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Wife of billionaire revealed as buyer of full-floor 432 Park pad

The buyer behind one of 2017’s priciest residential sales has been revealed as the wife of hedge fund billionaire Israel Englander. Operating through a trust, Caryl Englander paid $60.08 million to combine two penthouse units on the 91st floor of 432 Park Avenue, the Wall Street Journal reported. The apartments 91A and 91B were originally full-floor units asking $78 million, but the developers CIM Group and Macklowe Properties opted to split them in late 2015 […]

Source: realdeal


Coffee is for closers: How the city’s top office brokers made it

From their corner offices at addresses like 330 Madison Avenue and 200 Park Avenue, the city’s top office brokers work on the blockbuster deals that keep the Big Apple’s commercial towers humming. But they didn’t start out that way. “In the early ’80s, it really was ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ at Williams Real Estate,” Peter Riguardi, president of the tri-state region for JLL, reflected on his days at the brokerage, which – much like the famed […]

Source: realdeal


Martial Arts Academy Takes Space at Park & Tilford Building on UWS

Renzo Gracie Martial Arts Academy has taken space for a new facility on the lower level at the Park & Tilford Building on the Upper West Side, Commercial Observer has learned.

The company, which specializes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai, signed a deal for 5,000 square feet at 246 Columbus Avenue between West 71st and West 72nd Streets. The lease is for seven years and the asking rent was $55 per square foot, according to Rafe Evans of Walker Malloy & Company, who represented the property owner 100 West 72nd Street Associates, LLC in the deal.

Renzo Gracie’s new space had been storage for a basement nightclub for decades and “required extensive fit-up to make it usable, including two new elevators and digging out the floor to increase ceiling clearance,” Evans said. Those clubs included Baja, Columbus72, Flipside and Cream.

Renzo Gracie, which has schools in Midtown, Brooklyn and Middletown, N.J., will be moving into the Upper West Side digs imminently, Evans said.

Independent real estate broker Harry Delany represented the tenant in the deal. He declined to comment.

The Park & Tilford building is an 1892 Renaissance Revival-style building designed by McKim, Mead & White as a retail emporium, and was converted into a mixed-use co-op in the 1970s. Retail tenants include Swatch, Olive & Bette’s, Z’Baby Company and Jeffrey Stein Salon.

Source: commercial


City wins $1M judgment against couple who illegally Airbnb’d

A pair of illegal hotel operators need to pay the city $1 million as part of its crackdown on converting housing units into hotels. The Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement received the $1 million judgment against Mina Guirguis and Szilvia Patkos, who used services like Airbnb to market at least seven units in 5 West 31st Street and 59 Fifth Avenue, according to Politico. They operated as City Oases LLC and marketed the units as […]

Source: realdeal


Purplebricks parachutes into NYC disavowing broker fees

UPDATED, 12:50 p.m., April 3: The discount residential brokerage Purplebricks is launching in New York today with a simple message: In 2018, why are consumers still paying a 6 percent fee to sell their home? “Our view is that in 2018 no one should be paying 5, 6 or 7 percent to sell their home, given the changing consumer behavior and access to information and viable alternatives,” said Eric Eckardt, the company’s U.S. CEO. “Look […]

Source: realdeal


Kaufman Organization inks ground lease for LIC building slated for office conversion

The Kaufman Organization just inked a 99-year ground lease for an industrial building in Long Island City that it plans to convert into office space. The firm is taking control of 21-01 51st Avenue, a 65,000-square-foot building owned by Martial Enterprises, Crain’s reported. Kaufman will gut renovate the building, install larger windows and replace loading docks. The ground floor will be dedicated to either retail or office space. The terms of Kaufman’s lease were not […]

Source: realdeal


Premium Merchant Funding Leaving Trump Building for 16K SF at 55 Water

A financial institution for small businesses, Premium Merchant Funding, has sub-subleased 15,965 square feet from foreign exchange trading firm Forex Capital Markets in the Financial District, Commercial Observer has learned.

Premium Merchant Funding will occupy 15,965 square feet on the 50th floor at 55 Water Street via an eight-year sub-sublease, as per a source. The asking rents were in the mid-$50s per square foot. Premium Merchant Funding will relocate from the Trump Organization‘s Trump Building at 40 Wall Street next month.

Forex took the 60,000-square-foot 50th floor in the 52-story, 3.6-million-square-foot building between Old Slip and Coenties Alley in a 2011 sublease, according to Real Estate Weekly at the time. At this juncture, Forex had excess space to give up, and Premium Merchant Funding had grown out of its 10,000 square feet at 40 Wall Street. The new sub-sublease transaction closed last week.

David Ofman of the Lawrence Group represented Forex in the deal. Newmark Knight Frank’s Paul Ippolito and Cushman & Wakefield’s Stephen Burke represented Premium Merchant Funding. Ofman and a spokeswoman for NKF didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, and Burke declined to comment via a spokesman.

The Class-A office building is owned by Retirement Systems of Alabama. Tenants include S&P Global, New York City Department of Transportation and Teachers’ Retirement System.

Source: commercial


Real Estate Board, Brokers Outraged About Vacancy Tax Talks

As Mayor Bill de Blasio jumps on the “vacancy tax” bandwagon, the Real Estate Board of New York and brokers are crying out in opposition.

Details on a potential vacancy tax—which would levy landlords that let their retail spaces sit vacant for long periods of time—have been scant, but Blasio said he would support one in an interview on the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC last Friday.

“I am very interested in fighting…for a vacancy fee or a vacancy tax that would penalize landlords who leave their storefronts vacant for long periods of time in neighborhoods because they are looking for some top-dollar rent but they blight neighborhoods by doing it,” de Blasio said.

REBNY said the new tax, which originated with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer last year, is hogwash. The organization claimed that that’s not the solution when vacancies are coming as a result of economic issues that tenants face, rather than landlords, such as minimum wage increases, the paid sick leave requirement and the battle against e-commerce.

“The city’s retail environment is going through a transition primarily due to macro-market forces, like Amazon, and increasingly unfriendly local regulations,” John Banks, the president of REBNY, said in a prepared statement provided to Commercial Observer in response to the mayor’s comments. “Property owners take a substantial financial hit when they are unable to secure a tenant. A vacancy tax, premised on a flawed set of assumptions, will punish owners further and do nothing to address vacancy.”

Brewer’s office did a survey last May that identified 188 empty storefronts from the Battery to Inwood. While she didn’t didn’t provide the total number of storefronts, she said at the time that the “data will be the starting point in finding policy solutions to this problem.” In response, Cushman & Wakefield studied a slightly smaller area the following month. On Broadway between Bowling Green and 146th Street, the brokerage recorded 133 vacant stores out of 1,580 storefronts, representing a vacancy rate of 8.4 percent.

Brokers with whom CO spoke called allegations that landlords are leaving their spaces purposefully empty is erroneous, because it would result in landlords losing revenue.

“I have never met a single one of them that thinks like ‘let’s keep it vacant and I am confident that rents will go up in the next few years,’ ” said Steven Soutendijk, an executive managing director at C&W. “There is almost no justification for keeping your space vacant.”

He added later: “It’s not good for [landlord’s] buildings. It doesn’t help if you have 30 apartments that you are trying to rent and a vacant space on your ground floor.”

Other brokers said that ultimately tenants will be the ones that end up paying for any new tax, because landlords would have to raise rents higher to offset the cost.

But because of all of the vacancies—if there is no new tax—brokers expect rents will come down and subsequently deals will get done to fill those empty spaces.

In fact, asking rents for the top commercial strips in Manhattan were flat or down in the final quarter of 2017 when compared with the same period in 2016, according to C&W. (The 2018 first-quarter statistics were not available yet.)

The largest declines could be found in Soho, which experienced an 16.7 drop to $440 per square foot from $528 a year earlier. Also, there was an 11.7 percent slump in Herald Square to $691 a foot from $783 a foot.

Not only will rents continue to fall to meet the market demands, but also more tenants are taking shorter-term leases to test the market, such as one- or two-year deals, according to Chris DeCrosta, a co-founder of retail brokerage GoodSpace. Afterward, if sales are up, they’ll sign longer leases.

“[Tenants] are just trying to justify that the rents justify the sales. They are tired of landlords saying that this is market rent,” DeCrosta said. “They’ll pay market rent but they want to make sure that they can make money there.”

There are some legitimate reasons for keeping a space vacant, according to TerraCRG’s Peter Schubert. Landlords could be planning to redevelop or renovate their building or are currently in negotiations with tenants, which could last around six months but sometimes as long as two years.

He also explained that sometimes when a deal gets done, stores don’t open immediately because they are waiting on permits, like a liquor license.

“People complain about [vacancies], but they don’t know what is happening behind the scenes,” Schubert said.

To find out more about what is going on behind the scenes, Brewer has called on the City Council to establish a database of vacant properties, in which landlords would be required to report the space as empty and when a new lease is signed and when tenants begins to use it, according to her testimony at the City Council in December 2017.  

There would be a small fee for registration and a larger fine for owners who don’t adhere to the rules after a certain period, a spokesman for Brewer told CO via email.

“If we’re going to tackle vacant storefronts, we need to know what we are dealing with,” Brewer said via prepared remarks. “If we can get a handle on how many vacant storefronts there are, where they are, and how long they’re vacant, we’ll have a much better idea of what the problem is and how to solve it.”

Regarding the vacancy tax, Brewer’s spokesman noted that there is no specific proposal on the table yet and a vacancy tax would likely require authorization from the legislature in Albany.

Source: commercial


A&E closes on $287M purchase of Stonehenge Village

As the city’s multifamily market gains steam, A&E Real Estate Holdings has resumed tackling monster deals. A&E closed Friday on the purchase of a three-building, 420-unit Upper West Side rental complex known as Stonehenge Village for $287 million, sources told The Real Deal – more than $100 million above its previously reported price. The Midtown-based multifamily investment firm, led by Douglas Eisenberg and John Arrillaga Jr., secured new debt – north of $145 million in […]

Source: realdeal


Glasshouses inks big deal for new events venue in Hell’s Kitchen

West Chelsea events space Glasshouses is opening a second venue on the Far West Side, where it’s signed a lease for a new 75,000-square-foot space overlooking the Hudson River. The trendy events space, the brainchild of real estate developer Jack Guttman, signed a 30-year deal with the Bay Ridge Auto Group for the new space at 660 12th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen, a representative for Glasshouses told The Real Deal. The two floors – one […]

Source: realdeal