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December 2011

December 2011 » Market Analysis » NY New Developments

December 2011 New York New Developments

New Developments

Local 32BJ, the union representing more than 22,000 commercial building workers in New York City, voted to authorize their bargaining committee to call a strike if necessary. The union has been in contract talks with the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations, since November 15th. The union opposes the landlords' proposal to establish a different wage and benefit structure for new hires, which they claim will create a two-tier system designed to push out workers with seniority. If negotiations fail by 12:01 am on Jan. 1, 2012, the union could strike
The Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, which represents about 25,000 New York City area workers in over 1,000 commercial buildings, and whose city commercial contract ends Dec. 31, . The union negotiated an impressive four-year contract at the end of 2007, providing for a 4.8 percent yearly average salary bump in wages and benefits for workers. At the end of this year, the weekly salary for a Class A building "handyperson" will be $990.92 plus benefits, or $80,960 per year. Office cleaners, porters and elevator operators will earn $905.02 per week, or $76,540 a year with benefits.

TF Cornerstone closed on a $265 million construction loan for an 820-unit Queens rental tower. The tower is part of the company's East Coast project, which is aiming to transform a former industrial area in Long Island City into a hub of new development with seven buildings and over 3,000 new apartments.. The $265 million credit from Wells Fargo, M&T Bank, Bank of America and Capital One Financial.

The sweetheart deal that Apple got to open a store in Grand Central Terminal has caught the attention of State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, , and he's launched an investigation into whether the Metropolitan Transportation Authority was overly generous with the lease terms. Apple is paying less rent than most other tenants, including neighbors on the balcony, and is the only of the 100 retailers in the terminal that doesn't have to share its revenue with the agency

The cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority presented Apple with an unusually favorable deal to take 23,000 square feet of space in the Grand Central Terminal. Not only is Apple paying just $60-per-square-foot, while other tenants, such as Shake Shack, pay upwards of $200 per square foot, but Apple is also under no obligation to kickback a percentage of its sales to the MTA, as all other Grand Central tenants do.

A developer has obtained work permits to construct a seven-story Comfort Inn for downtown Jamaica. The hotel is set to rise on a 6,300-square-foot lot at 89-34 162nd Street that developer Rajendra Patel purchased for $2.1 million in 2007. It is expected to cost between $7 million and $8 million and contain 72 rooms. The planned structure complies with zoning regulations for the plot so Patel didn't need community board approval.

Garan Incorporated, an apparel company, signed a lease for 50,000-square-foot, 10-year lease for offices at 200 Madison Avenue, , relocating from the Empire State Building. Garan is renting the fourth floor for rents that average around the mid-$40s per square foot.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the number of universities vying to develop a new graduate engineering school campus somewhere in the five boroughs -- with the help of $100 million capital contribution from the city for construction grants and land -- has been narrowed to four

A vital bridge loan from Canyon Capital Realty Advisors for the stalled condominium development at 1355 First Avenue aka the Charles has been finalized. The $25.6 million senior loan for developer Bluerock will enable the $170 million Upper East Side project to "refinance existing debt and to resume pre-development activities. Bluerock will retain development firm Victor Homes to get things going at the site where construction should begin in the next 12 months

The tenant association for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village voted yesterday to partner with Brookfield Asset Management to explore buying the properties. The association is aiming to convert the complexes, with 11,232 apartments, into an affordable condominium or cooperative in a plan that could see residents choose to buy their apartments or remain as rent-regulated tenants. The tenants are hoping that the lenders who control the property, who are represented by CW Capital, will sell it to them rather than someone who may wish to displace the properties' long-term residents.

The New York City Council granted final approval for the redevelopment of the six-acre Admirals Row site at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The site will be transferred from the federal government to the City of New York, and will then become part of Brooklyn Navy Yard. Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, which manages the 300-acre industrial park on behalf of the City, will oversee redevelopment of the site, creating a 74,000-square-foot supermarket and79,000 square-feet of additional retail space, as well as 127,000 square feet of industrial space.

The elementary school planned for the base of the Foundling Hospital in the Flatiron District released renderings of the forthcoming facility, which is set to include a dance studio, a rooftop playground and a two-story library. The school will take the bottom six floors of the Foundling Hospital at 590 Sixth Avenue near 17th Street, and serve 518 pre-school through fifth grade students under the name P.S. 340. It will have a separate entrance from the hospital offices set above it, and is expected to finally open in Sept. 2014

Malkin Holdings, operator of the Empire State Building, said it "embarked on a course of action" to become a real estate investment trust. Documents could be filed with the SEC to make the 2.9 million-square-foot tower a publicly traded entity as soon as February.. The landmarked tower, which has undergone a $550 million capital improvements program in recent years, would present a lucrative opportunity for investors, as prices for trophy towers rise as the recession fades.

The Related Companies has secured a $200 million construction loan for a 30-story apartment house on a lot on West 30th Street and 10th Avenue it's developing with partner Abington Properties. The loan is slated to close in early 2012. The 400-unit property, located close to Related's Hudson Yards project, will be constructed under New York State's 80/20 program.The building will likely be finished before the Coach building at Hudson Yards opens in 2015.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg stood outside the Z NYC Hotel in Long Island City and touted the city's thriving hotel industry -- especially outside Manhattan. While most of the hospitality development in outer boroughs is concentrated in neighborhoods closest to Manhattan, two nontraditional concept hotels are being developed for 2012 openings in Borough Park and Sunset Park neighborhoods of Brooklyn, well south of Manhattan Island.

M. Slavin & Sons, the 100-year old commercial fish supplier, is partnering with a Connecticut real estate firm to develop an estimated $15 million mixed-use project on South Street in Lower Manhattan. Members of the Slavin family sold their three, four-story buildings at 104-106 South Street, at the corner of Beekman Street, to South Street Waterfront LLC, a joint venture partnership between Pilot Real Estate Group based in Greenwich, Conn., the majority partner, and the Slavin family.

Youngwoo & Associates' plan to transform Pier 57, a 900-foot Hudson River pier near the Meatpacking District, into a retail and recreation complex is entering the city's land use approval process. The plan, has been received more favorably by the city than previous proposals, includes almost 300,000 square feet of markets, restaurants and other commercial space. In order to proceed, Youngwoo must also sign enough commercial leases to put together a private financing package for the project.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's failed 2012 Olympic bid paved the way for the development of Manhattan's Far West Side, which has given birth to 15 residential towers and 12 hotels since 2005, when the International Olympic Committee selected London to host the games. The city rezoned and adjusted land use laws for the area to facilitate development for the Olympics and began planning the $2 billion extension of the 7 subway line to 34th Street and 11th Avenue. In addition to the Related Companies' Hudson Yards site, Avalon Bay is planning a 30-story rental development at 11th Avenue and 29th Street, and the Gotham Organization broke ground on a $520 million residential complex 15 blocks to the north. New parks and a boulevard between 10th and 11th avenues.

Hidrock Realty has secured $66 million in construction loans for its two Fashion District hotel projects -- at 960 Sixth Avenue and 25 West 37th Street - Hidrock purchased the note for 960 Sixth Avenue, also called the Atlantic Bank building, from Societe Generale for $40 million in October 2009, according to published reports. The company foreclosed on the 35th Street office building, which by then had only one tenant, in August 2010. The developer at 25 west 37th Street now plans a Courtyard Marriott, for which it just closed on $36 million in construction financing from BBVA Compass. The hotel, across the street from Macy's Herald Square,. will have 167 rooms, a rooftop bar and retail, and should be completed by October 2012. The total cost of the conversion will be around $30 million.

Federal prosecutors agreed to drop a multi-count indictment against real estate developer Aaron Malinsky, who was charged In March this year with paying about a half-million dollars in bribes to state Sen. Carl Kruger. Malinsky, founder of Manhattan-based PA Associates, was charged in March with bribing Kruger in connection with several real estate projects linked to his firm, including Canarsie Plaza, a big-box retail project on Avenue D in Brooklyn. Malinsky and lobbyist Richard Lipsky were later accused in an 11-count indictment of committing mail and wire fraud, allegedly funneling hundreds of thousands in bribes to Kruger through Michael Turano, a gynecologist who was a companion of Kruger's. Lipsky and Turano were charged in connection with the case. Under a so-called deferred prosecution agreement, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara will officially dismiss the case against Malinsky if he stays out of trouble for six months.

Gary Barnett has finally won in his nine-year effort to buy two loft buildings located at 734 Broadway and 736 Broadway in Noho for $11 million. For the past six years, Extell's acquisition of the buildings has been stalled by infighting between the owners. Brothers Aaron, Ruben and Mordechai Muschel, who were willed the property by their father William Muschel, had been battling over the modest portfolio since their fathers' death in 2001.Barnett signed a $13 million contract to buy the two loft buildings in 2002.

Now that Bruce Ratner has decided to go the prefabricated route with the majority of his Atlantic Yards development site, union laborers are trying to save whatever jobs they can and have agreed to take massive pay cuts in order to guarantee union jobs for the massive construction complex.

Developer Bruce Ratner unveiled the design for what may be the world's tallest prefabricated steel structure, a 32-story residential building slated for Atlantic Yards. Ratner has invested two years in the study of modular construction, a technique which is untested at this height. If he goes ahead with the plans, he could cut construction costs by as much as 25 percent. Construction is slated to begin on the building in early 2012. The use of modular technology would mean 60 percent of the construction would take place in a factory, where approximately 1,000 steel-frame modules would be made. The modules would then be transported to the site, where they'd be fitted together

The New York State Court of Appeals ruled that Attorney General Eric Schneiderman could pursue a lawsuit that accuses First American Corp. and its former eAppraiseIT unit of colluding with Washington Mutual to inflate home values. The ruling, ensures that federal law does not preclude individual states from pursuing claims of fraud against real estate appraisers. In 2007, then-New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo filed the suit against the three parties, alleging they violated laws that attempt to ensure independent real estate appraisals.

Starwood Capital is raising money for a new investment fund, and may also sell a key portfolio as the government discourages the fund from leveraging its assets. We want to leverage the portfolio and the government doesn't want us to. We're going to have to sell it because it's stupid to own it unleveraged. Our leverage levels are less than 30 percent. It's crazy." Starwood previously raised $2.8 billion through two funds in 2010 -- the Starwood Global Opportunity Fund VIII, which raised more than $1.8 billion, and the Starwood Capital Global Hospitality Fund II, which raised $965 million.

Rockrose Development is just now starting construction on its first project without brothers Tom and Fred Elghanayan further inland in the Court Square area of Long Island City. The project is a 42-story, 709-unit rental building called Linc LIC at 43-10 Crescent Street that's expected to be complete in 2013. Rents will be $38 per square foot, about 25 percent below what a comparable Manhattan development would command and similar to other new rental developments in the area.

Congress restored the higher Federal Housing Administration mortgage loan limits, after the limit was lowered to pre-recession levels Oct. 1. The Senate and House each voted to pass the bill, even though Republicans have insisted that the government reduce its role in the housing market. Ceding to those wishes, the higher limits only apply to FHA-backed loans, and not those originated by federally owned Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. The FHA will once again allow buyers in expensive markets to take out loans of up to $729,750, while only requiring a down payment of 3.5 percent

Sen. Charles Schumer has rescued two Manhattan infrastructure projects from massive budget cuts proposed by the House of Representatives. If the cuts proposed had gone ahead, they would have eliminated nearly 50 percent of funding for the East Side Access project, an initiative to dramatically expand the underground rail tunnels at Grand Central Terminal, Schumer's office said, and cut $197 million in funding for the Second Avenue Subway. "While the cuts passed in the House put the project on life support.

The first phase of the Hunter's Point South project on the Long Island City waterfront will be comprised of 950 units, and half of them will be affordable. The city, which signed on Related Companies in February to partner with Phipps houses and Monadnock Construction to build the 5,000-unit complex, had initially intended just 75 percent of the first phase apartments to be set-aside for middle- and lower-income families.

Sam Zell's Equity Residential has emerged as the leading bidder to buy 53 percent of rival Archstone, offering more than $2.5 billion in cash, for the stake currently owned by Bank of America and Barclays. The rest of the company, a real estate investment trust, is owned by the bankruptcy estate of Lehman Brothers Holdings. The proposed sale to Equity Residential would value Archstone at about $16 billion. If sold as a whole company, Archstone currently could be worth as much as $18 billion. Real estate giants the Blackstone Group, Brookfield Asset Management, Equity Residential and AvalonBay Communities have all submitted bids for Archstone in recent months.

City Council member Gail Brewer has been trying to implement zoning laws that would restrict larger stores from moving into the the Upper West Side. She said the trend is compromising retail variety for residents of the area. Brewer has been meeting with the Department of City Planning to devise legislation that works towards that goal, including laws that set a minimum number of stores per block and maximum amount of ground-floor frontage along key Upper West Side corridors.

The city has issued a request for proposals for a new small business incubator space in Harlem. The incubator, to be located on or near 125th Street, would provide a well-managed, fully-equipped space that can be rented for affordable rates on a flexible full-time or part-time basis, EDC said. "We've seen in neighborhoods across the city that the public-private partnership model for operating business incubators can have a dramatic impact on local communities and the businesses that participate in the incubators,”.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is planning to significantly expand on a recent bid by the Department of City Planning to rezone Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn. Markowitz wants to encourage retail development along a seven-mile stretch of Fourth Avenue from Atlantic Avenue in Boerum Hill to the Atlantic Ocean in Bay Ridge. City Planning's proposal was to start at Atlantic Avenue and continue 56 blocks south to 24th Street in South Slope. Both rezoning would ban new apartments and parking lots on the ground-floor of new construction projects, and demand that half of ground-floor space be committed to retail.

The Bloomberg administration will unveil a set of 20 new "green" zoning guidelines aimed at removing obstacles to sustainable building practices. This is the most comprehensive effort to sweep away impediments to green buildings in our zoning.

After a fire damaged much of its interior, the New Baptist Temple in Downtown Brooklyn is looking to partner with a real estate developer to add a residential and retail component to the church facilities. The church, built in 1897 at 360 Schermerhorn Street, wants to completely renovate its 40,000-square-foot structure and double the size of the building to leave room for rental or condominium units and retail or community space -- all while keeping the existing, historic facade.

Extell Development and Angelo, Gordon & Co. showed renderings of their Carlton House renovation, with the most significant changes appear in the retail space at the base of the building. The redesigned retail space, at 680 Madison Avenue, between 61st and 62nd streets, will have 32,000 square feet, with a first floor that has larger windows and doors than in the past and an asking price of $1,500 per square foot. The second floor, which has a slight majority of the total retail space, will have massive ceilings thanks to a combination of the current second and third floors and an asking price of $350 per square foot. That yields a blended rent of about $900 per foot,

Vornado Realty Trust has abandoned its plan to build a 40-story tower atop the Port Authority Bus Terminal after its Chinese investment partner chose to invest the $600 million earmarked for the tower in another Midtown property. Vornado had been in talks with Port Authority of New York & New Jersey to build the tower at 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue since 1999. As part of the agreement, the developer was also on the hook for a $400 million renovation of the bus terminal that would have brought 18 new gates to the bus hub.

Investcorp has purchased the mezzanine debt on the Paramount Hotel at 245 West 46th Street from San Francisco-based Fillmore Capital Partners. The debt includes two existing mezzanine loans with a principal balance of $40 million. Aby Rosen and Michael Fuchs' RFR Holding bought the Paramount Hotel for $275 million from Walton Street Capital and Highgate Holdings earlier this year.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the city will reach a record 90,000 hotel rooms by the end of the year, a 24 percent increase from five years ago. 2,500 hotel rooms have been added to the city's inventory this year, 30 percent of which come from the outer boroughs. Additionally, 7,000 more rooms are in the pipeline, with approximately 2,800 of those outside of Manhattan. Bloomberg said that more visitors are coming to the city to experience neighborhoods beyond the traditional tourism hot spots.

Midtown's Community Board 5 approved an air rights transfer that will allow a Moinian Group affiliate's new West Side hotel to rise higher. The Moinian Group conveyed its interests in the land at 237 West 54th Street, a Midtown lot for which Moinian has filed plans for a hotel, to a new anonymous joint venture last month. The new, controlling members of the venture have provided financing. The board voted in favor of allowing the joint venture to purchase 24,000 square feet of development rights from the Booth Theater on West 45th Street, making way for a 34-story, 400-room hotel on the site.

British clothing brand Ted Baker has leased 12,000 square feet of space at 595 Fifth Avenue, a five-story building on the Northeast corner of 48th Street. Ted Baker currently has two other locations in the city -- at 107 Grand Street and 32-34 Little West 12th Street.

Landmarks Preservation Commission Chairman Robert Tierney has anointed more historic districts than any other administration has, but is beginning to meet some resistance. Tierney has designated 27 such districts in his eight years, with a particular focus on the outer boroughs as previous chairs were accused of focusing too exclusively on Manhattan. But the development community and the property owners in those areas have criticized the LPC because the designations mean more expenses for them.

Ian Schrager will bring his first Public Hotel to New York at a Herald Square site being developed by Durst Fetner Residential. The plan calls for a 250-room hotel on the 16 lower floors of the 56-story residential building at 855 Sixth Avenue near 30th Street. Schrager is famous for pioneering the boutique hotel concept, but with the Public line, one of which recently opened in Chicago, the hotelier plans to build more value-oriented hotels.

Antiquated laws for housing types in the city are restricting development of the type of residencies needed most in the city, according to the Citizens Housing and Planning Council. The council hosted an exposition where architects presented ideas for new types of housing for lower-income New Yorkers. Developers and city officials were on hand and critiqued the proposals. Many of the designs were based on the concept of single-room-occupancy hotel. The current problem, according to the new housing advocates, is that even though most homes are designed with families in mind, just 17 percent of city housing units are occupied by parents raising children under the age of 25.

With the development of Gotham Center complex, the city had long hoped Queens Plaza would be the commercial compliment to Long Island City's residential boom, but, Queens Plaza is becoming a residential area, too. Between 2,000 and 3,000 new apartment units could hit the market in the area in the next three years, led by developers Rockrose Development, Meadow Properties and Heatherwood Communities. Heatherwood has purchased four residential development sites in the area, and the first of them is set to hit the market with 142 rental units in a little more than a year at 27th Street and 42nd Road.

The number of signed sales contracts for Manhattan condominiums and co-ops has declined every month since July, forecasting a drop in closed sales volume for the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012. The most widely publicized figures from recent Manhattan market reports indicate an increase in sales activity in the third quarter compared to the previous quarter.

Major residential landlord Vantage Properties is turning over most of its ownership position in nearly 80 heavily rent-regulated apartment buildings in Queens to joint venture partner Area Property Partners. Area Property will take control of the apartment buildings from Vantage by the end of December, and transfer management to two well-known firms. However Vantage would retain some ownership stake, but it was not clear what it would be. Manhattan-based Cooper Square Realty and Forest Hills-based Bronstein Properties, will manage the buildings once the change happens.

In its bid to gain community favor for its 300,000-square-foot addition to the Chelsea Market, Jamestown Properties plans to attend a community board meeting. Jamestown bought out its partners, Angelo, Gordon & Co., Belvedere Capital and Irwin Cohen, in the mixed-use building, for $225 million in February and immediately embarked on a campaign to expand the market. The glass addition to the brick structure, at 75 Ninth Avenue, would have hotel and office space. The addition is not expected to be approved without at least some resistance.

City officials are considering using tax dollars to renovate the rundown Forest Hills tennis center that hosted the U.S. Open from 1923 through 1977. City Council Finance Committee Chairman Domenic Recchia, from Brooklyn, backed a plan by the non-profit Stadium Arts Alliance that would use a public-private partnership to transform the crumbling stadium into a major venue that hosts tennis matches, concerts, art exhibits and even ice hockey.

Now on its fourth development attempt, the Delafield Estates in Riverdale could finally become what developers first envisioned for the 10.4-acre Bronx site back in 1980. The estates was donated to Columbia University in 1965 in hopes it would become a botanical gardens. But facing budget shortfalls a decade later, the university put it on the market and a buyer got approval for a gated community of 33 compact houses clustered together on about three of the acres, with the remaining seven left for shared woodland.

Hines Interests is undertaking another major project by reviving the stalled 56 Leonard Street condominium project in Tribeca. The Herzog & de Mueron-designed 57-story condo was first announced by developer Alexico Group a month before Lehman Brothers collapsed, and even sold four of its planned 145 units. But the recession took the plans for the building down with it, and the site currently has a foundation and little else.

Macy's leased 160,000 square feet at the Mall at Bay Plaza, a site under construction at the Bronx's Bay Plaza Shopping Center slated to open in 2014. Macy's will take up three floors at the development, by Prestige Porperties, connecting to an existing 150,000-square-foot JC Penney. Macy's currently has one store in Manhattan, two in Brooklyn, three in Queens and one in the Bronx's Parkchester area.

Occupy Wall Street protesters are arguing over the lack of space at Zuccotti Park in the Financial District, a two-thirds of an acre park surrounded by marble walls and police officers. The protesters, who began sleeping in tents a few months ago as the weather took a turn for the worse, are now seeking out structures that allow for a higher density of people, like military-style tents with bunk beds. It will create better walkways and emergency exits." Hundreds of people are sleeping every night in the park in about 200 traditional tents in total, but the area originally zoned for sleeping by the protestors' "Town Planning" committee, became inadequate as the number of protestors increased.

Gotham Organization broke ground on the largest new construction project in Manhattan, a $520 million development encompassing nearly the entire city block on Manhattan's Far West Side at 550 West 45th Street between 10th and 11th avenues. The residential portion of the project, which is slated to be completed in 2014, will create 1,238 new rental apartments with 600 of those units expected to be affordable to low-, moderate- and middle-income New Yorkers. "This is the latest sign that the Far West Side will soon be Manhattan's next great neighborhood," Deputy Mayor Robert Steel, who attended the groundbreaking ceremony, told the crowd.

The pace of New York City multi-family sales remained strong in September, with 41 transactions citywide, totaling $402 million. There was a 31 percent increase in the number of buildings sold in September compared with August, but a 9 percent dip in dollar volume. The number of buildings sold was almost double the number sold in September 2010, when 24 buildings worth a total of $204 million traded. "The steady activity through September suggests the multi-family market is poised for a strong finish through the end of the year.

The Brodsky Organization has obtained a $120 million construction loan to begin building a 19-story Upper East Side condominium in January. The developer bought the property from Hunter College, which previously used the land for its school for social work, for $65 million in 2008 and had been waiting to develop it ever since.

Three retailers have deals for space within the soon-to-be-renovated George Washington Bridge Bus Station, helping to ensure the $183 million project will be a success. The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey's partner in the plan, SJM Partners, has deals with discount retailer Marshalls, supermarket Fine Fare and a new gym chain called Blink Fitness. The trio plan to take about half of the 105,000 square feet of retail available when the renovation is complete in the summer of 2013. Construction is beginning this winter.

Harry Jeremias put his Chelsea office rehabilitation project at 216 West 18th Street into bankruptcy in order to transfer the 13-story building to a designee of Atlas Capital Group. Jeremias' Harch Group, through its development company 216 West 18 Owner, filed the so-called pre-packaged liquidating Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection plan in Manhattan, but the plan has not yet been approved by the judge. The court records show the development company owes $74.3 million in principal and interest on a first mortgage and $24.6 million in principal and interest on a mezzanine loan, for the Chelsea property recently appraised at just $62.3 million.

A steady stream of developers are trying to cash in on the influx of tech workers to Chelsea since Google moved its New York headquarters to 111 Eighth avenue last year, with many keen to build residential properties to house Google's employees. The number of condominium unit sales in Chelsea jumped to 121 in the third quarter, from 78 during the same period in 2012 and the neighborhood has more condo projects in the works than any other neighborhood in Manhattan. DDG Partners recently secured a $26 million construction loan and has broken ground on a 40-unit condo project at 345 West 14th Street and the Brodsky Organization will be launching sales at buildings it purchased from the General Theological Seminary which spans 20th to 21st streets, and Ninth and Tenth avenues, in early 2012.

The New York state appeals court ruled that tenants at Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village will be able to pursue millions in rent overcharges, tossing a move to dismiss the case by MetLife, the original landlord of the Manhattan complex. In 2007, Stuy Town residents filed a class action suit against Tishman and the previous landlord, Metropolitan Life, alleging they illegally deregulated apartments while receiving J-51 tax benefits, which are designed to help landlords renovate apartment buildings in return for keeping rents affordable. The decision means that thousands of current and former tenants will be able to pursue more than $215 million in excess rent that was paid to previous landlord Tishman Speyer or MetLife, which had sold the complex to Tishman.

If the city has its way, New Yorkers will be able to walk along the High Line from the Whitney Museum, take a few stops at Chelsea galleries, and continue to a Hudson Yards arts center called the Culture Shed. The arts center would be home to theater performances, traveling exhibitions and community events. The city hopes to have a clear plan for the center by next summer, including funding and a non-profit organization to lead it.

Trump Soho buyers are getting a 90 percent refund on their deposits after filing a suit against the Bayrock Group and the Sapir Organization alleging they misrepresented sales figures. A federal lawsuit filed by the buyers against the building's sponsors was settled and they will get 90 percent of the $3.16 million in deposits they combined to have put down on $16.914 million worth of apartments. The buyers claim to have been told as many as 60 percent of the units were sold, when at the time just 16 percent of the hotel-condo units in the building, at 246 Spring Street, were actually sold.

The New York State Office of Court Administration legally sells the names of everyone who is sued over eviction in housing court to private companies, which then compile the information and sell it to landlords looking to avoid renting to troublesome tenants, . The list does not include whether or not a tenant was evicted after the case was tried.

A proposal to erect a slim 14-story tower on a tiny site at 207 West 75th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue has been shot down by an Upper West Side community board. The proposal will now go before the city's Board of Standards & Appeals. The community's opposition to the 25-foot-wide development was almost unanimous. Nearby residents are concerned that the building would block their light, increase congestion in the neighborhood and affect property values in surrounding buildings.

Now that Coach is on the books, Hudson Yards' next office tenant could be Time Warner. The namesake of Related Companies' Columbus Circle complex has been looking to downsize from the 864,000-square-foot space it owns at the Time Warner Center, and other city office space, in an effort to cut costs. Related is considering offering the media giant an opportunity to swap its space for a smaller home in Hudson Yards.

Real estate investor Israel Weinberger purchased the nearly 40-year-old Lionel Hampton Houses in Harlem for $32.5 million from Rubin Schron's Cammeby's International Group. The former Mitchell-Lama apartment buildings, with a total of 355 units, are located at 2450 Frederick Douglass Boulevard between 131st and 132nd streets and 410 St. Nicholas Avenue, between 130th and 131st streets.

The Macy's in Herald Square is getting a four-year, $400 million renovation. The renovation will begin in the early spring and continue through the fall of 2015, and all the while, the store will remain open. The project includes adding 100,000 square feet of shopping space -- bringing the total selling footprint to 1.2 million square feet -- by re-purposing stock and office rooms and extending the mezzanine. The entire structure at 154 West 34th Street is about 2.2 million square feet. --

Beacon Capital may have to rethink the sale of the News Corp. building at 1211 Sixth Avenue, one of the largest Midtown Manhattan office towers to hit the market since the economy turned in 2008, after bids came in around 16 percent below the property's asking price. Beacon, which purchased the building in 2006 for $1.5 billion, put the 1.9 million-square-foot office tower up for sale in June for a reported $1.9 billion, but may instead look for an equity partner. The company wants to retain majority control in any partial sale. Some high-profile potential buyers were said to have dropped out of the bidding. SL Green Realty and Vornado Realty Trust made offers, but then decided against pursuing the deal.

Taconic Investment Partners and Square Mile Capital Management are set to begin construction at 837 Washington Street in the Meatpacking District, and transform an empty two-story meatpacking structure into a six-story glass building with retail and office space. The project will put four glass- and steel-covered stories atop the existing two levels, making for a 54,000-square-foot building with 27,000 square feet of retail on the first three floors.
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