Sunday Summary: Real Estate Scares Itself Silly


It’s been a scary time for real estate, but this weekend is a double dose … because it’s Halloween!

The great scary monster of retail has, for the past couple of years, been a man whose exploits have led him to outer space and who bears an uncanny resemblance to a certain supervillain named Lex Luthor. We’re speaking, of course, about Jeff Bezos.

SEE ALSO: How Private Lenders Stepped In Where Banks Fear to Tread

This week a warehouse that was home to Bezos’ Amazon (AMZN) traded in the Los Angeles area for the jaw-dropping price of $128 million. This is liable to make its previous owner boo-hoo because it last traded in 2020 for … $16 million? Yup. An 800 percent increase in a year and a half. Scary!

What could have provoked such a precipitous sale? Maybe the original owners got one of those “Amityville Horror” warnings like, “Get out!” Honestly, a lot of people and companies seem to be in the get-out-while-the-getting-is-good mode. A year after SL Green (SLG) Realty Corp. picked up 590 Fifth Avenue from Thor Equities (Thor had defaulted on a $24 million mezzanine loan), the landlord turned around and sold the building to Effy Jewelry for $103 million.

Those who get their Halloween kicks from twisted medical horror flicks like “The Human Centipede” (we prefer the “South Park” parody) might find themselves interested in medical office space that traded. BentallGreenOak acquired three buildings in the Washington suburb of Frederick, Md., this week for $35 million. (Enough to make a scary three-office centipede?!?)

Or, better yet, what could be more evocative of that perverse genre of horror than the words, “hospital for special surgery”? (Special? Just what do you mean by that??) But nonetheless the Hospital for Special Surgery is expanding into a new yet-to-be-built Extell Development tower at 403 East 79th Street.

We don’t know exactly what “padel” is, but, if it’s anything like “paddling,” it sounds like it, too, could frighten the bejesus out of us. Apparently, this squash/tennis hybrid is getting its first club at 307 Kent Avenue in Brooklyn thanks to the efforts of Santiago Gomez, the restaurateur behind Cosme. (Which is a truly remarkable Mexican restaurant in the Flatiron District … until you get the bill. Now, that’s scary.)

Of course few things are as scary as the office market in New York City these days. But like the relief we feel at the monster being slain in the final reel, there’s some light at the end of the tunnel, according to CBRE vice chair and co-head of agency leasing in New York City, Howard Fiddle. In an interview with CO the super broker said that there had been a 13 percent increase in office leasing in the first nine months of 2021 as opposed to the same time in 2020. (Not so scary!)

One of our favorite horror movies is, of course, “The Shining,” with that creepy isolated hotel tucked far away in the Colorado Rockies. It makes us uneasy staying at hotels. Perhaps the only solution is to go to a hotel in the middle of the Financial District. Cue: WhyHotel will open a location at 110 Wall Street.

The aforementioned WhyHotel is in a former WeLive — now that’s a company that had a scary couple of years. As did coworking in general. Might this general fear explain why Amy Sterner Nelson left as president of SaksWorks? (SaksWorks is the retailer Saks’ coworking brand.)

And if we needed someone to document all the horror we have spoken of, A24, the film studio, took 24,000 square feet at 1245 Broadway.

Happy Halloween, everybody — and don’t gorge on too much candy!