unexpected) news from the world of office leasing: activity at the highest-priced addresses in New York dropped 75 percent last year. (Although, Natixis Investment Managers put out a study predicting a bounce back for real estate in 2021, so there’s that.)

And there were more of the lawsuits that have been popping up. The latest? Friedland Properties is suing Buffalo Wild Wings for $3 million in back rent for its Times Square location.

The other D.C. power moves

While attention might be on the White House and the U.S. Capitol, there were other interesting things happening in Washington, real estate-wise.

The Edition, a 351-unit multifamily community in Hyattsville, Md., traded to Akelius for $103 million. And 202 Mason Drive, a 28,000-square-foot industrial building in Rockville, Md., that currently boasts Tesla as a tenant, traded hands for $6.85 million.

L.A. highs and lows

As much as we’d like to act as if we’re out of the woods, as far as coronavirus is concerned, this is very far from the truth. Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Times reported on a study saying that one in three L.A. County residents had contracted COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

But, on the sales side, L.A. saw some interesting things happening.

Industrial behemoth Prologis (PLD) picked up a 361,707-square-foot redevelopment lot in Downtown L.A. for about $90 million, and The Rockefeller Group sold 500,000-square-feet worth of industrial space in the Inland Empire for $80.75 million. (Industrial was very much in the news: PGIM provided $332 million in senior debt to finance a 27-property industrial portfolio.)

And South Bay Village, the 107,539-square-foot, Walmart-anchored shopping center in L.A.’s South Bay, sold to Charing Cross last week for $39.7 million.

Oh, and on Friday we learned that the plant-based food producer, Beyond Meat, was signing a 280,000-square-foot 12-year lease at Hackman Capital Partner’s office complex El Segundo.

Have a bon weekend!