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August 2011

August 2011 » Market Analysis » NYC Buildings For Sale

August 2011 New York Buildings For Sale

NYC Buildings For Sale

397-401 East 8th Street a development site is on the market for $5.2 million, EV Grieve. Chang's McSam Hotel Group purchased the 4,324-square-foot vacant lot, at 397-401 East 8th Street, for $4.9 million site.
Chang appears to be in the midst of a selling spree -- he recently unloaded stalled hotel project sites in the Financial District and in Union Square, as well as his new Holiday Inn Express at 126 Water Street.

A month after merging with EBSCO Publishing, library reference publisher H.W. Wilson has decided to market its former headquarters and nearby land holdings in the Highbridge section of the Bronx. The complete portfolio is asking $21.9 million, but can also be had in individual pieces. The developed component of the listing is composed of 142,030 square feet inside five adjoined buildings, including 950 University Avenue, which are adjacent to the Major Deegan Expressway and overlook the Harlem River.

Each of two platforms needed to cover the yards is estimated to cost $800 million. While a Coach lease for 600,000 square feet would allow Related to obtain a construction loan for a single tower, it was not clear whether it would in itself be sufficient to get financing for the plat forms. A Related rep said it was negotiating with a dozen companies but wouldn't comment on specific tenants or talks.

New York City has issued an official request for proposals relating to Applied Sciences NYC, its initiative to build or expand a state-of-the-art engineering and applied sciences campus at one of three city sites, "Bloomberg "We will provide prime New York real estate -- at virtually no cost, plus up to $100 million in infrastructure upgrades, in exchange for a university's commitment to build or expand a world-class science and engineering campus here in our city." The city is offering real estate at three possible locations, he said -- Governors Island, Brooklyn Navy Yard, and Roosevelt Island. -- Katherine Clarke

Manhattan condominium closings remained constant and new development closings increased slightly in June, marking a solid end to the second quarter. Pricing also remained strong and was up in all bedroom categories from studios through six-bedroom units, except for three- and four-bedroom units, with an increase of 28 percent in contract signed prices for five- and six-bedroom units. The overall average closing price for a one-bedroom apartment was $740,677, up from $695,841 in May. For a two-bedroom, the average closing price increased to approximately $1.592 million from roughly $1.527 million.

A former matzo factory in Williamsburg made notorious in 2008 when more than 150 residents were temporarily evicted over dozens of building code and zoning violations was raided by the city and broke into the office of building landlord Nachman Brach, who has long been rumored to be planning a condo conversion there. It seems that plan might be on hold overheard one DA official say to another, "this ain't gonna be condos any time soon."

The city invested $1.25 billion during fiscal year 2011, which ended June 30, to create 3,873 units of affordable housing, and preserve 11,771 more for existing tenants. That investment is part of the $8.5 billion New Housing Marketplace Plan initiated in 2004 to build and preserve some 165,000 affordable housing units in the city by 2014. The city is now more than three-quarters towards that goal, having invested in 124,510 affordable homes, 41,556 of which are newly constructed. The initiative also created 120,000 full-time equivalent, construction-related jobs.

A state court judge handed down a defeat today real estate investor Joe Tabak who sought to partner with Michael Ring through a $112.4 million infusion of cash and debt in 14 mostly underperforming Manhattan commercial properties. State Supreme Court Justice Bernard Fried rejected a request by Tabak's Princeton Holdings for a preliminary injunction to block Ring from "selling, leasing, transferring or encumbering Michael Ring's interest," until arbitration had resolved a simmering agreement dispute.

The city's Landmarks Preservation Commission unanimously signed off today on a gut renovation of the Carlton House Hotel, is overseeing the project with partner Angelo Gordon & Company. The partners picked up the property from the Helmsley estate last March for $170 million. 680 Madison Avenue building currently contains 157 hotel and residential units, which were being vacated by the developers as their leases expired. Among the changes now planned: a two-story addition and two new infill buildings on the building's north and south sides, an upgrade to its 32,000-square-foot retail space and a restoration of the exterior façade

After taking a hiatus late last year, sales at the Setai Wall Street condominium are resuming with a 16 percent price cut, the 159-unit condo conversion is about 60 percent sold, but the developer, Zamir Equities, agreed to lower the price to $750,000 for one-bedrooms, $930,000 for two-bedrooms and $1.2 million for penthouses "to match today's prices." Setai Wall Street was at the center of financial problems last year, as Zamir defaulted on its $147 million loan, and the lender, Irish Anglo Bank, sold it to HFZ Capital Group and Acro Group for $80 million.

The Department of City Planning will be holding a public hearing on former City Council Speaker Gifford Miller's Bronx real estate project. Longtime friend Robert Frost, a partner at Signature Urban Properties, are planning to transform a derelict section of the Bronx near the Sheridan Expressway with 10 new "affordable" apartment buildings, they said. The $400 million Bronx project is the pair's first ground-up venture,; the area is currently home to a strip of car repair shops and smaller residential buildings. Signature, founded in 2007, is currently working to have it rezoned to allow for the development.

The General Services Administration will likely take much less space at 1 World Trade Center than previously expected. While the U.S. agency and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey announced a prospective deal for 600,000 square feet four years ago, they are now negotiating for less than half that amount. Tthe state Office of General Services, was revealed to be floundering at the site. The withdrawal of OGS will leave the Port Authority with an extra 900,000 square feet to lease.

As charter schools increase their presence in the city, they're acquiring land from an unexpected source: the New York City Housing Authority. The authority is selling the land in order to preserve public housing. The agency has been cash-strapped since the Bush administration ceased allocation of federal subsidies to the authority, but still owns a "huge chunk" of the city's valuable land. The agency operates at a $42 million to $64 million budget deficit, and so it has begun selling its land for money to preserve affordable housing. The agency said that in its efforts to pursue "financial returns, socioeconomic impact and environmental sustainability" it has sold some of the land to the charter schools

Malaysian party boy Taek Jho Low, paid $31 million, or more than $6,400 per square foot, for the 4,825-square-foot Jay Z apartment in Time Warner 76th-floor condo.

The Related Companies is in advanced lease negotiations with Walmart and J.C. Penney about anchoring Gateway II in southeast Brooklyn each taking 150,000 square feet would provide enough financial momentum to move forward with the development. "We still have not signed any leases anywhere in the city," Steven Restivo, a spokesperson for Walmart”. Brooklyn Assemblywoman Inez Barron has asked that state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli investigate the proposed sale of 21 acres of land, owned by the state and eyed by Walmart for its first store, to the Related Companies. In a letter written to DiNapoli, Barron, a longtime opponent of Walmart, expressed concerns over why the company is paying only $14.5 million for the land for Gateway II, when it had originally agreed to pay $32.5 million. "

Yonkers-based AVR Realty is considering putting 5 Times Square on the market. AVR bought the
1.1 million-square-foot building, which houses the U.S. headquarters of Ernst & Young, at the height of the market in 2007 for $1.28 billion. If sold for a profit, the sale of 5 Times Square could be an indication that trophy commercial buildings are once again trading at record prices,. "The sales market is picking up, and the question is: Does it keep going? AVR bought the building from Boston Properties for $1,162 per square foot in 2007

Spanish fashion retailer Mango is opening its second New York location at 7 West 34th Street this fall..
Mango is just one in a string of upscale retail tenants coming to the area, Japanese clothing store Uniqlo is set to open its third New York store on the stretch and Levi's and Timberland footwear store just opened in May. New stores are a boost for the landlords on 34th Street, who have seen an increase in rental rates and property values. There are 11 landlords on the block between Fifth and Sixth avenues who rent to approximately 30 retailers. Top owners are SL Green Realty and JEMB Realty, which own the two large properties, at the western edge of the street.

China-based retail developer Soho China has agreed to invest between $500 million and $700 million with Vornado Realty Trust to kick-start development of an office tower over the Port Authority Bus Terminal.. With a deal giving Vornado and partner Lawrence Ruben the rights to build over the terminal set to expire next month, the partners are at a critical juncture in negotiations with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, the site's owner. Vornado and Ruben were selected by the Port Authority to develop the tower in 2000 but the project has been delayed multiple times as a result of the economic downturn. An extension of the deal was granted last year.

Fashion label Dolce & Gabbana has leased an 18,400-square-foot store on Fifth Avenue, , taking over from clothing store Escada, which will move to a smaller space within the same building. The lease could be valued at just under $300 million. The two stores, at 717 Fifth Avenue, are part of a retail condominium owned by SL Green Realty and prominent Manhattan landlord Jeff Sutton, the latter who oversaw both deals.. Dolce & Gabbana currently has a location at 825 Madison Avenue and a lower-price D&G store at 434 West Broadway, but has never conquered Fifth Avenue.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillebrand and the St. Albans Veterans Affairs facility A long-opposed project once thought dead that would privatize part of the Department of Veterans Affairs nursing facilities in St. Albans, Queens, was given new life, the Queens Chronicle reported. The proposal was for a private developer to build housing and retail while replacing the aging Veterans Affairs facilities with a new nursing home, rehabilitation center and expanded outpatient facilities. But opponents demanded a full-service hospital rather than private development. In June the House of Representatives passed the Veterans Care Act as an amendment to the military appropriations bill, which blocked partial privatization of the St. Albans VA site. But the Senate left that amendment out of its version of the bill.

A state appeals court today has rejected architect Robert Scarano's appeal of a decision forbidding him from filing any building documents, including permit applications and construction plans, with the Department of Buildings. "New Yorkers depend on licensed professionals to follow the law and ensure the quality of life of our neighborhoods is protected. Mr. Scarano betrayed that trust, and this decision sends a clear message that there are serious consequences for filing false documents in New York City," DOB Commissioner Robert LiMandri said in a statement. Sacarano said in a statement: "We are extremely disappointed in today's ruling and we are going to examine all legal options available to us. Despite this decision, we plan to continue working hard to serve our clients and to maintain the high quality of architecture for which our firm is known."

New York's development agency should have done a more thorough environmental review of Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards basketball arena and housing project before approving it in 2009, a Supreme Court judge ruled. The ruling is unlikely to disturb construction at the $4.9 billion project's first phase, but the judge did request a second review of the second phase. The ruling is a blow to Empire State Development, which approved the use of eminent domain to allow for the controversial Brooklyn development in 2006. A spokesperson for ESD said it "believes that it complied with all laws applicable to the project."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg today led the city in opening the first section of the new East River Waterfront Esplanade, that stretches from Wall Street to Maiden Lane. The opening is part of a $165 million project to transform two miles of city-owned land along the East River, from the southern edge of Manhattan to the East River Park that lies north of the Manhattan Bridge, into open public space. "One of the goals of the waterfront plan we unveiled earlier this year is to reconnect New Yorkers to New York City's more than 500 miles of waterfront and make it part of their everyday lives, and the new esplanade will help do that for Lower Manhattan's tens of thousands of residents, 300,000-plus workers and millions of visitors," Bloomberg said.

New York City home sales prices inched upward, while sales activity blossomed in the second quarter of 2011. Sales activity increased 10 percent from the first quarter of 2011, but is down four percent from the same period a year ago due to "unseasonable fluctuations" caused by the looming expiration of the homebuyer's tax credit. Meanwhile, sales prices increased 2 percent from last quarter and 3 percent from the same period a year ago. In the second quarter "we saw a return to normal cyclical market patterns.

Having just received the final approval from the Board of Standards and Appeals, developer Patrick Thompson is moving ahead with plans to turn the landmarked RKO Keith's Theater in downtown Flushing, Queens into a 17-story, 357-unit residential rental complex.

Five timeshare owners in the Manhattan Club in the Park Central Hotel at 200 West 56th Street, a timeshare condominium resort, are suing developer Bruce Eichner and the club's other owners for fraud and "breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing," according to court documents. The timeshare owners allege that Eichner is not granting them access to their timeshares, despite booking up to nine months in advance, and is instead renting them out to the general public. "Through a coordinated and uniform marketing strategy, defendants fraudulently create and maintain the impression that access to and beneficial use of timeshare units in the Manhattan Club is completely or almost completely limited to timeshare ownership interests," the court filing says, but the reality is allegedly otherwise.

The city's Economic Development Corporation selected three companies to redevelop two historic Harlem sites into more than 350,000 square feet of commercial and industrial space. The larger of the two sites, the Taystee Bakery complex that comprises six buildings on 125th and 126th streets near Amsterdam Avenue, will be developed by Janus Partners and Manodnock Construction. The $100 million project, called CREATE @ Harlem, will create 328,000 square feet of manufacturing, office, retail and community space, and is expected to house locally-based businesses including the Harlem Brewing Company, HerFlan bakery, and the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center. The latter of the three tenants is a non-profit promoter of local manufacturers, and as per the company's mission, will lease its space to small manufacturing and artisan companies.

UDR, the third-largest publicly traded apartment owner in the U.S, has agreed to pay $581 million for two Manhattan rental communities -- the 706-unit Rivergate complex in Murray Hill for $443 million and the 210-unit 21 Chelsea building for $138 million -- in an effort to expand its presence in the city.

A state Supreme Court judge is scheduled to rule on a motion to block the city from rezoning the so-called Broadway Triangle urban renewal area in Brooklyn, a 31-acre site that activists say has favored politically connected members of the Hasidic community in Williamsburg over African American residents of Bedford Stuyvesant. The Broadway Triangle Community Coalition will present expert testimony before Judge Emily Goodwin over what they claim to be long-standing housing segregation that has given members of the Hasidic community preferential treatment in public housing, despite a waiting list that is overwhelmingly black and Latino. "Their goal an intention has always been to accommodate the political connected Hasidic Jewish community," said attorney Marty Needelman of the Brooklyn Legal Services, representing the coalition.

The Mark Hotel and Izak Senbahar Dune Real Estate Partners has filed to foreclose on loans granted to the Alexico Group's Mark Hotel at 25 East 77th Street by Anglo Irish Bank, according to public documents filed in State Supreme Court last month. Dune bought the loans earlier this year. Alexico's Simon Elias and Izak Senbahar pledged the hotel and co-op building as collateral for a total of five Mark Hotel-related loans, all of which are now in default, according to the public foreclosure filing dated June 9. The loans include a pre-development one totaling $14 million in 2006, a building loan mortgage totaling approximately $60.78 million, dated 2007, a project loan totaling around $22.7 million, a $17 million supplemental building loan and a $6.3 million supplemental loan mortgage. All of these debts are accompanied by unpaid interest, late charges, protective advances, service fees and attorney expenses.

Sam Zell's Equity Residential has poached a top member of Toll Brothers' executive team to head up its hunt for new development sites in the New York metropolitan area. George Kruse, the former managing director of Toll Brothers Realty Trust, joined Zell's company last month and will be looking for building opportunities as well as overseeing the construction of TEN23, Equity Residential's new 111-unit rental building on the High Line, which is slated to kick off leasing efforts this fall.

The Elad Group found a buyer for its Tribeca warehouse building at 250 West Street but it turned out the buyers couldn't come up with the cash. Elad held on to the 11-story warehouse, occupying an entire block from West to Washington streets, and has listed some of its units. Prices range from $1.15 million for a 1,035-square-foot studio to $9 million for a 4,018-square-foot three-bedroom with 325 square feet of outdoor space.

FAO Schwarz has ended speculation by finally renewing its lease at Boston Properties' General Motors building.

A four-alarm fire ravaged Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, a modern Orthodox Upper East Side synagogue that was under renovation, destroying the roof and heavily damaging the upper floors.

New Yorkers are still complaining about bedbugs, but it seems the impact of the blood-sucking pests is actually on the decline. City agencies said that while bedbug-related complaints from residents rose to 13,140 in the last fiscal year, from 12,768 complaints in 2010, the number of violations issued by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development dropped to 4,481, from 4,808 last year. Data from the city's 311 hot line shows a record 34,044 bedbug-related calls for the year that ended June 30, but that's because calls to the hotline surged overall; as a proportion of the total 311 traffic, bedbug-related calls declined year-over-year and represent less than 1 percent of all incoming calls.

Foreclosures on co-op apartments in New York City reached a two-year high during the second quarter, more than quadrupling in number since the second quarter of 2010. The spike was fueled by a major uptick in scheduled foreclosure auctions in Manhattan, which had 66 in the second quarter, up from 27 at this time last year, and from 41 in the first quarter, the data shows. But the increasing distress that was apparent among Manhattan co-op owners wasn't replicated elsewhere in the city, with all other boroughs -- which have traditionally been much harder-hit by foreclosures -- seeing year-over-year declines in the number of auctions scheduled during the second quarter.

The city will auction off a warehouse of artifacts from historic New York buildings gathered by the Landmarks Preservation Commission later this month, Once clear of artifacts, the Architectural Salvage Warehouse, at 337 Berry Street in Williamsburg, will be razed to give way to affordable housing. The warehouse contains artifacts such as seats from the Audubon Ballroom, old signs from the Grand Central Terminal post office, limestone from the New York Butchers on 11th Avenue, cow statues that greeted dairy and slaughterhouse workers, a door from the historic townhouse at 148 Waverly Place and other pieces of New York City nostalgia collected by the LPC between 1980 and 2000.

The Olnick Organization, owner of Harlem's Lenox Terrace, which is home to Gov. David Patterson and Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel, is attempting once again to win tenant support for a plan that would almost double the size of the complex. Olnick first developed the plan in 2003, but it never got off the ground as a result of tenant opposition and a weak economy. The complex was constructed by Olnick in 1958 on three square blocks between Fifth and Lenox avenues from 132nd to 135th streets. The six buildings currently house 1,700 units. According to the Wall Street Journal, Olnick aims to build six new apartment towers, renovate the complex's retail space and turn asphalt parking lots into grassy fields.

DAB Group is facing a foreclosure suit at its stalled 16-story Allen Street Hotel project on the Lower East Side, after the loan was acquired by Manhattan-based Maverick Real Estate Partners. Maverick acquired a $5.5 million note from Brooklyn Federal Savings Bank, after DAB, a Valley Stream, N.Y.-based developer, allegedly went into default, according to the complaint filed July 1 in Manhattan Supreme Court. The loan had an initial due date of June 1, 2008, with an optional extension to December 2008. In August 2008, DAB received an extension until Sept. 1, 2009, with three six-month extensions, until March 1, 2011.

The grand columned Anglo-Italianate facade of Chelsea's 10-building London Terrace Gardens apartment complex, built in 1930 and 1931, had been covered in scaffolding since 2008 while undergoing a massive restoration project.

The River School, a for-profit nursery school that currently operates on the Upper West Side and in Jersey City, signed a 20-year-lease to bring its entire operation to the 8,000-square-foot ground-floor space of the historic warehouse building at 184 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg. The large lease brings closure to a decade of tumultuousness surrounding the 425,000-square-foot Cass Cilbert-designed building. The warehouse's previous owners wanted to build penthouses on top of the six-story structure, but the Landmarks Preservation Commission decided to designate it for protection. However, after a series of overrulings, the building was never awarded the designation.

An increasing number of Manhattan neighborhoods are feeling empty, residents said, because of a jump in the number of wealthy out-of-towners buying pieds-à-terre and unused investment properties in the city. Since 2000, Manhattan apartments occupied by absentee owners and renters have increased by more than 70 percent, to nearly 34,000, from 19,000. A large area on the East Side bounded by Fifth and Park Avenues and East 49th and 70th Streets sees about 30 percent of more than 5,000 apartments routinely vacant more than 10 months a year, according to the Census Bureau's latest American Community Survey.

When online real estate database modified the formula it uses to estimate the value of some 97.3 million American homes, known as the zestimate, last month, it caused a great deal of distress for homeowners, some of whom saw significant decreases in Zillow's valuation of their properties.

Developer Jared Kushner of Kushner Companies has come to a tentative deal to rescue his investment in 666 Fifth Avenue, which he bought for $1.8 billion in 2007. Kushner reached a possible agreement with LNR Property, that would allow him to retain control of the tower by modifying the terms of the $1.2 billion mortgage tied to the office portion of the building. Kushner is also turning to office giant Vornado Realty which may buy a 50 percent stake in the building. Vornado would pay an undefined "nine-figure" sum (meaning something between $100 million and $999 million), for a piece of the building.

The federal government is planning its first pullback from the mortgage market since the downturn, lowering the maximum loan amount that Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and federal agencies can back from its elevated level of $729,750. That maximum was set by Congress three years ago in an attempt to ensure that borrowers could continue to obtain loans in particularly expensive housing markets during the credit crunch. In October, that amount is set to decline by varying amounts depending on the market; in prime real estate locations, like New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., the limit will decline to $625,500.

The city took its first step towards the $13 million rehabilitation of Waterside Pier, between 38th and 41st streets along the East River, into a public park yesterday. The project is funded completely by a $13-million lease fulfillment payment made yesterday by Consolidated Edison, whose lease expired last June. The site had gone unused for years, according to Con Ed. The money will help refurbish the pier's structural components, and give way to a 34,000-square-foot park.

Joint owners JPMorgan Asset Management and AXA Equitable Life Insurance have secured $372 million in refinancing for 1285 Sixth Avenue at Rockefeller Center, HFF, which arranged the refinancing. The 10-year fixed-rate loan on the 1.65 million-square-foot, 42-story Midtown tower is with MetLife Real Estate Investments, HFF said. Developed in 1960 as the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States headquarters, the building is currently 99.9 percent leased, HFF said. Anchor tenants include UBS, law firm Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and advertising agency BBDO.

The developer of the Lotus condominium in Williamsburg has agreed to hand over 10 apartments to the condo board, settling a private lawsuit and investigation by the attorney general amid complaints about structural defects at the building and thousands of dollars in unpaid common charges. Developer Steven Kohn signed a "confession of judgment" at Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office June 3, giving the 10 unsold apartments to the condo board. The board will be able to rent out the units to help cover the costs of fixing the building. The developer also signed a personal guarantee, backing up promises made in the settlement.

Anbau Enterprises paid $18.5 million for a parking lot in the Flatiron District, and plans to turn it into a glass condominium with a highly unique exterior that extends beyond the brick structures surrounding it. The land, at 39-41 West 23rd Street, was previously owned by Horizen Global, a small company with a pre-downturn plan to build a glass hotel by Cooper Square Hotel architect Carlos Zapata on the site. The design -- which architecture scholar John Messengale compared to Gehry's IAC building in Chelsea -- prompted the local community board to request that City Planning not grant a permit for the building, which is located in the landmarked Ladies' Mile Historic District.

Two New York City prisons are among seven state prisons that will be shut down to accommodate Governor Andrew Cuomo's state budget, Cuomo. The Fulton Correctional Facility at 1511 Fulton Avenue in the Claremont section of the Bronx is one of four minimum-security prisons set to close, and the Arthur Kill Correctional Facility on Staten Island at 2911 Arthur Kill is one of three medium-security institutions prepared to shut its doors. Overall, the closure of seven prisons will save the state $184 million over the next two years. Cuomo has targeted closing correctional facilities since taking office with a $10 billion budget gap, especially since the state's prison population has declined 22 percent, to 56,000 inmates since 1999.

The Manhattan residential real estate sales market can best be characterized as stable, signaling strength amidst an uncertain economic climate elsewhere in the country. Analysis show mixed but healthy indicators. In a still strict lending environment, it comes as little surprise that the best performing sectors of the market -- the top end of the market where buyers are wealthiest, and the bottom end of the new development market where units qualify for Federal Housing Authority-approved loans -- were those where financing came easiest.

The Brodsky Organization will soon begin the second part of its construction and renovation project for the buildings it purchased from the General Theological Seminary, according to Chelsea Now. The developer has already completed renovations on two residence halls and three townhouses, and the second phase will begin with the renovation of a building across the street from the Seminary, at 422 West 20th Street. The façade of the building will be cleaned and the front door and light fixtures will be replaced, according to Daniel Brodsky, managing director of the Brodsky Organization. When those minor renovations are complete, work will begin on the interior of the building, with the property's conversion to a condo.

Germany's Helaba Bank and Chicago-based lender Capri Capital Partners are facing a $20 million lawsuit from investor Amir Chaluts at the troubled Reade57 condominium project in Tribeca, seeking to stop the lenders from modifying a loan agreement with the John Buck Co., the lead developer on the project. Chaluts, operating under the name 281 Broadway Developers at the project, filed suit in Manhattan Supreme Court June 24 seeking an injunction against the lenders for making a loan agreement without his consent and a judgment against the lenders. "Despite developers having advised Helaba and Capri that any loan modification must be approved by developers, Helaba continues to fund the loan, and… Helaba, Capri and Buck are presently negotiating a modification of the loan agreements," attorney Aaron Abraham, representing Chaluts, said in the New York state Supreme Court complaint.

The American Folk Art Museum, which was forced to sell its home on West 53rd Street, will return to its other, smaller location in Lincoln Square. The museum sold the building at 45 West 53rd Street for $31.2 million, to settle a $32 million debt. The new space, at 2 Lincoln Square, is considerably smaller than the 53rd Street location, but the museum is confident that it will still be able to offer a full schedule of exhibitions and programming. The Lincoln Square site was the institution's home prior to the opening of its West 53rd Street building. It pays $1 a year in rent to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Susan Hewitt of the Cheshire Group, previous owner Mark Terk and 1327-1329 Lexington Avenue A low-key residential property company based in Greenwich Village paid $105 million for a 99-unit apartment building in Carnegie Hill whose fate had been uncertain following the death of the heir to the property three years ago. The Cheshire Group, which owns and operates market-rate and rent-regulated properties in the New York metro area, closed on Tuesday on the purchase of 1327-1329 Lexington Avenue, between 88th and 89th streets, in an all cash transaction,. The ownership of Rhinelander Properties was thrown into confusion with the death of the property's heir Mark Terk at the age of 54 in May 2008.

Governor Andrew Cuomo Governor Andrew Cuomo, signed a statewide property tax cap legislation which has been kicked around the state government for more than 15 years, caps property tax increases at 2 percent, or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. Only a 60 percent vote in local communities override Cuomo's legislation. "We are beginning a new era in which New York will no longer be the tax capital of the nation," Cuomo said.

Midtown-based Alrose Group placed the real estate underlying the high-end Allegria Hotel & Spa in Long Beach, L.I., under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Eastern District in Brooklyn. The Alrose Group's special entity Alrose King David, which owns the 143-room, beachfront hotel property at 80 West Broadway in Long Beach, had between $10 million and $50 million in both debts and assets. The hotel is not in bankruptcy and is operating normally, Allen Rosenberg, president of Alrose Group, said. The bankruptcy filing "is against the real estate entity that owns the hotel; it has nothing to do with the hotel operations," Rosenberg said

Maritz, Wolff & Co. have sold five hotels, including the Carlyle hotel at 35 East 76th Street, to Hong Kong billionaire Cheng Yu-tung for about $570 million. The other hotels are in Dallas, Santa Fe, and the British Virgin Islands. Chinese investors are increasingly interested in investing in high-end hotels in large U.S. cities with the expectation of an influx of travelers from Asia.

Extell Development's 50-story hotel project at 131-139 West 45th Street will go ahead despite the company having sold off 11 commercial property lots in Midtown for approximately $125.16 million, including the hotel site. The buyer in the bulk property sale, which includes lots on 45th and 46th streets, is HHC TS REIT LLC. Barnett confirmed that the properties had been sold, but said that the transaction was primarily a strategy to get an equity partner involved with the hotel project. He would not confirm the identity of the buyer.

Walt "Clyde" Frazier and 505 West 37th Street New York Knicks' Hall of Famer Walt "Clyde" Frazier is opening a restaurant and sports bar in Midtown West. The establishment will likely be named "Clyde's" and will be located in a 10,530-square-foot retail space on the ground floor of TF Cornerstone's residential rental complex 505 West 37th Street at 10th Avenue. The restaurant will be a partnership with Ark Restaurants, which as the New York Post reported in March, signed a lease in the space with a target opening date of Dec. 1.

The Hunters Point section of Long Island City is experiencing a boom in new development, with $700 million of construction happening including four new residential towers in the works. "This all used to be industrial waterfront, much of it abandoned. Now we have 10 acres of beautiful waterfront park land, five residential buildings, a public school and a lot more coming on the way. By the time of its completion in 2013, the area will have 11 residential buildings, two public schools, a park and a public library.

There are sweeping changes afoot at Madison Square Garden, so much so that MSG President and Chief Executive Hank Ratner is referring to the building as "the fifth Garden," an entirely new arena that just happens to be in the same building. The first round of renovations is slated to be completed by October, in time for the Rangers' home opener. The Garden has been gutted and the locker rooms, Delta Club and 1879 Club are all only halfway completed. As previously reported, the project is expected to cost between $775 million and $850 million. With ticket price hikes of 49 percent coming into play this season, being a premium ticket holder comes with a few extra perks.

Extell Development is close to securing the $700 million loan it needs to construct the 1,000-foot condominium and hotel tower it is building on West 57th Street across from Carnegie Hall. The developer is partnering on the project with an Abu Dhabi government fund, which controls most of the equity. The building is already 22 stories and until now, the work has been financed purely with equity. Designed by Christian de Portzamparc and known as One57, the building will have a Park Hyatt hotel on its first 30 floors, and 95 luxury condos will take up the remaining 60 floors.

The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey has come to a preliminary deal with mall operator the Westfield Group to bring retail to the World Trade Center site. Terms of the agreement, would see Westfield contribute $612.5 million toward construction costs for 365,000 square feet of retail space in return for a 50 percent stake in the development, are still being finalized. If the deal goes ahead, retail would be spread throughout the complex, with some stores lining multiple levels of the large, open transit hub. The lower floors of office towers along Greenwich Street would be stores and restaurants, and some would overlook the memorial, which is currently under construction. The complex has a target opening date of 2015.

The New York City Council is planning to join in a lawsuit attempting to block the Bowery Residents Committee homeless shelter at 127 West 25th Street in Chelsea, even as the Department of Homeless Services begins relocating people to the facility. The General Welfare Committee voted to allow the legislative body to join the lawsuit filed by the Chelsea Flatiron Coalition, which has long argued that the facility is too large and would pose safety issues for residents. The full council plans to vote to permit the body to join the lawsuit. A New York Supreme Court judge rejected an injunction request submitted by opponents of shelter earlier this month. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who represents the surrounding district, was one of the most outspoken opponents of the homeless shelter and was disappointed by the ruling.

A $1.5 billion commercial mortgage bond sale between Goldman Sachs and Citigroup has been scrapped, the companies said, because Standard & Poor's would not rate the notes. According to Bloomberg News, the deal had been slated to close today but was delayed because S&P is reviewing its criteria for rating commercial mortgage-backed securities. "Ratings are a condition precedent to closing and settlement," Goldman Sachs and Citigroup said in the statement to Business Wire. "Standard & Poor's had previously informed Goldman and Citi that they were prepared to rate" the transaction, they said. The risk assessor explained the change in a separate statement. S&P ''is reviewing the application of our conduit/fusion CMBS criteria in relation to the calculation of debt service coverage ratios,"

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority proposed increasing its debt plan to $6.9 billion for its preliminary 2010 to 2014 capital budget at its board meeting. Those funds will be one part of the MTA's $24 billion total capital program, as it seeks to close a $9 billion budget gap, after it already cut $2 billion from the budget. The MTA has also considered selling its real estate assets -- like its Madison Avenue headquarters -- to offset capital program budget deficits

A 209-unit affordable housing development will replace two vacant Kings County Hospital Center buildings in September 2013. CAMBA Housing Ventures and Enterprise Community Invest recently closed on the $67 million purchase of the site at 690 and 738 Albany Avenue in Flatbush. The partners plan a pair of six-story, LEED gold-certified buildings designed by Harden + Van Arnam architects that will also meet the energy-efficiency standards the city recently set for affordable housing projects
Hotel Chelsea is ceasing accepting reservations next month in an apparent attempt by its new owner Joseph Chetrit to end the unionization of its staff. While he recently negotiated a contract with the Hotel Workers Local that was good until July 2012, staff members have now been told to stop taking reservations next month. Many of the long-term hotel staff could then be laid off. Chetrit could then contract out any remaining jobs or keep a non-union skeleton staff. He could reopen Hotel Chelsea at 222 West 23rd street as a non-union hotel in a year after the contract has expired.

A long-delayed plan to refurbish and expand the 294,000-square-foot George Washingon Bridge bus station at 4211 Broadway in Upper Manhattan is back on track with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey voting to proceed with a $183.2 million renovation. The Port Authority has teamed up with SJM Partners and Slayton Equities. Together, the team will manage the space for 99 years under the terms of a lease signed July 21. The Port Authority will give $83.2 million toward the renovation project while the developers will contribute $100 million. "There's been a long time when we've wondered, how do you transform what's really just plastic unappealing space?" said Christopher Ward, the executive director of the Port Authority. "The challenge is, the industrial architecture of 1960s transportation facilities does not always lend itself to a modern retail world."

It seems like architect Jean Nouvel's Torre Verre, or MoMA Tower, might be back on track, with a spokesperson for developer Hines admitting that the project was imminent. Nouvel's skyscraper, delayed by the financial crisis, was first introduced in 2007 to much critical acclaim. It was slated to be as high as 1,250 feet on land traded by the Musuem of Modern Art to Hines, for $125 million and three floors of galleries in the base of the new building. It would be tall enough to rival the Empire State Building. City Planning Commission Chair Amanda Burden was less enamored with the tower than others and insisted that 200 feet be knocked off the top, making it smaller than even the Chrysler Building. Hines has quietly filed a new set of plans with the Department of City Planning, compliant with two special permits that the commission and the City Council approved in 2009.

Developer Friedland Properties and architecture firm Costas Kondylis & Partners have finally settled all charges with the federal government relating to the Melar, a rental building at 250 West 93rd Street that came under fire for violations of the federal Fair Housing Act. Negotiations between the developers and federal authorities have been ongoing since last year. The government's initial complaint, filed in October 2010, alleges that Friedland and Kondylis had failed to create public areas in the building, which is between Broadway and West End Avenue, that were readily accessible to residents with disabilities, as well as set light switches and other outlets in easy to reach locations or provide kitchens and bathrooms that were accessible to disabled persons.

Walmart is hosting an invitation-only breakfast for East New York, Brooklyn local leaders this week as part of its efforts to gather community support for a Walmart store in the neighborhood. Most of the several dozen invitees, such as clergy or community board members, either support the project or are undecided, while those who have been openly critical of the proposal were not invited. While Walmart has declined to speak at public forums such as City Council hearings or community board meetings, it has already held several other such private meetings with community leaders in other neighborhoods, Walmart spokesperson Steve Restivo said.

Two big construction projects on the block bounded by Broadway and Eighth Avenue and 54th and 55th Streets were given the go-ahead by the Department of Buildings. As a result, Boston Properties' 900,000-square-foot office tower at 250 West 55th Street will begin construction after a two-year hiatus and Joseph Moinian's as yet unflagged, 34-story hotel at 237 West 54th Street, designed by Gene Kaufman, will rise on the site of a small building which is currently being demolished. Law firm Morrison Foerster recently signed on for 200,000 square feet at the Boston Properties building.

Apple has signed a 10-year deal to open a 23,000-square-foot store on the north and northeast balconies, pending approval from the MTA's board of directors. MTA documents show that Apple will pay $800,000 per year in rent and will pay to refurbish the space. After ten years, that fee would increase to $1 million per year. Apple's prospective space was formerly occupied by Charlie Palmer's Metrazur restaurant, which paid almost half a million less than what Apple will be paying. The MTA is anticipating that the deal will bring it around $5 million in profits. The transit agency will ask its financial committee to weigh in on the deal Monday. If it passes as expected, the deal will then go to the agency's board of directors Wednesday for a final approval.

Forest Hills-based multi-family landlord Bronstein Properties bought Alexico Group's 89 unsold cooperative apartments in two Gramercy Park buildings at a UCC foreclosure auction last week for $15.05 million. Bronstein bought the shares securing 29 apartments at the 164-unit 201 East 25th Street, and 60 apartments at the 280-unit 200 East 27th Street, at the auction July 21. The apartment buildings are a block away from each other on Third Avenue. In a UCC foreclosure, also known as a non-judicial foreclosure, the buyer purchases an equity interest in a property, not the actual real estate as in a judicial foreclosure. The price comes to about $169,101 per apartment.

The 200-bed Peninsula Hospital Center in Far Rockaway, Queens is closing, and that's just one of many outer-borough healthcare facilities facing financial difficulties. considering St. Vincent's recent sale, Manhattan hospitals aren't immune to funding issues either. The Pensinsula, at 51-15 Beach Channel Drive, is believed to be closing because it owes tens of millions of dollars to the benefit fund of its main union and vendors. One thousand employees would lose their jobs.

Related Companies and Vornado Realty Trust, the developers of a long-planned expansion of Pennsylvania Station into neighboring James A. Farley Post Office, have told government officials that they're struggling to make the terms of their five-year-old deal work. According to a timetable laid out last year, final terms of their financial agreement are to be solidified with the state by the end of this year. In 2006, the developers agreed to pay more than $310 million for rights to develop retail in the rear of the building, but now they're seeing that the building needs to be more mixed-use. In recent months, they've approached the City University of New York to see if it might be interested in a small campus in the back of the building as part of a land swap plan with the Tribeca-based Borough of Manhattan Community College, but CUNY officials did not bite.

Apartment buildings throughout the city are reviewing their heating systems as they consider how to comply with new regulations issued by the Bloomberg administration in April. The new rules require that around 10,000 buildings using cheap, but "dirty," No. 6 heating oil switch to No. 4 heating oil by 2014. Because the rules also state that buildings will either need to begin using No 2. heating oil or natural gas by 2030, some landlords are considering making the larger switch earlier in order to save money on multiple conversions. While the conversion process is expensive, natural gas costs about 30 percent less than fuel oil.

Two non-profit organizations filed a lawsuit today on behalf of residents of the St. Nicholas Houses in Central Harlem to prevent the construction of the Harlem Children's Zone in the public housing complex. More than 100 residents joined the Urban Justice Center and the New York Environmental Law and Justice Project in filing the suit against the New York City Housing Authority, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Harlem Children's Zone.

New York Buildings sold

Developer Francis Greenburger's Time Equities is stopping speculation that a revival of its planned, Helmut Jahn-designed 50 West Street tower is imminent. Yesterday, the developer was reported to have paid $1.5 million to obtain new permits for its $600 million, 65-story hotel and condominium project, which has been shelved since 2008, Time Equities did obtain new permits at the site, but only because it changed the contractor of record to Skanska after its previous contractor, HRH, decided to pursue a Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation in April, the company said.

The family of former Gov. Eliot Spitzer has sold a medial office condominium at 345 East 37th Street for $31 million. The 81,000-square-foot space was purchased by medical property investment firm ProMed, which plans to renovate. The 57-story building, also known as the Corinthian, has upwards of 860 residential condos in addition to the medical offices. Last year, the Spitzer family sold off the building's 186-space parking garage to Alliance Parking owner Gregg Reuben for $10.2 million.

A mixed-use residential and retail building at 220 Park Avenue South has been sold for $20 million, and the new owners are seeing condominiums in its future,. The 33,638-square-foot building, whose price works out to $595 per square foot, currently houses 37 rental units and the sushi restaurant Haru. The buyers, father-and-son-team Bijan and Danny Nassi, of BDN NY Management.

Queens-based Vantage Properties has closed on its acquisition of six multi-family properties that comprise AIG's Central New Jersey multi-family portfolio, for $241.5 million. Investment firm Angelo, Gordon & Co. acted as an equity partner in the transaction, which involved 2,200 units in Plainsboro, Neptune, Long Branch, Matawan and South River.

The five-story Lower Manhattan commercial building at 12 Warren Street has sold from one Spanish investment group to another for $26.16 million. The 23,000-square-foot office and retail building, which is between Church Street and Broadway, was sold by Renta Corporacion to Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria.

Developer Andrew Bradfield's luck is continuing with 123 Third Avenue, a luxury condominium at the southeast corner of East 14th Street and Union Square. The 2,928-square-foot retail condominium at the base of the 19-story Orange Management building just sold for $11.05 million to Related Companies and Lloyd Goldman's BLDG Management, according to public records. The condo, which features 126 feet of wraparound frontage, is currently fully occupied by Capital One Bank.

A partnership of Tribeca Associates and Starwood Capital has closed on the $67.4 million purchase of the former Donnell Library at 18-30 West 53rd Street. The purchase marks the latest step in a long process to develop the building into a new 120-room, five-star hotel with a new space for the library, a project that would cost around $400 million.
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