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Category ArchiveRFR Realty

The Plan: Inside World Economic Forum’s New Energy Efficient Offices

The World Economic Forum is trying to lead by example.

The organization, which was founded in 1971 and is tasked with resolving international conflicts and improving the world through meetings with political and business leaders (like its annual summit in Davos), supports sustainable development practices.  

So when designing its new offices at RFR Realty’s 350 Madison Avenue between East 44th and East 45th Streets, it worked with CodeGreen Solutions—a sustainable building consultant—to make its location platinum-level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certified, the highest level awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council.

“Our new New York City office design by Montroy Andersen DeMarco will support our mission and provide a comfortable work environment for our employees,” Stephan Ruiz, the forum’s head of finance and operations, said in a prepared statement. “It also reflects our organization’s strong commitment to sustainable development and operations.”

The office has energy efficient LED lights throughout, it uses less water in washrooms than typical offices and about 90 percent of the appliances are Energy Star certified, meaning they were built specifically to consume less power. Also, more than 80 percent of the waste from demolition of the space was recycled.

Architecture firm Montroy Andersen designed the 39,000-square-foot office on the entire 10th and 11th floors to fit the Swiss organization’s 150 New York-based employees, as well as their guests, for meetings and events.

The 10th floor has executive suites and 109 workstations, all with adjustable-height desks. And there is a 425-square-foot foyer with four seating pods and a pantry with seating for 30 people. Montroy Andersen redesigned an existing internal staircase and added stainless-steel handrails.

And the 11th floor features 29 workstations, offices for the finance and human resources departments and a studio where the organization can make promotional videos.

On this floor there are seven conference rooms, all with high-level audio and video-conferencing equipment. Also, a pantry and a 950-square-foot event space, which can sit up to 160 people, was designed for when the office needs to host large meetings.

Guests to the office will be greeted by a 1,300-square-foot reception area on the 11th floor. The welcome space features a residential aesthetic with wood flooring and walls and a custom receptionist’s desk with a glass front. A nearby seating area has high-end European furniture, LED lights and carpeting.

“The overall look and feel for the entire space is light, warm and contemporary, with an understated European aesthetic that is a nod to the visual language of the Geneva headquarters,” said Mariana Panova, a designer at Montroy Andersen. “The team wanted to create a high-end, more sophisticated reception area on the 11th floor, where guests, speakers and leaders will be greeted.”

Source: commercial

Brooklyn Charter School Expands to Dumbo

Brooklyn Lab Charter School has leased space for a new campus in Dumbo, not far from its other locations in Downtown Brooklyn.

The school will occupy 81,648 square feet on the second through fifth floors of 77 Sands Street, The New York Post reported. The middle and high school will also have some office space on the 12th floor and a canopied entrance on the first floor. Asking rent was $50 a square foot, and the length of the lease wasn’t immediately clear.

The new campus will open in September to sixth through 10th graders and include a performing arts space, cafeteria, student conference rooms and exhibition space.

Brooklyn Lab currently has space at 240 Jay Street and 40 Flatbush Avenue Extension in Downtown Brooklyn.

77 Sands is just one piece of the five-building, 750,000-square-foot Dumbo Heights complex, which is being developed by RFR Realty, Kushner Companies and LIVWRK. Invesco Mortgage Recovery Fund held a 90 percent stake in the properties when the quartet of firms acquired the former Jehovah’s Witnesses printing warehouses for $375 million in 2013. Then the three other firms bought Invesco out last year in a $600 million deal. Normandy Real Estate also purchased one of the buildings, 175 Pearl Street, for $100 million last March.

The developers have spent $100 million revamping the former industrial properties and creating 50,000 square feet of retail, according to The Post.

Scott Klau of Newmark Knight Frank represented the school, and a Newmark team of Whitten Morris and Joseph Sipala represented Dumbo Heights ownership in the deal.

A spokesman for NKF didn’t return requests for comment. Spokespeople for RFR, Kushner Companies and LIVWRK didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Brooklyn Lab will join a host of creative and tech tenants, including Etsy, WeWork, B-Reel, Prolific Interactive and Frog Design. The ground floors are populated by hip retail tenants like Yoga Vida, Shadowbox, Bluestone Lane, Untamed Sandwiches, Taco Dumbo and Randolph Beer.

Source: commercial

RFR Closing F&B at Paramount Hotel

Last week, human resources officials from Paramount Hotel and its management company Highgate announced to the food and beverage workers at the landmark hotel that their services would no longer be needed.

RFR Realty, the property’s owner, will be closing the Paramount Bar & Grill with its American comfort food and drinks as well as room service (all union jobs) and Corso Coffee concession (non-union jobs) at the hotel at 234 West 46th Street, between Broadway and Eighth Avenue.

The union workers—which total about 40—were notified today that the official closure will be some time during the week of March 16, although operations could cease earlier, according to a hotel employee. Officials offered workers buyout packages at today’s meeting. There was also talk of a grab-and-go food concession at the property in the future, although details were scant.

Food and beverage services have been slow since the closing of the Queen of the Night show in Billy Rose’s Diamond Horseshoe nightclub basement space a couple of years ago, the source said, when theatergoers would pop into Paramount Bar & Grill for a drink or a meal. Since then, the downstairs space has been vacant but for infrequent private events and business in the Paramount Bar & Grill upstairs has been slow.

Change is afoot at the property, which was once owned by Ian Schrager. Last month, Sony Corporation and Blue Note Media Group announced that they would be taking over the 12,000-square-foot former Diamond Horseshoe space with a new music venue called Sony Hall to open in spring 2018. It has the capacity for 1,000 people standing and 500 seated, and will feature a full-service restaurant and bar.

img 03081 RFR Closing F&B at Paramount Hotel
Paramount Bar & Grill inside the Paramount Hotel. Photo: Lauren Elkies Schram

“It will serve as a staging ground for recording content, testing new and exciting technology, promoting emerging artists, and more,” Midori Tomita, a vice president in charge of UX business development for brand strategy at Sony, said in a press release about the partnership.

Paramount Hotel opened in 1928 with 600 keys and became a landmark in 2009 after being renovated, as per The New York Times.

A spokesman for RFR said the company declined to comment and no one from Highgate responded to an inquiry.

A spokesman for New York Hotel & Motel Trades Council, the union for hotel workers in New York and Northern New Jersey, which was in attendance at the meetings, didn’t immediately respond with a comment.

Source: commercial

The Plan: Inside AlphaSights’ Linear Designed Offices in Midtown East

To London-based AlphaSights, which helps top executives address challenges by connecting them to industry experts around the globe, the line is an important concept.

The company likes to highlight its mission showing a world map with ample crisscrossing lines, reflecting business connections it helped facilitate.

So when it came to the design of its new offices at RFR Realty’s 350 Madison Avenue between East 44th and East 45th Streets, the architecture firm Ted Moudis Associates focused on blending lines throughout the 47,000-square-foot offices.

The architects made a series of curved lines on the ceiling by using dark and white exposed and dropped ceilings and on the floors via the contrast between wood and polished floors. The curved theme can be seen in the sleek reception desk.

“We wanted to evoke connections that were being made,” Jeff Knoll, a design director at Ted Moudis, told Commercial Observer. “We thought that that was an appropriate image. So a lot of the design has these curving, fluid lines.”

AlphaSights relocated to the new offices in August last year, expanding from 22,000 square feet at 229 West 43rd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. The company has the entire 12th and 14th floors and half of the 15th floor at 350 Madison Avenue. (There is no 13th floor in the building.)

Bright red is accentuated throughout the new digs in chairs, walls and table legs because it’s AlphaSight’s branding color. The hue stands out because it is the only non-neutral color (black, white or gray) that is being used in the space, excluding the wood.

Since the U.K.-based company wanted its New York offices to feel like the Big Apple, the Ted Moudis team designed the offices to look like industrial New York properties. That’s why the ceilings are exposed and the floors are polished concrete. The conference rooms are encased in glass resembling factory windows, and the columns have been stripped.

The architecture team recognized that this industrial look tends to be a bit dark. So to warm the space up, they added a hint of nature: wood floors and walls in some areas. They even decked out some of the columns in wood and embedded planters in the columns.

There is a green wall in the café, an unenclosed area at the center of the office. It doubles as a town hall space, which can hold up to about 75 people, and has a variety of seating schemes.

“A lot of [AlphaSight’s] employees are millennials, and this is a kind of environment where they are providing a lot of amenities for the staff,” Knoll said. “There is beer, wine and snacks. The café becomes a space that is used all day long.”

Source: commercial

RFR Sells Tribeca Loft Conversion to Iliad Realty Group for $55M

Aby Rosen’s RFR Realty has unloaded a nine-story, mixed-use loft building at 67 Vestry Street in Tribeca to Iliad Realty Group for $55.5 million, city public records show. The sale closed last Wednesday.

The second through ninth floors of the 61,250-square-foot former warehouse are divided into 25 apartments, according to marketing materials from Cushman & Wakefield. Of the 25 loft units, a few are still occupied by rent-stabilized tenants, but the majority are vacant, according to C&W’s Robert Knakal, who helped broker the sale. Fourteen units are rent stabilized, according to the most recent property tax bill. The property also has 7,000 square feet of vacant ground-floor retail, the brochure from C&W notes.

RFR purchased the building for $16.5 million in 2005, property records indicate. The company filed plans to build an 11-story, 42-unit residential building on the site in 2014. However, it looks like the developer abandoned the project after 67 Vestry’s stabilized residents fought the development plans and attempted to get the building landmarked. A spokeswoman for RFR declined to comment on the sale, and Iliad didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Knakal along with C&W’s Will Suarez and Jon Hageman represented the buyer and the seller in the deal.

“I think this was a transaction that was good for the buyer and the seller, and the site has tremendous potential,” Knakal said. “It’s an excellent location and there’s tremendous upside on that property.”

Iliad also took out a $40 million mortgage from Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance, according to public records.

Source: commercial

Large UAE Bank Moving NYC Office Within FiDi

Dubai-based financial institution Mashreqbank signed a 10-year lease for 8,727 square feet at 17 State Street, according to landlord RFR Realty.

The tenant will take half of the 22nd floor in the 42-story building at the intersection of State and Pearl Streets across from The Battery. The asking rent in the deal was $68 per square foot. The bank is moving from its current address at 50 Broadway near Exchange Place. It has 5,919 square feet there on the 15th floor, according to CoStar Group.

RFR’s AJ Camhi and Ryan Silverman handled the deal alongside a JLL team of John Wheeler and Clayton Kline. Cushman & Wakefield’s Dan Organ brokered the transaction for Mashreqbank, which has 12 offices overseas in Europe, Asia and Africa. A spokesman for C&W declined to respond to a request for comment.

The deal was part of a few new transactions signed at the 570,696-square-foot office tower.

London-based M Three Consulting signed a 4,812-square-foot deal at the building, and it is moving from 14 Wall Street between Broadway and Nassau Street. Also, law firm Torgan, Cooper & Aaron inked a 6,443-square-foot renewal. Rob Lowe and Evan Algier of C&W handled the deal for the law firm. And financial planner Granger Management Holdings renewed its 3,263-square-foot space.

“We continue to attract and retain prestigious global companies who have chosen 17 State Street as their home,” Camhi said in a prepared statement. “Each of the executives and employees at these firms will benefit from its close proximity to transportation… as well as the stunning views of New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty and [The Battery].”

Source: commercial

Kushner Companies Turns to NKF to Finish Dumbo Heights Office, Retail Leasing

Early last year, Kushner Companies tapped a CBRE team to lease up the remaining 350,000 square feet of office space at the 1.2-million-square-foot, five-building Dumbo Heights campus along the Brooklyn waterfront. Now, with 100,000 square feet remaining in two of the buildings, Kushner has replaced CBRE with Newmark Knight Frank, Commercial Observer has learned.

The largest available block, 75,000 square feet, is in 77 Sands Street, according to information provided by NKF, with the remainder at 55 Prospect Street. Leases will be for two years or longer.

“It is clear why Dumbo Heights is rapidly becoming the area’s most sought-after destination,” NKF’s Whitten Morris, who will head the leasing efforts with colleague Joseph Sipala, said in prepared remarks. “This campus offers exciting conveniences with its office, retail and lifestyle amenities while offering a collaborative work environment that cutting-edge companies are seeking. With the added benefit of its modern amenities, any tenant would thrive in this environment.”

Office tenants in the Dumbo complex, which Kushner owns with LIVWRK and RFR Realty, include WeWork, 2U, Etsy, Prolific Interactive and Frog Design.

In February 2016, Kushner hired CBRE’s Sacha Zarba and Jeffrey Fischer to lease up 350,000 square feet of office space at the property, as CO reported at the time, while RKF was elected to market the retail portion.

Retail tenants include Yoga Vida, Shadowbox, Bluestone Lane, Untamed Sandwiches, Taco Dumbo and Randolph Beer.

NKF’s Harrison Abramowitz is now assuming the retail assignment, which includes 18,525 square feet, according to a spokesman for the landlords, who declined to comment on the retail brokerage change. A spokeswoman for RKF confirmed the retail-focused brokerage was no longer on the project, but didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry for a comment beyond that.

“CBRE did a great job of helping to establish Dumbo Heights as a thriving, collaborative office campus that some of New York City’s most cutting-edge creative firms now call home,” Asher Abehsera, the chief executive officer and founder of LIVWRK, said in a statement provided to CO. “The NKF team currently occupies space on the campus and represents a new iteration for the project, bringing a fresh, on-the-ground perspective and understanding of tenant needs.” (NKF occupies space at 55 Prospect Street for a full-service office dedicated to the Brooklyn commercial market.)

Spokesmen for the owners and NKF declined to provide asking rents. A spokeswoman for CBRE said the brokers declined to comment.

Source: commercial

Swedish Photography Organization Takes Entirety of Aby Rosen’s 281 PAS

Source: commercial

Engineering Consultant, Forensic Accounting Firm Ink Deals at 17 State Street

Two tenants have sealed deals at RFR Realty’s 17 State Street that total 21,734 square feet, Commercial Observer has learned.  

In the larger transaction, consulting firm EnTech Engineering has signed a 14,500-square-foot lease to relocate to the building across from The Battery (formerly known as Battery Park).  

The company, an adviser on construction, engineering and environmental inspection, safety and health, will occupy the entire 36th floor of the 42-story building. EnTech is set to relocate in July from 11 Broadway between Battery Place and Morris Street. The asking rent in the deal was $72 per square foot, according to a spokeswoman for the landlord, who declined to disclose the length of the deal.

“EnTech Engineering has experienced tremendous growth over the past few years and required a new space for its expanding operations,” AJ Camhi, the director of leasing at RFR Realty, said in a statement. “Each of the executives and employees will benefit from the exceptional location, prestige and breathtaking water views.”

Camhi represented RFR in-house, along with a team from JLL that includes Mitchell Konsker, John Wheeler and Clayton Kline. Jonathan Fein and Jenna Catalon of Cushman & Wakefield represented Entech Engineering. Fein declined to comment on the transaction, according to a C&W spokesman.

Meanwhile, global forensic accounting and business litigation firm StoneTurn Group has renewed its lease of 7,234 square feet on part of the 26th floor of the 570,696-square-foot office tower.

The tenant has been in the Emery Roth & Sons-designed building since 2014. But the landlord declined to release information about the length of the transaction.

Robert Wizenberg of CBRE, who brokered the deal for StoneTurn Group, did not immediately respond to a request for comment via a spokeswoman. Camhi and the JLL team also worked on this deal for the landlord. The asking rent was $68 per square foot.

These new deals come on the heels of a large expansion in January by technology company IPsoft. The firm signed a deal to renew and expand its offices at the building to approximately 140,000 square feet, as CO previously reported. It had nearly 98,000 square feet and added 41,700 square feet. And commercial insurance provider Herbert Jamison, which has been a tenant at the building for almost 25 years, recently renewed its 4,752-square-foot lease at the building.

Source: commercial