Monday: Diddy at 'Dowdy' Fifth, Luxury In Chinatown, The Man at Ground Zero

The king of Fifth Ave [FWD]

  • The big news is that the Freedom Tower (far, faraway from completion) has a tenant for nearly half its space–1 million out of 2,600,000 square feet. That tenant is our kindly Big Bro–federal and state agencies like the NY Governor’s Office. The even bigger news is that this probably has more to do with “symbolism and politics” than the long-term welfare of WTC real estate. (New York Times)
  • Who has helped transform a “dowdy” section of Fifth Avenue into a soon-to-be wonderland of fashionable exclusivity? Diddy, aka Puff Daddy, aka Sean Combs, of course. His burgeoning Sean Jean retailer has upped the status of 500 Fifth–a building that is now forcing out its less trendy retail tenants in order to serve its growing upscale clientele. (Crain’s premium)
  • This week, The Post‘s omniscient Dear John column delves into everything you’ve ever wanted to know about real estate investment. The real lesson: “When the consensus is that real estate will never be a good investment again, that’s when it probably will be a good investment.” Invest away! (NY Post)
  • Chinatown has had some hard-luck years since 9/11— but luxury condominiums are coming to the rescue. Among the new crop is Hester Gardens (at Hester and Mott), and seven more posh developments are on the way. Penthouses have been going from $1.5-3 million, attracting even (take a breath) non-Chinese buyers. “This is either a renaissance,” says a local museum director, “or gentrification to the hilt.” (New York Times)
  • A teenager named Ben Passikoff had the genuinely brilliant idea to photograph the city’s “ghost signs” (those ancient facade advertisements for “steam power, garters [and] taxidermy.”) His book–the kid has a book–captures the happy, bygone days before LCD billboards and those illegally mammoth scaffolding ads. (NY Daily News)
  • Max Abelson