In This Week's [em]Observer[/em]…

Bloomberg Hits Up Real-Estate Bigs for WTC Memorial–$5 M. a Piece!
“One morning in early February, about a dozen of New York’s finest and wealthiest real-estate leaders convened to eat breakfast and hear why they should contribute to the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation. The place was Gracie Mansion. And the speaker was the man who, indirectly or directly, determines how high they can build and where–and, on certain, city-led projects, whether they can build at all: Mayor Mike Bloomberg.”
Go to story by Matthew Schuerman.

Developers Scramble As Spitzer Caps Financing
“Right as the big-spending Pataki administration gave way to the parsimonious Spitzer one, someone looked in the collection box and noticed that the state had run out of the ability to authorize cheap housing bonds. Now, developers will have to accept lower profits, change their plans–or fight back.”
Go to story by Matthew Schuerman.

Schrager to Bowery Hotel: Good Luck!
“Only four of the Bowery Hotel’s 17 floors have opened for business, but the fireplace in its whiskey-colored lobby already hisses. The thick velvet curtains are up, the over-worn Oriental rugs are down, there’s pricey booze in the back-room tavern and seven copies of The Times in the old-fashioned newspaper racks. But this isn’t the first Manhattan hotel to be so bucolic and erudite. Ian Schrager’s recently redone and fawningly received Gramercy Park Hotel stands 18 blocks northward, casting a tall, dark, and handsome shadow over its young competitor.”
Go to story by Max Abelson.

Is Caffeine More Important Than the Environment?
“On a recent Sunday morning in Greenwich Village, a half dozen patrons of Think Coffee waited in line to place orders for toasted bagels, cappuccinos and the like. Everything about the scene was wholly unremarkable, except for the flyers taped to the bar where customers collect their drinks: ‘Don’t Let NYU Drive Us Out of Business!!'”
Go to story by David Foxley.

Nielsen Company Says Good-Bye to Leg Room at 770 Broadway
“The Nielsen Company (formerly VNU Media) has abandoned a plan to move to downtown Brooklyn, but is close to shedding two floors at its Astor Place home at 770 Broadway, a spokesman confirmed.”
Aby Rosen Pays $30 M. for Noho Landmark Housing His ‘Chinese Balthazar’
“The flashy real-estate mogul Aby Rosen has purchased the Noho building that’s home to his sleek investment, The Chinatown Brasserie, for $30 million.”
Go to Commercial Breaks by John Koblin.

Manhattan’s Prophet of ‘Budget Chic’ Welcomes You to His New Hotels
“The refurbished Marrakech Hotel, located at Broadway and 103rd Street, represents a more upscale approach to lodging for owner Hank Freid. He calls it ‘budget chic,’ and it’s just the first phase of an ongoing, roughly $35 million upgrade of his Manhattan hotel properties–and maybe also of his own public image.”
Go to Counter Espionage by Chris Shott.

JFK Party Pad in Carlyle Hotel Goes for $12.5 M.
“Billionaire Karen Pritzker, heiress to the Hyatt hotel fortune, has expensive lodging tastes. According to city records, she paid $12.5 million this month for the lordly and infamous two-bedroom duplex penthouse at the Carlyle Hotel.”
Martha’s Daughter Pays $16 M. for Another Two at 165 Charles
“Alexis Stewart may have briefly lost her mother to the federal penal system, but she’s since been recompensed with copious name-brand waterfront real estate. According to city records, she’s paid $16 million for her fourth and fifth apartments at Richard Meier’s crystalline 165 Charles Street condo.”
Go to Manhattan Transfers by Max Abelson.

Demand Looks Good for Downtown Towers
“It’s looking good these days for downtown Manhattan to become one of the great commercial real-estate success stories of the next several years.”
Go to The Lab by Tom Acitelli.

‘In New York, Real Estate Is a Blood Sport’
“Craig Newmark opines about working with the NYPD and the City Council to combat real-estate fraud on Craigslist–and on why he’s never used it to find an apartment.”
Go to The Sit-Down by Matthew Schuerman.

The New York Private Library
“A private library is one of the age-old longings that, depending on the decade or century, have previously included moats, labyrinths, studios for painting people wearing turbans, swimming pools shaped like kidneys, rumpus rooms (with ping-pong or pool tables), decks and screening rooms.”
Go to Interiors by Toni Schlesinger.