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Category ArchiveSavills Studley

Fast-Growing Flatiron Health Inks 108K-SF Deal in Relocation to Soho

Flatiron Health, a health care technology company focused on cancer research, has signed an 108,000-square-foot lease at One Soho Square, the tenant’s broker Savills Studley recently announced.

The company will occupy four floors of the 15-story east tower of the two-building One Soho Square, which is owned by Stellar Management and Imperium Capital. The company plans to relocate in the spring from its current address at 200 Fifth Avenue between West 23rd and West 24th Streets. A spokeswoman for Savills Studley declined to provide the asking rent in the 10-year-deal. But reported asking rents for previous tenants in the building have ranged from $80 to $120 per square foot.

Flatiron Health has a range of technology platforms to help researchers and medical professionals collect clinical data from cancer patients, which it hopes will advance the understanding of how to best treat cancer. Launched just six years ago, Flatiron Health has grown to nearly 500 employees, including an oncologist, software engineers, quantitative scientists, product managers and designers.

“Flatiron Health has grown rapidly and needed a large block of space in a prime location with all of the attributes and amenities that today’s technology companies know and expect,” Savills Studley’s Zev Holzman, who handled the deal for Flatiron Health with colleagues Brad Wolk, Herman Dodson and Brian Scharfman, said in a statement.

Empire State Development will give Flatiron Health up to $6 million in tax credits, via its Excelsior Jobs Program, in order to encourage the company’s growth in the state. Flatiron Health is valued at $1.2 billion and has plans to create 300 jobs in the next five years, according to Business Insider, which first reported news of the lease.

Designed by Gensler, One Soho Square features a glass-encased lobby that connects the east tower to a 13-story west building. Together the structures—at 161 Avenue of the Americas between Spring and Vandam Streets and 233 Spring Street between Avenue of the Americas and Varick Street, respectively—boast 768,000 square feet and nine new passenger elevators.

“Flatiron Health’s decision to expand and relocate their headquarters to One Soho Square is a testament not only to the continued desirability of the neighborhood but to the building itself,” Ryan Jackson, a principal at Stellar Management, said in prepared remarks.

Newmark Knight Frank’s Brian Waterman, Andrew Peretz, David Malawer and Brent Ozarowski, who represented the landlords, did not immediately return a request seeking comment via a spokesman.


Source: commercial

New York Liquidation Bureau Inks 43K-SF Lease at 180 Maiden Lane

The New York Liquidation Bureau (NYLB) has agreed to take more than 43,000 square feet of office space at 180 Maiden Lane in the Financial District, Commercial Observer has learned.

The state agency signed a deal earlier this month to take 43,138 square feet comprising the entire 14th floor and part of the 15th floor at the 41-story, 1.2-million-square-foot office tower between Front and South Streets on the East River waterfront, according to sources with knowledge of the transaction.

The NYLB, which is responsible for taking over impaired or insolvent insurance companies on behalf of the state, will be relocating at least a sizable chunk of its current offices at nearby 110 William Street. According to CoStar Group data, the agency presently occupies nearly 120,000 square feet across four floors at 110 William Street but plans to reduce its footprint at the Savanna– and KBS Realty Advisors-owned office building by more than 74,000 square feet before the end of this year.

Asking rent for the space at 180 Maiden Lane was in the high $50s per square foot, while CoStar identifies the length of lease as 15 years, slated to commence in June. Savills Studley‘s Jarod Stern, David Goldstein, Matthew Barlow and Brad Wolk represented the NYLB. The landlord, a partnership between MHP Real Estate Services and Clarion Partners, was represented by Cushman & Wakefield‘s Tara Stacom, Robert Lowe, Frank Cento and Justin Royce and the MHP in-house team of Richard Doolittle, James Tamborlane and Jesse Rubens.

Representatives for MHP and Savills Studley declined to comment on the transaction, while representatives for C&W could not immediately be reached for comment.

Other office tenants at 180 Maiden Lane include the New York City Department of Investigation—which agreed to take 276,000 square feet at the building, as CO reported last August—law firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan and television production company True Entertainment.

The likes of business compliance software firm Behavox and specialty merchant financier CFG Merchant Solutions have also recently committed to office space at 180 Maiden Lane—agreeing to leases for more than 12,000 square feet and nearly 8,000 square feet, respectively, as CO reported.

Source: commercial

How Steven Levy Reinvented Kamber Management’s Decades-Old Real Estate Legacy

Kamber Management is a 77-year-old company that, with a Manhattan collection of four properties, sought a larger play.

So Steven Levy, the president and CEO of the Manhattan-based, third-generation family firm, acquired Tower 45, a 40-story, 458,000-square-foot office building at 120 West 45th Street, for $365 million from SL Green Realty Trust in September 2015. The building is currently in the midst of a years-long redesign that will make it the jewel in the Kamber crown.

At the time, Kamber held a 95-year leasehold on the 1.1-million-square-foot 1407 Broadway that the firm’s founder, Abraham Kamber (Levy’s grandfather) had originally acquired from developer William Zeckendorf. As the leasehold passed its 65-year mark, Levy felt the time frame had become too short to maintain its value and sought to sell the asset, hoping to instead find a property that would allow the company to hold a fee position.

“At some point [in the leasehold], the owner has less incentive to invest capital, and tenants find the lease term too short for their sense of stability,” Levy said. “Once you’re below 25 years, you can’t borrow money on it. If there’s a big capital investment to be made, you’re kind of scratching your head, thinking, do I really want to do this.”

Kamber sold the leasehold to Shorenstein Realty Services for $330 million in 2015 and used the proceeds to help finance the acquisition of Tower 45. (Also helping: the company’s September 2015 sale of 18 and 20 West 33rd Street to a partnership of the Carlyle Group and 60 Guilders for $111 million.)

Once the purchase was done, Kamber had its work cut out for it, as the building needed significant renovations, which Levy put in the $10 million range. The building’s atrium and lobby are being completely redesigned by the architectural firm Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, and all of the building’s mechanicals are being updated with several innovative systems being installed. These include destination dispatch, a system that routes passengers into the building’s elevators more efficiently, and an atmosphere air filtration system that gives the building some of the cleanest indoor air in New York.

“Destination dispatch is the new computer algorithm you find in new buildings,” he said. “It makes elevator usage much more efficient and quicker for the passenger. The elevators won’t be completed until the end of 2018, but we’ll be turning that on at the beginning of the year.”

As for the air filtration system, Kamber was the first developer in New York to install it, giving Tower 45 arguably the cleanest air in New York. This designation only lasted several weeks, though, as over 10 other buildings have installed the system since.

“It scrubs the air in the building according to three measurements—small particulate, large particulate and one for anything you can smell,” Levy said. “Small particulate tends to be bacteria or viruses—organic matter. Large particles tend to be dust and dirt. The filtration system cuts down the presence of those three by about 50 percent.”

Every floor of the building has sensors to measure air quality, which Levy can monitor in real time on a smartphone app. He said the system has been found to save $2,300 a year per employee in terms of sick days avoided and increased productivity.

With floor plates between 10,000 and 13,000 square feet, Levy sees Tower 45 as filling an essential niche in the New York office market.

“We are a small boutique building,” he said. “If tenants like the neighborhood and aren’t large enough to command the presence of a full floor in [larger buildings on Avenue of the Americas], they can be in a state-of-the-art, beautiful building with tenant amenities and a location that can’t be beat. We think we distinguish ourselves on that level.”

Richard Baxter, a vice chairman of New York capital markets and investment sales for Colliers, represented SL Green in the Tower 45 sale while still at JLL and has known Levy for 20 years.

“Steve’s decisive. When he wants to acquire something, he goes for it very aggressively,” Baxter said. “The Tower 45 deal was a very competitive transaction. There was competitive bidding to buy the building, and he was able to pre-empt the bid process. He’s a gentleman and a man of his word, and when he says he’s going to do something, he does it. You could do business with him on a handshake.”

The publicity around Tower 45 since the purchase has brought increased and much-desired attention to Kamber and Levy, who said he’s being brought more deals to consider as a result. While Levy is a broker, he’s spent most of his time in real estate as more of a steward of the family office, handling Kamber’s investments.

Levy, 62, grew up on the Upper East Side. His grandfather, Abraham Kamber, founded the company that bears his name in 1940, but Levy said that he and his grandfather never discussed business. Rather, his father Stanley, an attorney who didn’t work in the business, told him all about it instead.

Levy attended Connecticut College in New London, Conn., where he was allowed to design his own major, and graduated in 1977 with a bachelor’s in the American founding and the enlightenment. He scored his first job in real estate as a leasing broker at Julien J. Studley (now Savills Studley). 

“It was highly unusual then to be able to design your own interdisciplinary major. I’m still an amateur historian,” he said.

“A couple of years into working at Julian Studley, I went out to lunch with my boss, Mike Soloman. He said, ‘Steve, do you know why we hired you?’ I said, ‘Actually, Mike, I have no idea.’ He said, ‘Because you had that crazy major on your résumé. I figured if you could be that creative, you might be able to do something.’”

Levy, who said that seeking a job in real estate after graduation was more of a natural inclination, given his grandfather’s position, than a marked decision about his future, didn’t find success as a leasing broker, finding a more natural fit in sales.

He later worked at Wm. A. White & Sons, managing the firm’s Manhattan properties, and realized that his future would include a broader range of duties than simply sales. As he was looking over some of his company’s proposed sales, he inadvertently caught the development bug.

“We had these incredible deals for sale,” he said. “I went to my boss, and I said, ‘You know, let’s not sell this one, [referring to a building at 40 Worth Street]. Let’s raise some money and buy it.’ He looked at me and said, ‘Steve, we don’t do that here. We’re brokers.’ So I realized I was not long for that office. I realized the point was to own.”

Kamber, meanwhile, had been somewhat dormant at the time. While the middle of the 20th century found the firm owning a slew of prestigious properties throughout Manhattan, including One and Two Park Avenue, the Astor and Manhattan Hotels, and the Hearst Building, many of these were sold in the upmarket of the mid-1960s. By the time the elder Kamber died in 1977, the company, while still a fee-collecting entity with assets of its own, had basically stopped any new deal activity.

After the stint at White & Sons, Levy joined Kamber in 1986. (His brother, Peter, joined the firm three years later and remains today as a principal in charge of the daily operations of Kamber’s properties.)

His father had much of the paperwork related to the family business, and Levy poured through the documents, learning all he could. 

“I studied everything and thought, ‘This can’t be that difficult. How do you improve the building’s operations? How do you make it more attractive to tenants?’ ” he said.

Levy said Kamber’s status as a family firm made his duties a bit different than the head of your average real estate firm. While still a broker and actively seeking deals, Levy described his top priority as managing the “family office,” by which he means serving as the steward of the family’s many long-standing investments.

“We have an investment imperative,” he said. “We have everything organized into different types of investments. So I’m not just in real estate. I run a ‘family office’ now. That’s a term that refers to the disparate interests of families that have holdings of various kinds. Real estate is most of what we do but not all. We also have alternative investments. We do quite a bit with energy, rail cars, all kinds of things.”

At first, Levy built the company back to the point where it could manage family properties that had been run by outside firms. This included writing all the operational software for the company, which would remain in use for almost the next two decades. He also sold off shopping centers the company owned around the country, because, he said, “I wasn’t crazy about the asset class.”

For much of his time since then as Kamber’s president, his priority has been increasing the desirability of his family-owned properties and determining the best ways to maximize asset value. Selling off an expiring leasehold, as he did at 1407 Broadway, is one example of this. Another was his handling of a Section 8 housing project the family owned in Groton, Conn., the 446-unit Branford Manor Apartments. While the property had become “tremendously valuable,” Levy said, its effective management over the long run was beyond the company’s expertise, and Levy sold it.

He perceived a better opportunity in the purchase last month of three parking garage condominiums at 80, 100-120 and 220-240 Riverside Boulevard in Manhattan. Kamber purchased the properties, which total 916 parking spots over 248,000 square feet that Levy believes will be “a great long-term asset,” from the U.S. arm of a foreign-based for $50 million. He’s also continuing to manage a 16-story, 143,000-square-foot office building Kamber owns at 15 West 37th Street, a job that includes installing new dual burning boilers and the destination dispatch elevator system.

For later in 2018, Levy aims to see Kamber add another building—as yet undecided—to its portfolio.

“We prefer office, but we’ll look at anything,” he said. “One idea is more of an industrial logistics kind of use somewhere in the metropolitan area, and we’ll be looking to place about $55 million at that time.”

In addition to working on maintaining the business, Kamber, who lives in Greenwich, Conn., with his wife of 33 years, Leora, Levy is a third-generation contributor to the United Jewish Appeal/Federation of Jewish Philanthropies. The couple has three sons, twins David and Michael, 28, and Benjamin, 24.

“The UJA was started around 1938 to rescue Jews in Europe,” Levy said. “The federation is just finishing its 100th anniversary year, and they merged in 1986. Grandpa had always been very involved with that and other institutions, and we continue to contribute a major gift there. Now my boys will be fourth generation, as they’re getting involved in UJA.”

For all the different aspects of his responsibilities at Kamber, Levy said he still sees himself as a broker first and foremost and believes this grounding has played a large part in driving his success—and now, Kamber’s— and will continue to do so in the years ahead.

“I would argue the basis of my success in my business has been my brokerage training, the focus on closing a deal,” he said. “That training has focused me on mastering everything that needs to be done, not relying on others to get a deal closed, following up, and dealing with people in a way that keeps them engaged.”

Source: commercial

Direct Mail Startup PebblePost Inks Deal to Quadruple Its Offices

PebblePost, a direct mail marketing startup, recently signed a 19,644-square-foot deal at 400 Lafayette Street to nearly quadruple the size of its offices, Commercial Observer has learned.

The company, which uses its software to learn consumers’ computer search habits and target them with printed advertisements for products, moved into its new digs earlier this month and is occupying the entire second floor of the five-story building, which is located at the corner of East 4th Street in Noho.

The asking rent in the deal was $75 per square foot, according to information provided by ABS Partners Real Estate

“400 Lafayette Street offers large, open floor plates that allow businesses to build  offices that foster creativity and encourage collaboration,” said ABS’ James Caseley in prepared remarks, who represented landlord Sand Associates with colleagues Charles Conwell and Joseph LaRosa. “The second floor provided the ideal amount of space for PebblePost, which is in the midst of an explosive expansion.”

PebblePost relocated from nearby 36 Cooper Square between East 5th and East 6th Streets, where it had 5,000 square feet.

Since PebblePost’s founding in 2014, the company has raised $63 million, according to Crunchbase. This year alone it raised $47 million with a combination of equity and debt.

“PebblePost was in immediate need of a larger space to accommodate its rapidly growing staff,” Savills Studley’s Craig Lemle, who represented PebblePost with colleague Nick Zarnin, said in a prepared statement. “The space at 400 Lafayette provides PebblePost the ideal location, size and buildout to move in quickly and continue to grow in a space that is in line with the company’s culture and business objectives.”

Existing tenants at 400 Lafayette include event ticket marketplace SeatGeek, advertising and technology company TripleLift and La Colombe Coffee Roasters.

Source: commercial

Mizuho Signs Deal to Triple Planned U.S. HQ to 411K SF

Mizuho Americas, the U.S. division of Japanese bank Mizuho Financial Group, has signed a 270,000-square-foot lease to nearly triple the size of its future U.S. headquarters at 1271 Avenue of the Americas, according to a new release by landlord Rockefeller Group.  

The deal adds to the 141,000-square-foot deal that Mizuho signed in June, bringing the company’s planned footprint to a total of 411,000 square feet. The company is expected to start occupying the 2.1 million-square-foot building between West 50th and 51st Streets in 2019.

Mizuho plans to relocate employees from 320 Park Avenue, 1440 Broadway and 125 West 50th Street, as Commercial Observer previously reported. Rockefeller did not disclose the terms of the new transaction. The asking rent in the previous deal was in the low $80s per square foot, as CO reported.

“The growth of Mizuho Americas has been tremendous,” John Buchanan, head of strategy for Mizuho Americas, said in a statement.  “We are reaching capacity at our existing leases and look forward to consolidating our many offices throughout the city in one, world-class location that affords us the ability to continue implementing our expansion plans.”

A Savills Studley team of Mitchell Steir, Matthew Barlow, Steve Berliner and David Goldstein handled the deal for Mizuho, while CBRE’s Mary Ann Tighe, Howard Fiddle, John Maher, Sarah Pontius, Evan Haskell and Dave Caperna represented Rockefeller Group. CBRE worked alongside an in-house Rockefeller Group team of Ed Guiltinan, Jennifer Stein, Yoshinori Nakamura, Yoko Yamada and Eden Jeon.

Rockefeller Group is currently completing a Pei Cobb Freed & Partners-designed $600 million redevelopment of the 48-story 1271 Avenue of the Americas. The renovation includes a new glass curtain wall facade that will allow 60 percent more daylight into offices and restoration of the lobby. Part of the reason that Mizuho Americas chose to expand planned offices is because of the redevelopment, according to Guiltinan, a senior vice president at Rockefeller Group.

“This commitment… demonstrates the market’s positive reception to the ongoing renovations to this iconic asset,” Guiltinan said in prepared remarks. “1271 Avenue of the Americas provides a rare opportunity to relocate to virtually new construction in the heart of Midtown.”

A spokeswoman for CBRE declined to comment and a spokeswoman for Savills Studley did not immediately respond to an inquiry for comment.

The New York Post first reported news of the expansion.

Source: commercial

Dwight Capital Inks 20K-SF Deal to Move to Hell’s Kitchen

Real estate finance and investment firm Dwight Capital has signed a 20,000-square-foot lease at 787 11th Avenue, according to landlord The Georgetown Company.

The finance firm will occupy a section of the 10th floor of the 10-story building, which is located between West 54th and West 55th Streets in Hell’s Kitchen. The asking rent in the 10-year deal was $85 per square foot.

The Georgetown Company is nearing completion of a $100 million upgrade of the building designed by Rafael Viñoly. The redeveloped office building will feature modern spaces with oversized windows and a roof deck for tenants.

“Beyond the best-in-class modern office space, the property also offers one-of-a-kind outdoor spaces, proximity to two parks and preferred memberships at the nearby Mercedes Club, all of which allow us to offer tenants a unique and exciting experience,” Jonathan Schmerin, the managing principal at The Georgetown Company, said in prepared remarks.

Dwight Capital will relocate in the second quarter of 2018 from 5,846 square feet at 250 West 55th Street between Eighth Avenue and Broadway in Midtown, as The New York Post first reported. Dwight Capital will share the top floor with Bill Ackman’s hedge fund and charity—Pershing Square Capital Management and The Pershing Square Foundation, respectively—which took 67,000 square feet on the ninth and tenth floors of the building, as CO reported last year.

Savills Studley’s Daniel Posy represented Dwight Capital, while a CBRE team of Mary Ann Tighe, Evan Haskell, Arkady Smolyansky, Ben Joseph and Ross Zimbalist handled the deal for the landlord.

A spokeswoman for the CBRE brokers did not immediately return a request for comment.

Source: commercial

Cloud Networking Services Provider GTT Grows to 19,500 in 1 Penn Plaza

GTT Communications has signed a deal to expand its footprint at Vornado Realty Trust‘s 1 Penn Plaza to 19,500 square feet just a few months after the publicly traded company moved into the building, Commercial Observer has learned.  

The Virginia-based firm, which provides cloud networking services to companies around the world, currently occupies 11,400-square-foot offices on part of the 10th floor of the 2.7-million-square-foot tower on West 34th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues.

GTT will add 8,100 square feet on the same floor in early 2018, according to information provided by the tenant’s broker, Savills Studley.

A spokeswoman for the brokerage declined to disclose the terms of the deal, however, a variety of tenants have signed leases in the building at rates in the upper $60s per square foot and the low- to mid-$70s per square foot, according to CoStar Group.

“GTT’s recent acquisitions added significant headcount to their New York office, and expanding into additional, contiguous space was the best solution for the growing company to maintain and enhance their collaborative culture,” Savills Studley’s Christopher Foerch, who handled the deal for GTT alongside colleagues Jeffrey Peck and Daniel Horowitz, said in a prepared statement.

GTT moved from a 5,000-square-foot office at 1270 Broadway between West 32nd and West 33rd Streets to 1 Penn Plaza in July.  

Since its move, GTT has acquired a variety of companies, including network services provider Global Capacity for about $160 million ($100 million in cash and nearly 1.9 million shares of stock) in September, the company announced at the time. Global Capacity has offices in Massachusetts, Illinois, Colorado, California and the U.K.

And GTT acquired Midtown South-based data management provider Transbeam for $28 million on Oct. 3. Transbeam currently has offices at 8 West 38th Street between Fifth Avenue and Avenue of the Americas.

It wasn’t clear if Global Capacity and Transbeam would be moving. A spokeswoman for the company did not immediately return a request seeking information, and Savills Studley’s spokeswoman declined to disclose that information.

Jared Silverman and Josh Glick, who represented Vornado in-house, did not return a request for comment via a Vornado spokesman.

GTT has 18 offices around North America, and additional outposts in Asia, Europe and South America, according to its website.

Source: commercial

Digital Agency Definition 6 Relocating to Nearly 14K SF on West 40th Street

Digital marketing agency Definition 6 is heading from Union Square to the Garment District.

The firm inked a deal for 13,750 square feet on the entire second floor of 218 West 40th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, according to The New York Post. The asking rent was $55 a square foot. The length of the lease wasn’t immediately clear.

Definition 6 is relocating from 79 Fifth Avenue at the corner of West 16th Street, where the company has occupied 20,053 square feet since 2012, according to CoStar Group.

Jarod Stern and Ken Ruderman of Savills Studley handled the transaction for Definition 6, and Brian Neugeboren, Nicole Goetz and Bob Savitt of Savitt Partners represented the landlords, Kaufman Organization and Block Buildings. A spokesman for Savitt Partners didn’t return a request for comment.

“Definition 6 was looking for well-located, high-quality space and strong ownership,” Stern said in a statement. “The prebuilt second floor at 218 West 40th Street fit the bill perfectly, and its open floor plate and creative feel are an ideal match for the company’s culture.”

The two owners acquired the 12-story, 127,000-square-foot building as a joint LLC for $46.2 million in 2004, according to public records. Other tenants in the building include educational nonprofit National Academy Foundation, clothing brand Free People and longtime fabric supplier New York Elegant Fabrics.

Source: commercial

The Mothership: There Is Only One Starrett-Lehigh

In the pursuit to perfect the work-play formula needed to drive the velocity and pricing for commercial properties, few real estate owners have experienced the same level of success found in RXR Realty’s Starrett-Lehigh Building. The West Chelsea icon has given the likes of Tishman Speyer the aspiration of converting the office tower of the Downtown Brooklyn Macy’s to the “Starrett-Lehigh Building of Brooklyn,” as quoted in The Real Deal.


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Views from Starett-Lehigh

Starrett-Lehigh is desirable to today’s tenants who see the opportunity that comes with a historic manufacturing building: expansive floor plates, generous floor loads, column spacing conducive to a multitude buildouts and ceiling heights rumored to have hosted a giraffe for a photo shoot. Pair these features with natural light and unobstructed views of the water and downtown and midtown skylines, you have an asset that demands attention. Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig of Marchesa admit they “were drawn to Starrett for the breathtaking views of the entire city – from the Empire State Building to the Hudson River—and the most beautiful sunsets year round.”

Recognizing the innate appeal of the structure to the increasingly powerful TAMI audience, RXR Realty committed to making the building a “destination icon” when they purchased it for $920 million in 2011. RXR’s efforts and long-term vision were noticed by tenants, such as Surface Media’s CEO Marc Lotenberg, who when they were searching for a permanent home noted, “It isn’t about today; it’s about tomorrow. Just as our company is evolving and innovating, so is this neighborhood, and we are confident that with all the development unfolding on the Manhattan’s west side, from the Meatpacking District to Hudson Yards, RXR’s Starrett-Lehigh will be perfectly positioned to become the city’s nucleus of culture and commerce.”

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Rooftop Whiskey Tasting

The building did not come without challenges, from the lack of proximity to major transportation to elevator wait times that historically had people arriving 30 minutes early for meetings just to be punctual. Not to mention its status as a landmark, which can protract upgrades and the renovation process. However, the hands-on RXR has equipped Starrett-Lehigh with the tools benefiting a modern workplace and evolving workforce, which included modernizing the building’s infrastructure, augmenting elevator count, upgrading the lobby and common areas with food amenities and repurposing unique spaces like loading areas into dynamic communal space. RXR Realty streamlined the loading and delivery process along 26th Street to improve walkability for the significant visitor foot traffic and created a unique 24-hour food truck and freight elevator service available to all floors. The company also implemented a tenant shuttle service connecting tenants readily to major transportation hubs.

The company has also executed a nationally recognized sustainability program that went beyond simple “box checking” for accreditation but integrated community gardens, farm-to-table programming, reducing the building’s carbon footprint by 80 percent and serving as an anchoring force in the outside community through the creation of the West Chelsea Energy Alliance. The building won two BOMA awards: the 2016 Operating Building of the Year and the 2017 Earth award.

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Starrett-Lehigh Event (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Battersea Power Station)

RXR Realty took Starrett-Lehigh one step further with the introduction of the Centre for Social Innovation, or CSI, as the answer to the shift in population of Starrett-Lehigh’s tenants, who are more socially conscious and culturally focused than the presumed typical Class A office building. CSI produces a variety of events and activations on global concerns. They have partnered with other Starrett-Lehigh tenants like Johnson & Johnson to boost workplace community. As Gabe Marans, corporate managing director of Savills Studley, puts it, “Starrett-Lehigh is the rare building that offers a true tenant community. The building is increasingly becoming the destination for employees seeking a creative, yet serious environment.”

RXR manages a robust engagement program into their work-play balance formula. “Redefining the ‘play’ in live-work-play, they are creating a highly curated combination of relevant food markets, pop-up retail, wellness and events to tap into the highly evolved cultural landscape of the surrounding marketplace,” said Peter Fine, senior managing director at Newmark Knight Frank. Much of Starrett’s program touches on wellness, culinary interests and social issues, such as wine tastings, panel discussions on fashion design and gay rights, and rooftop fitness classes ranging from high intensity to holistic yoga practices. In addition, Starrett-Lehigh launched a fully equipped fitness facility, SL Fitness. Since its launch in 2016, membership has doubled and continues to grow.

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Fitness Event

It would be remiss to not consider the impact of the High Line, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, another Starrett-Lehigh tenant. This project transformed West Chelsea into a district synonymous with the city’s most innovative architecture, engaging recreational areas and a world class contemporary art scene. Naturally, these features appeal to Starrett tenants, such as Haynes Roberts, Amy Lau, Jes Gordon and influential designer Vanessa DeLeon. In the spirit of authenticity, DeLeon is currently working with RXR to roll out a new prebuilt program for loft spaces and to transform original truck bays into high-quality communal spaces.

The building meets the needs of a continuously diversifying culture within all industries from fashion labels such as Ralph Lauren, Club Monaco and Canada Goose, technology companies like littleBits and Verizon, publications like Surface Media and The Players’ Tribune to hedge funds and law firms. This diversity and demand for the building also drive pricing.

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Speaker Event

Unique tenants like Security Industry Specialists, who secure some of the world’s largest clients and individuals, fell in love with Starrett-Lehigh. Its founder and CEO, John Spesak, states, “As a unique entity in the otherwise traditional security industry, it was important that we find a commercial partner and environment where we could showcase our brand, while embracing our strong company culture. We have created a one-of-a-kind workplace experience and forged an incredible relationship with the tenants and the RXR management team. Each continues to evolve and innovate while representing the very best the NYC commercial space has to offer. My only regret is not finding Starrett years prior.”

While the summer has been busy for the leasing team on expansions and new deals, Starrett-Lehigh is always looking to provide a better experience for its tenants. Currently, this includes reactivating 40,000 square feet on the ground floor for the first time in a century. “In the ever-evolving retail, dining, and event landscape, we feel like the Starrett Lehigh building offers the perfect palette to deliver something truly unique and authentic to the New York City market,” reflects Mitchell Friedel, executive vice president at Newmark Knight Frank. Sources close to RXR did not elaborate on whom they are in talks with, but they have hinted that the 11th avenue frontage will transform into a destination in and of itself.

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Vanessa Deleon, A Starrett Tenant

David Hollander, executive vice president at CBRE, comments, “The building embodies every aesthetic that creative tenants desire and RXR has upgraded the infrastructure to support today’s tenants’ needs.” However, the landlord also goes beyond the physical space to create a social community for its tenants. Reaching across active social media, digital spotlights with tenants at every company level and thoughtful work with artists, like The Selby (who collaborates with the likes of Nike, Fendi, Iris Apfel and Tom Wolf), Starrett-Lehigh speaks directly to the end user—the tenants that fill the building.

Aram Rappaport, founder of creative agency The Boathouse, admits, “We never thought we’d be able to afford a prestigious address catering to amazing brands like Martha Stewart, not to mention, find the perfect space to fit our unique agency and studio hybrid model.” Rappaport found that Starrett-Lehigh was the solution, further commenting, “after months of searching Manhattan, coming up short with buildings that felt too ‘old’ or weren’t equipped with space conducive for creatives,” Rappaport “pulled the trigger on Starrett the same day” he saw it and has “no plans of leaving ever!”

vanessa deleon sample sl prebuilt The Mothership: There Is Only One Starrett Lehigh
Starrett-Lehigh Prebuilt Sample

David Seabrooke, founder of Canoe Studios, perhaps sums it up best: “The building is a landmark and its location represents New York at its finest. The staff and leadership team understand my needs and do everything they can to help me and my company to realize our dreams in this space.”

At the end of the day, one may try to create a place that brings tenants of all stripes together, builds an internal mechanism for innovation and social impact, and fuels collaboration across top tier talent; but there is only one place to find this all under one roof. Owners can build the Starrett-Lehigh of Brooklyn, Queens, or anywhere for that matter, but there’s only one original.



Source: commercial

Mark Jaccom Leaves JRT for Newly Created Role at Walter & Samuels

Mark Jaccom, who started working at JRT Realty Group in April, has moved on to Walter & Samuels, Commercial Observer has learned. On Monday, he assumed a newly created position of director of leasing and brokerage at the 84-year-old real estate firm.

“Jaccom will focus on commercial assets under Walter & Samuels’ management, and develop a strategic brokerage and advisory services group for third-party landlords and tenants for the first time in the firm’s long history,” according to a press release.

Jaccom, 62, told CO that while he will be overseeing the four in-house leasing salespersons/brokers and assuming leasing assignments, of particular interest to him is “learning how to buy properties.” He added: “My whole [career] of 40 years I’ve been doing peddling for landlords. I want to own property. [Walter & Samuels Chairman] David [Berley] and I will start buying buildings together.”

Walter & Samuels, headquartered at 419 Park Avenue South between East 28th and East 29th Streets, manages 50 commercial properties spanning more than 3 million square feet in New York City.

Berley called the hiring “a growth move.” He said in prepared remarks: “As we continue to add new properties to our portfolio and build relationships with institutional owners, we want to be faster on our feet. While some companies become so big they’re hardly manageable, our size requires a powerful and responsive leasing department that adds value to our assets, third-party owners and tenants.”

As CO reported in April, Jaccom left  Cresa’s New York office to become a vice chairman at JRT. He wanted to go back into brokerage, he told CO at the time, but not at Cresa, because there he felt displaced. He stepped down from his role as president and managing principal at Cresa three months prior to become a vice chairman, working in a purely broker capacity and focusing on tenant representation. This was in response to the company consolidating its roughly 70 independent offices into one entity called Cresa Global, headquartered in Washington, D.C., via a company-wide restructuring. He felt he not longer “controlled the New York office.”

Jaccom suggested today that he saw the JRT move as temporary. He said he decided at the time to go to JRT “for a while and see how it works out.” It was essentially a part-time gig, which he said allowed him to “come and go as I please.” Meanwhile, he said he did “probably close to $2 million of business” in his short time there. His four-person JRT team, including Jaccom’s friend Howard Cross, a former Superbowl champion who was a tight end with the New York Giants and made the move from Cresa to JRT before Jaccom, is staying put. (Only his assistant went with him.)

Those deals include representing the Dedeona family in office leases at 2500 Halsey Street in the Bronx and representing law firm Loeb & Loeb in a Chicago transaction, which has yet to close.

With the move to Walter & Samuels, Jaccom said he’s “come full circle.”

Prior to Cresa, Jaccom was the chief executive officer of the tri-state region of Colliers International. And before that he was a principal at Julien Studley (now known as Savills Studley). Jaccom started as a broker at Coldwell Banker in 1979 in Long Island.

JRT CEO Jodi Pulice said it made sense for Jaccom to leave if he wanted to explore other aspects of the real estate business.

“We don’t do development,” she said. “We can’t invent development.”

But as for his time at JRT, Pulice said: “We really enjoyed having him work here. He’s really an energetic guy.”

Source: commercial