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October 2011

October 2011 » Market Analysis » NY New Developments

October 2011 New York New Developments


New Developments

Time Warner is evaluating its plan to possibly move out of the Time Warner Center and consolidate its operations at new headquarters elsewhere to save costs. Time Warner moved to Columbus Circle in 2004, where it had partnered with Related Companies to build the building that is its company headquarters now. Many of its leases, including ones for more than 2 million square feet of space in Midtown, will expire as soon as 2017 and 2018. Since not many buildings could hold all of Time Warner's 6,000 employees in the city, possible alternative options would be Hudson Yards, Related Companies' $15 billion development or Brookfield Office Properties' development site on Ninth Avenue and 33rd Street. Time Warner is also looking at the World Financial Center and the World Trade Center.

NEW YORK CITY-The General Services Administration has signed a preliminary agreement for the lease of 300,000 square feet at One World Trade Center. , the amount of space in the deal is significantly less than what was previously speculated. In 2006, the Port Authority entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the agency "for its occupancy of approximately 645,000 rentable square feet.

Demand for luxury condominiums in Manhattan has been driving an improved rate in closed sales in the third quarter. There have so far been 150 recorded closed sales at $4 million or more. Sales of expensive co-ops were also strong during the quarter.

The developers of the Apthorp condominium, told state regulators that the potential loan sale would have no impact on them or the property, and that it was "not in default" of the mortgage, but there was a possibility that Anglo Irish "may sell the loan, however this would have no effect on the sponsor or the building." That disclosure stands in stark contrast to the language used by the developers in Sept. 12 suit against Anglo Irish, where they warned that the sale would violate a 2010 loan restructuring deal and would potentially harm the conversion.

Mr. Blau said the firm had seen a surge in interest in the Hudson Yards in the past six months, and there are now nine companies actively looking at relocating into offices at Hudson Yards, and they are all looking at leases over a million square feet. "The response has been, we’ve got X, Y, Z company, they are across three, four, five buildings in New York City, they’ve got a million or two million square feet, they’re divisions are separate," Mr. Blau said. "They look at Hudson Yards, they say, ‘My lease is due to expire. I do have to make some decisions. I could consolidate, combine my five buildings into one, bring all of my divisions together, have state of the art new buildings, green, high-tech, and I could probably take 80 percent of the square footage I have today and wind up paying as much or less than I am today."

Even if the company should manage to find a tenant or three, it does not necessarily mean things are improving citywide. "If you look at these potential transactions, they are mostly the result of consolidations not expansions," Mr. Blau said. "They are looking to move from a B-Class building to an A-Class building, and decreasing square-footage. While that might be good for us individually, because of the asset we own, I doesn’t speak well for the economy. Until we can create jobs, we will not see a strong recovery."

Joseph Moinian, is ready to dust off his plans for a 1 million-square-foot rental tower at 605 West 42nd Street, a 61-story high-rise planned by the company for the northwestern corner of 11th Avenue. "We have approved plans and a building permit. We waited three to four-and-a-half years on the stalled site program," Moinian said of a Bloomberg initiative that allows developers to renew active work permits for up to four years in return for following an in-depth site safety maintenance plan and keeping the site clean.

Peter Poon Architects filed plans this month for a 36-story hotel at 136 West 42nd Street that includes 15,000 square feet of retail space. The 282-room hotel is being developed by hotel owner and manager Highgate Holdings and Chicago-based private equity firm Walton Street Capital, along with investors Crown Acquisitions and Ashkenazy Acquisition. The new building plans are under review, the city's Department of Buildings. The 404-foot-building will have about 135,000 square feet of hotel space, the filing show.

There's a scarcity of new residential development in Manhattan. By the end of 2011 just 1,111 new units will open in Manhattan south of Harlem. That's down from 1,767 last year, and 8,552 in 2007. That's good news for developers -- such as Extell Development, Related Companies and the Toll Brothers who are delivering One57, MiMA and the Touraine, respectively, to the market -- who recognize the scarcity of supply and are raising prices and foregoing concessions. In fact, some developers are even refusing to negotiate with buyers on price.

Bank of America is getting slapped with another lawsuit by Dallas County, that if successful could be a harbinger for many similar suits to come. Bank of America -- the largest in America -- is selling off $880 million of U.S. real estate assets to a group of investors comprised of Square Mile Capital Management, Invesco and Canyon Capital Realty Advisors. The lawsuit names BofA and MERS, an electronic system for processing mortgages that acts as the lender's nominee and becomes the mortgagee, provided that the loan was originated by one of the financial institutions that owns MERS. Those include Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, the Mortgage Bankers Association, American Land Title Association, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

The New York City Housing Authority is considering renting out space on its buildings for advertising as it contends with financial problems. The Authority is looking for a consultant who could advise it on selling advertising space in the 334 developments it owns that are home to 400,000 New Yorkers.

The Architecture Billings Index, a leading economic indicator of nationwide construction activity, took an unexpected upturn in August after a period of weakness. The index reflects the approximate nine- to 12-month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The August ABI score was 51.4, following a low score of 45.1 in July, AIA said, a sign of an increased demand for design services. The New Projects Inquiry Index was 56.9, up from a reading of 53.7 the previous month. "Based on the poor economic conditions over the last several months, this turnaround is a surprise.

After a five-month effort, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey has found a way to sell bonds financing the World Trade Center construction while appeasing existing Port Authority bondholders. Without an agreement, Silverstein Properties would not have enough funding to complete construction on the 72-story 4 World Trade Center. Port Authority had wanted to issue World Trade Center bonds. To ensure low interest rates it had intended to make the debt obligations on those bonds a priority over the general obligation bonds the agency had previously sold.

The Department of Education has agreed to decrease the capacity of a proposed school in Chelsea to 730 students from 850, and will cap the size of the building at eight stories, or 116 feet, in response to complaints from residents in the nearby Victoria. Initially, eight stories had been the minimum height of the proposed building at 10 East 15th Street.
The number of newly scheduled residential New York City foreclosure auctions was down 70 percent in August compared to the same month in 2010, and 7 percent from July 2011. Borough by borough, Queens and Staten Island saw the largest drop. Compared to August 2010, foreclosure auctions in those areas were down more than 80 percent. Newly scheduled foreclosure auctions also fell 40 percent in Brooklyn and 13 percent in Manhattan while Bronx foreclosures remained consistent.

New York's rapidly expanding inventory of hotel rooms is continuing to grow, , making developers increasingly dependent on the tourist trade. In the last decade, the number of hotel rooms in Manhattan has increased by more than 27 percent, to 78,347 in 2011 from 61,464 in 2000,.with more than 3,100 new rooms in construction in Manhattan alone, including Extell Development's Hyatt on West 57th Street and the Hyatt Times Square, and plans for many others. Plus more hotels that are planned but not yet out of the ground. This increase in hotel room numbers occurred even though many hotel rooms were either converted to residential or demolished. As Average Daily Room Rates and occupy levels increased so to did average key prices from just over $300,000 per room to $500,000 this year. That compares with a decade-high $600,000 per room in 2006.


The Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp. today has asked developers for proposals to build a hotel and conference center on the site of one of Yankee Stadium's parking garages. The site is at River Avenue and 153rd Street, bordering the park where the old Yankee Stadium stood. The plan would involve condominiums, shops and a high-end penthouse restaurant.]

805 Columbus Avenue is now open and available for lease. The 15-story tower with 63 apartments is one of the five rental buildings that make up the Columbus Square development. The other towers are at 795 Columbus Avenue, 808 Columbus Avenue, 801 Amsterdam Avenue and 775 Columbus Avenue, with 710 rental units in total. The development also includes 500,000 square feet of retail and community space.

Pearson, a London-based media and learning company, has signed a 270,000-square-foot lease at 330 Hudson Street in Hudson Square, as part of its plan to relocate and expand its presence in New York City. Pearson signed the lease with Beacon Capital Partners, which earlier this year acquired a 99-year land lease on the property from Trinity Church.

Though two dozen construction unions' contracts were renewed this summer with revised terms. The biggest changes are yet to come. Operating engineers, painters and steamfitters, among other unions, agreed to unprecedented concessions amidst the faltering economy, helping to ensure that owners will continue to call upon them for construction work. But Real Estate Board of New York members and others are upset that wages for carpenters and concrete workers were cut 20 percent only for residential and hotel projects of up to 16 and 20 stories, respectively.

The Shops at Columbus Circle have been a resounding success, and now Related Companies is revamping the mall's tenants in hopes of boosting profits, Wary of a mall in Manhattan, some high-priced retailers shunned the mall when it launched seven years ago. But now that it has proven successful, Related is pushing some lower-revenue tenants to leave before their 10-year leases expire, in the interest of finding luxury -- and higher-paying -- tenants. Over the next 18 months about a dozen new, mostly high-fashion stores, will come to the mall]

Tiffany & Co. will be opening its third New York store in Soho next year. The plan is for the 7,000-square-foot store to open in September 2012. Tiffany picked the location because of its popularity with tourists. The new store combines two locations -- 97 Greene Street and 106 Wooster Street. The new store will be larger than the average of Tiffany's planned new stores, of about 3,500 to 4,000 square feet.

AAA doesn't want bridge and tunnel fare hikes to fund the World Trade Center development. The agency is pleading with the U.S. Department of Transportation to block the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey's plans to increase toll fees by up to 50 percent on the grounds that they violate a 1987 federal law requiring bridge tolls to be "just and reasonable." But the agency wants to block the costly hikes because it feels transportation revenue should be used to improve transportation.

New York University will be asking the city to designate as parkland the green spaces at the edge of the Washington Square Superblocks, strips along LaGuardia Place and Mercer Street in Greenwich Village, east and west of the Washington Square Village. NYU emphasizes that its revised proposals will allow the university to build almost entirely on its existing footprint in the neighborhood with no up-zoning and no displacement of tenants. The university's ambitious city-wide expansion plan slated for completion in 2031 has prompted much community opposition particularly in Greenwich Village.]


Bruce Ratner, chairman and CEO of Forest City Ratner, said that if the economy tanks again, and experiences a double dip the city would not come out as cleanly as it did the first time around. The widespread layoffs being announced by banks combined with existing budget woes would strain the city. However, because the city's economy is more diversified than it was even five years ago, he still believes it would fare better than most other markets.

The Rudin family's $800 million redevelopment of the St. Vincent's Hospital site is closer to a reality., Rudin Management obtained $525 million in construction financing and can begin construction once the government approval process, already underway, is complete.. Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of New York Mellon and M&T Bank contributed to the loan. But that last hurdle, government approval, could be the highest.

Aby Rosen and Michael Fuchs, partners at RFR Holdings, have yet to find a buyer for their 49 percent stake in the Seagram Building due to the high asking price. The pair has looked to sell its stake since May for $700 million, which amounts to roughly $1,800 per square foot. The record price for an office building was set at 450 Park Avenue in 2007, at $1,585 per square foot. Though Seagram, located at 375 Park Avenue near 53rd Street, is coveted for its location, its architectural design and its bevvy of elite investment firms paying high rents, Industry sources who say the price would need to be lowered to around $1,200 to $1,500 per square foot, in order for the stake to sell.

Frolic!, a rock 'n' roll-inspired play space and enrichment center for children, has signed a 10-year lease for 5,000 square feet of retail space at Brooklyn development the Edge, Douglaston Development announced today. Optimal Spaces represented Frolic . "As Williamsburg mothers and homeowners, we've seen first hand the growing need for a spacious and enjoyable destination for the entire family" said Frolic! co-founder Carey Balogh, "and the Edge was an obvious choice for us." The space, in the 565-unit condominium at 34 North 7th Street will feature an open 1,500-square-foot indoor playground and over 1,000 square feet of classroom space.

Manhattan's largest state court foreclosure auction of the year in Murray Hill to sell the temporary-housing tower at 47 East 34th Street where the California real estate investment firm CIM Group owns the defaulted note with a $93.2 million judgment. Project developer Esplanade Capital, whose principals are David Scharf and Jay Eisenstadt, lost control of the 36-story building with 110 units this May. CIM Group bought the loan from lender iStar Financial May 13 following a final court judgment against Esplanade.

Shopping mall landlord and owner of the South Street Seaport, General Growth Properties refinanced its mortgage on the Staten Island Mall. It replaced a $273 million, 6.06 percent loan that was scheduled to mature in October 2015 with a new, 12-year fixed-rate loan for the same amount at a 4.77 percent rate. The transaction alleviates $125 million of corporate recourse connected to the previous mortgage.

Developer Edward Minskoff is preparing to break ground at 51 Astor Place, a 400,000-square-foot office tower between Third and Fourth avenues and 8th and 9th streets. Edward J. Minskoff Equities, will begin demolition of the building currently sitting on the site by the end of this year . With other developers avoiding risks as the economy continues to fluctuate, Minskoff is betting that 51 Astor will attract tenants once built, saying it will be superior to Manhattan's comparatively shabby office stock. "It's a state of the art building that's going to be more technologically advanced than 98 percent of other buildings today," Minskoff said. "Companies that want to operate their businesses efficiently and effectively realize now that they need great space to do it."

Empire State Development Corporation and Forest City Ratner Companies have served notice that they intend to fight a July court decision ordering further environmental review of the Atlantic Yards project, Brooklyn Speaks. In July, a Supreme Court judge ruled that the project was subject to another environmental review, as the construction timeline for the second phase of the project was extended to 25 years. The filing of the appeal by FCRC and ESDC delays ESDC's obligation to comply with the court order.]

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission has unanimously approved the designation of the Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District,. "The cluster of tall office buildings that form the district had a central role in Brooklyn's development and illustrate an important chapter of New York City's history," said Commission Chairman Robert Tierney. "These skyscrapers of their day gave Brooklyn not only a commercial heart, but also a new skyline." The creation of the district had been in the works for at least five years before it was first presented at a Landmarks hearing in October 2010. Final approval awaits approval by the City Planning Commission followed by the City Council, which must vote on the measure in the next 120 days.

The city would fund a park esplanade from 38th to 60th streets through a deal with the United Nations. Under the terms of the deal, the U.N. will purchase the western portion of Robert Moses Playground and build a tower of offices there. Once that building is constructed, the U.N. will vacate two city-owned buildings across the street. Funds from the sale of those buildings and that of Robert Moses Playground between 41st and 42nd streets will finance the extension of the waterfront. For the plans to proceed, the city and the state must finalize the details of their agreement by Oct. 10 with public involvement.

Developer Apthorp Associated LLC, sponsor at the Apthorp, is suing Anglo Irish Bank over the sale of a loan tied to the 103-year old Upper West Side landmarked building. Private equity firms Lone Star, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase triumphed in a battle for Anglo Irish's $9.5 billion portfolio of U.S. commercial real estate loans last month. Lone Star took pools of non-performing and sub-performing loans worth around $5 billion, including the Apthorp mortgage. Anglo Irish, which is selling a $9.7 billion portfolio of U.S. real estate loans, is required to maintain at least a 51 percent interest in the $385 million loan, Apthorp Associates LLC.

Development on the Midtown site of St. Vincent's hospital is expected to move forward next month, with the Chetrit Group planning to turn the property into apartments,. Since the site, at 415 West 51st Street, closed in the face of debt in 2007, it has accumulated numerous building violations.

New York judges are taking a stricter interpretation of the "good faith effort" banks are required to make under a 2009 state law passed to offer support to distressed homeowners. The law states that banks must try to negotiate with distressed homeowners so that they can modify the loans and keep their property. But those homeowners are increasingly complaining that they can't get modifications. Since November, 2009 judges have found at least seven cases where banks, including Wells Fargo, HSBC, Bank of America and Deutsche Bank, failed to act in good faith, and in one case the judge ordered the mortgage debt wiped out (although that was later reversed by an appeals court).

Related Companies is preparing its Upper East Side development site for the construction of a residential tower, and is closing down the park that currently occupies the land today. Related acquired the land at 205 East 92nd Street, between Second and Third avenues, along with a nearby parcel for $10 million in 1983 from the city. As part of the purchase, Related had to maintain the 92nd Street plot as a community playground until June 2008. The company filed plans for a 49-story residential tower with 49 affordable rental units, 127 market-rate rentals and 66 condominium units.

The New York State Supreme Court appellate division issued a decision stating that the city can proceed with the 2009 rezoning of the Brooklyn neighborhood of Sunset Park. The city rezoned a 128-block area in Sunset Park in 2009, putting 50-foot height limits on side streets, but allowing for taller residential projects on Fourth and Seventh avenues.

A New School Parson's dormitory in Greenwich Village will become a posh hotel. Hoteliers Richard Born and Sean MacPherson signed a lease for the eight-story building at 3 West 8th Street that had served as a dorm for the New School for the last 25 years.. They plan to renovate the building and plans to have a bar and restaurant on the ground floor. The 43,600-square-foot building was originally erected in 1900 as the Marlton House, it later became a haven for struggling Beat Generation writers including Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady.

Two new preschools will open in Manhattan next year, one in the Tribeca-Battery Park City area and the other near Lincoln Square, Schoolbook. Gabriella Rowe, the head of the Mandell School on the Upper West Side, plans to open the two schools. Rowe, a former investment banker, said she commissioned demographic studies showing that those neighborhoods saw above average population and housing in the past 10 year based on census records.

From 2000 to 2010, total occupied housing increased by 103 percent in the Battery Park City-Lower Manhattan area. The population of children under 5 in the area, which encompasses Manhattan Community District 1 (Battery Park City, Tribeca, the Financial District and the Civic Center) increased 42 percent from 2000 to 2010, with 2,272 young children living there in 2010.

Many of the families in these neighborhoods are wealthy and work in finance, the study indicates. In the Tribeca zip code where one of the schools is planned, the estimated median home cost is $948,482 and the estimated median annual household income is $176,394. Sunny Varkey, founder of a chain of commercial private schools, is also considering opening two schools in 2012.

New York University's Furman Center of Real Estate and Urban Policy has compiled the first known comprehensive database of the city's affordable housing stock that links the units to the agencies that subsidize them. It is available on the Furman website. By highlighting the origin of affordable housing subsidies, across the city, state and federal agencies that contributed data, the database provides a clearer picture of when the funding expires and the units can be converted to market rate.

American Realty Capital Properties completed its initial public offering, selling 5.58 million shares at $12.50 per share, and began being traded on the Nasdaq Capital Market with the symbol "ARCP". The REIT is one of nine sponsored by American Realty Capital, which launched American Realty Capital New York Recovery REIT in December 2009 to raise $1.7 billion for income-producing Manhattan properties. In July 2010, that trust picked up its first Manhattan building, paying $32.7 million for a 65,100-square-foot office property at 306 East 61st Street in Lenox Hill. However, the REIT that went public yesterday is focused on single-tenant, freestanding, net-leased commercial real estate.

Capital One bank filed an early foreclosure notice for $18.6 million against 185 South 4th Street in Williamsburg. Developed by Brooklyn's Isaac Hager, the project was originally planned as a condominium, but went to market as rentals in 2009.

The new Hyatt Hotel Gary Barnett's Extell Development Company is building in Times Square will have 54 stories, 487 rooms and is expected to be completed in 2013. The hotel will rise 550 feet at 135 West 45th Street will feature a rooftop terrace and sky lounge. Barnett sold the site to HHS TS REIT LLC in a deal that closed in July, but remained the developer of the hotel. Barnett had originally intended to build a 50-story condominium and hotel, according to plans presented to the community board in 2007.

The Pinnacle Group has reached a $2.5 million settlement with rent-regulated tenants who had claimed in a lawsuit that they were subject to harassment, unlawful rent increases and aggressive eviction attempts during the real estate boom. The Pinnacle Group, will pay $2.5 million to legal and tenant-rights groups to help current and former tenants make legal claims for damages. The Pinnacle Group, which owns about 15,000 apartment units citywide, must now set up a help line and in the future must carefully notify tenants of plans to increase rents or start evictions.

Construction is progressing rather quickly at the new Steiner Studios sound stages for the Brooklyn Navy Yard, slated to be complete next spring. The film and TV studio will add 11 sound stages and 280,000 square feet at Building 1, at 25 Washington Avenue, to its current 310,000-square-foot space at 15 Washington Avenue that includes five sound stages. Within the next 10 to12 years, Steiner expects to have about 6,000 people working at the studio.

Billionaire George Soros' Open Society Foundations will lease M1 Real Estate's Argonaut Building at 57th Street and Broadway as part of its rapid expansion plans. The charitable foundation, which offers justice and education programs in more than 70 countries, agreed to a 30-year lease of 152,000 square feet, or the entire office space in the building.

Brookfield Office Properties intends to use a bridge-building technology to cover a 65-foot railroad trench at the site of its new Manhattan West development,. Construction at the site requires covering tracks that shuttle about 100,000 people each weekday into and out of Pennsylvania Station. The technology has never previously been used with a building project, and would save two years of labor and cut costs for a platform in half to about $300 million,]

New York-based real estate investment trust Gramercy Capital's agreed o settle $549.7 million in mortgage debt by giving control of many of its buildings over to lenders,. Around 317 commercial properties were surrendered yesterday to lender KBS Debt Holdings in an initial transfer, "What remains of Gramercy may be an attractive acquisition target both for buyers of discounted financial assets and someone looking to acquire a public real estate platform,"

A state appeals court panel today backed jilted joint-venture partner Joseph Tabak in his effort to buy a $112.4 million stake in the mostly underperforming Ring portfolio of 14 office properties concentrated in Midtown South. The interim ruling, handed down this morning, does not provide a final victory for Tabak in his struggle to gain an equity stake, but it gives him some breathing room while a lawsuit filed in May winds through the courts. [more] Tags: 212 fifth avenue 251 park avenue south eli tabak frank rin

The AFL-CIO Housing Investment trust is investing $134 million into a Chelsea affordable housing complex just south of Penn Station to initial capital improvements for the 2,820 housing units in the Penn South co-op at 321 Eighth Avenue near 26th Street. The improvements will necessitate about 610 union construction jobs, and the investment trust's COO,Ted Chandler, admitted that was a major motivation for the investment, in addition to its support of affordable housing.

The Times Square bow tie, at Broadway between West 42nd Street and West 47th Street, has made it onto a list of the world's most expensive shopping area for the first time, , with rents averaging $1,250 a square foot. Rents on East 57th Street between Fifth and Madison avenues have also been increasing rapidly, the findings show, rising 20 percent to $1,100 a square foot year-over-year. Fifth Avenue, as usual, ranked as the most expensive shopping street in the world for the 10th year in a row, averaging $2,100 a square foot 20 percent jump from a year earlier.
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