The Week in Real Estate, September 29 – October 5

Durst Fetner’s Epic Earns LEED Gold
The Epic, a mixed-use building at 125 West 31st Street, became the second New York apartment building to achieve LEED Gold Certification. The property is 61 stories; includes room for 150 bicycles and a 12,000-gallon storm water storage tank; and houses the friary of Franciscans of the Holy Name Provence, the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge and 458 apartments. It is owned by Durst Fetner Residential. The Helena, also owned by Durst, is the only other residential building to earn LEED Gold voluntarily, in 2006.

Goldman’s Commercial Real Estate Warning
Goldman Sachs advised investors to avoid banks and insurance companies focused on commercial real estate, citing the severe downturn, according to Reuters. Appraisal values of commercial real estate nationwide have fallen 25 percent from 2007 peak levels, and Goldman expects values to fall 40 to 42 percent. Sales prices have fallen 39 percent, more than Goldman’s estimated 24 percent. Meanwhile, vacancy rates have risen 35 percent, greater than the projected 17 percent, and rents have fallen 9 percent. Goldman expects $287 billion in losses on commercial real estate and construction loans.

SL Green’s $215 M. Refi at 100 Park

SL Green is refinancing 100 Park Avenue for $215 million. The building, owned by SL Green in a joint venture with Prudential Real Estate Investors, will have a new mortgage provided by a bank group led by DekaBank, retiring the former $175 million mortgage. The transaction generates approximately $40 million in additional funds, which will complete development and leasing of the property. The financing is provided at a 6.64 percent fixed rate and matures in 2014.

Elghanayans Launch Management Company
Thomas and Frederick Elghanayan have launched TF Cornerstone Inc., an acquisition, development and management company. TF Cornerstone will oversee more than 6 million square feet of residential and commercial properties in Manhattan, Queens and Washington, D.C. The Elghanayan brothers began working together in 1970, and now manage more than 2 million square feet of commercial space.

$1 B. to Upgrade Apartment Buildings
The Community Preservation Corporation announced it will provide $1 billion in construction and mortgage loans to multifamily landlords, in order to fund energy efficient upgrades and retrofits. This includes $500 million available from Freddie Mac; $300 million from New York City and state employee pension funds; and $150 million from private lenders, including Deutsche Bank and HSBC. The program, CPC Green Initiative, seeks to increase electricity efficiency in existing apartment buildings by 20 percent.

A Go for Related’s 42nd Street Tower
Related Companies is going ahead with its rental, condo and hotel tower at 42nd Street and 10th Avenue. The 59-story property, announced in October 2008, will house Signature Theater Company. A Related spokeswoman said savings from labor, contractors and design will lower construction costs by as much as 25 percent. The company also had financing in place before the downturn, in part thanks to 163 below-market-rate apartments.

Law Firm Office Shuffle

Three law firms are each managing two separate offices after merging with other firms, reports the New York Law Journal. Bingham McCutchen acquired McKee Nelson in August, and moved lawyers, according to their specialty, between its offices at One Battery Park Plaza and 399 Park Avenue. Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal took over Thacher, Proffitt & Wood’s office at Two World Financial Center, and moved lawyers to its midtown office at 1221 Avenue of the Americas. Cozen O’Connor acquired 30 lawyers from WolfBlock, and now has offices at 45 Broadway and 250 Park Avenue.

My Suit Joins Madison’s Men’s Wear Row

My Suit, a custom men’s suiting store, signed a lease for 3,000 square feet at 360 Madison Avenue, joining a cluster of men’s wear stores in the neighborhood, Crain’s reported. My Suit will compete against Men’s Wearhouse, Brooks Brothers, Paul Stuart and JoS. A. Bank Clothiers. My Suit has two other locations, in Herald Square and Westchester, and is scouting Columbus Circle and Wall Street for more. The company credits $495 suits that take two weeks to manufacture for a small increase in sales. Young Byunn of Winick Realty represented My Suit. CB Richard Ellis represented the landlord.

The Week in Real Estate, September 29 – October 5