Sunday Summary: Behold, Power 100 2024!

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If you read the subject line for this email, you know where we’re going…. But consider that your dessert. Before we get to Commercial Observer’s sweet, sweet annual ranking of the top people in commercial real estate, we have some seriously good appetizers.

The Milstein family’s recently revamped 22 Vanderbilt, for one, had the kind of announcement last week that most people in the industry pray for.

SEE ALSO: Public Private Collaboration Is Key to San Francisco’s Affordable Housing Growth

The consulting firm Bain and Company had signed for… (wait for it)… 235,200 square feet across four floors at the Midtown office tower.

That’s a pretty spectacular lease.

But not so spectacular that one loses the momentum on three other biggies at the same address: TD Securities took 80,000 square feet on the 20th and 21st floor.

The law firm Duane Morris also took 80,000 square feet on the two floors just above TD.

And another law firm, Kennedys, took 25,000 square feet on the 24th floor.

Speaking of Bain, the space they left for 22 Vanderbilt was at Brookfield Properties’ Grace Building at 1114 Avenue of the Americas, which found a new tenant for their vacant footprint:  the California-based Trade Desk, which is taking a whopping 126,000 square feet.

And there was yet another 100,000-square-foot-plus lease last week when the tech firm Palantir did a 140,345-square-foot renewal (well, sort of… they had been renting from WeWork) with RXR at 620 Avenue of the Americas.

Whew!

With those kinds of leases, we can understand why there was a certain degree of optimism in the air at CO’s State of Office event at Vornado Realty Trust (VNO)’s Penn 2 on Thursday. There were a great deal of sunny predictions about the future of New York City, its office stock, and even its wacky zoning.

“Here’s the reality,” said Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer, who kicked off the morning, “the zoning code was written 60 years ago, and it’s time for a change. And we’ve undertaken some really interesting work to make sure that happens.”

“We don’t talk often enough how the deputy mayor, the mayor, the governor work together to really solve problems,” said Cushman & Wakefield (CWK) superbroker Bruce Mosler. “The governor has put money in her budget, and the mayor himself has a plan to identify and provide incentives for affordable housing, and there’s no question in my mind it will reduce the obsolescence in some of these buildings.” 

And those who ditched New York for the current golden child of South Florida will soon have to recognize New York’s staying power.

“Forget Miami — it’s all about New York for Ken Griffin, and for Jamie Dimon it’s all about New York,” said Vornado’s Glen Weiss. “Companies are out there saying, ‘We’re going to stay in New York, and we believe in New York.’ ” 

Desert course

This week is ICSC in Las Vegas — and CO will be on the Nevada ground, attending the parties, schmoozing it up with brokers, and generally learning what we can about the state of retail. (Feel free to peruse our handy dandy little guide.)

And we suspect it will be an interesting conference because exciting things are happening on the ground. Not only are retail leases being signed (like glass mosaic designer Bisazza or textiles manufacturer Maharra inking deals in New York) but sales are happening, too. Just last week Acadia Retail Trust sold its 100,000-square-foot The Shops at Grand Avenue in Maspeth, Queens, to J.P. Morgan Chase for $50 million.

Open-air retail seems to be having a moment, too. The convenience factor — which was so much of what e-commerce had going for it — is finally seeping into strip malls.

“When you look at the data for the last few years, you see very strong leasing velocity in open-air retail centers,” Martha Kelley of Bain told CO. “About 100 million square feet of leasing has been done. These centers are in some ways more experiential.”

Many of these questions will be batted around at ICSC. Of course, it’s always fun to get to Vegas for a few days…. But, in the not too distant future, one of the big lures of Vegas (read: gambling) will be in Gotham.

Indeed, last week Thor, Saratoga Casino Holdings, the Chickasaw Nation and Legends unveiled their proposal for a Brooklyn-based hotel and casino to be called, simply, The Coney. (You get three guesses where in Brooklyn they’re planning to build it.)

Last week’s reveal of the $3 billion plan featured a 500-key hotel, a concert venue, a massive event space (they’re talking 90,000 square feet) and another 70,000 square feet of retail.

And now for dessert!

Yes, last week was CO’s equivalent of Christmas, New Year’s, Easter and Passover all rolled into one: Power 100.

One can spend days reading about all the honorees and what they’re up to (like, say, stadiums and gaming venues) — which we would encourage.

A lot of honorees who had to return keys to lenders or saw their buildings put on watchlists got a second chance; they’ve been raising billions to deploy in the next year, proving their power to endure well beyond the hiccups in the market.

One sees new names on the list, as well as additions whose names might sound familiar but are just a little different.

Also, there are the previous honorees who are striking out on their own in 2024.

We always view the Power 100 as a chance to take the temperature of the real estate climate. Who’s up and who’s down. Each writeup of the honorees attempts to explain where they fall in the pecking order. So cancel any plans you have for today, settle back, and enjoy.

See you next week!