Ad Dearth Dooms Times’ Special Commercial Real Estate Section

breaksaddearth 0 Ad Dearth Dooms Times Special Commercial Real Estate SectionNew York real estate is so beleaguered that it can’t support a one-time commercial real estate section in The New York Times. According to sources, the Gray Lady has scrapped plans to publish a stand-alone commercial real estate section, dubbed the “Commercial Real Estate Annual Review,” on Nov. 18, due to a lack of ad revenue.

Charles Bagli, New York Times real estate reporter extraordinaire (and onetime Observer staffer), was tapped to write the section’s cover story, which was to focus on the industry elite and how the economic crisis would affect its makeup. Mr. Bagli, who was to be paid separately for the story, was even used as a marketing tool by The Times’ ad department.

“On November 18, The New York Times will publish a stand-alone news section dedicated to commercial real estate,” read an e-mail sent by a Times marketer to an industry insider on Sept. 23. “The section promises to take a broad and glamorous approach to the real estate industry with a lead feature written by The New York Times’ Charles Bagli. … Visually appealing and editorially compelling, the first-ever Commercial Real Estate Annual Review is an important and exciting opportunity for the real estate industry.”

But not important enough, apparently. The week before last, the plans for the section were canned, though the paper might give it another go next year.

“That section was planned many months ago, and given the current economic conditions, we decided it would be better to postpone it until sometime next year when the markets pick up,” said Stacy Green, a spokeswoman for The Times.

One industry source noted the unfortunate timing:

“You have to take a step back and think, ‘Well, no one is advertising right now, so why would they advertise in a special section?’”

drubinstein@observer.com