The World Trade Center site has been closed off from lower Manhattan and the rest of the city for 12 long years. But by this time next year, the site will be fully reintegrated back into the streetscape, and New Yorkers will reclaim the Downtown they once knew. It’s no coincidence that major developments at Read More
Last Thursday, Madison Square Garden debuted the final phase of its three-stage transformation process to the media. The arena has now been thoroughly transformed into a modern facility befitting its self-styled title as the World’s Most Famous Arena. The process, which added two bridges suspended above the event floor, was not without controversy. Many fans, especially those die-hards seated in the arena’s upper bowl, were concerned their sight lines would be obstructed by the innovative additions. The project’s head architect, Murray Beynon of BBB Architects, spoke with The Commercial Observer last week about concerns over the Chase Bridges and insights into the unique challenges presented by creating a modern arena inside a nearly 50-year-old structure.
Sixteen years after its founding, Taconic Investment Partners is banking on its legacy. Last month, the city chose a proposal from Taconic and collaborators (including L&M Development Partners, BFC Partners, SHoP and Beyer Blinder Belle) to reimagine the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, Manhattan’s largest swath of undeveloped land below 96th Street. The estimated $1.1 billion project on the Lower East Side near the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge will add 1.6 million square feet of commercial and residential space to a neighborhood neglected for nearly half a century.
Last week, The Commercial Observer spoke to Taconic Co-Chief Executive Officer Paul Pariser and Chief Investment Officer Kevin Davis in the firm’s office at 111 Eighth Avenue—Taconic sold the building to Google in 2010—about Essex Crossing at SPURA, the Meatpacking District and the company’s possible reinvestment in the Financial District. Read More
In July, Seth Pinsky, then the president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, announced he would soon shift from the public sector to the private sector. In his decade-long stint at the EDC, Mr. Pinsky boosted his reputation citywide by helping to secure a number of high-profile development projects, including Atlantic Yards, Hudson Yards and the Cornell Tech campus, and by initiating the response to areas of the city hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy. In his next chapter, Mr. Pinsky will spearhead RXR Realty’s Emerging Markets platform, which aims to identify growth opportunities in New York City and the surrounding metropolitan area. Mr. Pinsky, who joined RXR last month as executive vice president, spoke with The Commercial Observer last week at the developer’s Midtown offices and spent time discussing his tenure at the EDC and his new role.
David Sturner’s long tenure at Murray Hill Properties began in 1995, when the full services real estate company launched its asset and project management departments. But his roots at the firm go even deeper than that: Mr. Sturner’s father, Norman Sturner, is MHP’s president and chief executive. Since coming onboard, the younger Mr. Sturner, 46, has risen in the ranks. The onetime project management specialist now also oversees operations and asset management and two years ago was named chief operating officer. Mr. Sturner spoke to The Commercial Observer about the transformation of MHP, growing up in a real estate family and the quest for fortune over fame. Read More
Jim Phillips, founder of New York’s largest interior architecture firm, TPG Architecture, boasts more than 40 years of experience designing corporate office interiors. The firm’s client list reads like a who’s who of New York power players, including Silverstein Properties, Irving Place Capital, Condé Nast, SL Green and Digitas. By Mr. Phillips estimation, he walks through more than 1 million square feet of office space in New York per year, which allows him a unique perspective on the city’s building stock. While architects might be best known for their build-out work, TPG and other architects begin the process well before work begins. Mr. Phillips’s services include advising clients on the suitability of space, negotiations and budgets, evaluating the entire deal. Mr. Phillips spoke with The Commercial Observer about changing trends, the evolving demands of clients and some of the difficulties he has faced when evaluating space.
In June, the Moinian Group announced its plans for 3 Hudson Boulevard, a 1,000-foot-tall, 1.8 million-square-foot tower between West 34th and West 35th Streets in Hudson Yards. Designed by Dan Kaplan of FXFOWLE, the property will include 1.5 million square feet of office space, 22,000 square feet of retail and possibly as much as 300,000 square feet of residential space. The man behind the Moinian Group project is Oskar Brecher, the company’s vice president and director of development. Across the United States, Mr. Brecher and his team are involved with nearly 10 million square feet of development. The Commercial Observer spoke with Mr. Brecher at his firm’s 3 Columbus Circle office, where he described the 3 Hudson Boulevard project envisioned by the Moinan Group, headed by CEO Joseph Moinian. Read More
After establishing Brownstoner.com and the Brooklyn Flea, Jonathan Butler has expanded his Brooklyn empire into brick and mortar, acquiring 1000 Dean Street in a joint venture with BFC Partners and the Goldman Sachs urban investment group. The 140,000-square-foot commercial building in Crown Heights will open for occupancy on October 1 and is expected to welcome a mixture of artists, technology firms and nonprofits, offering lower-cost office space for Brooklyn’s entrepreneurial class. Mr. Butler spoke with The Commercial Observer outside his office in Dumbo last week, offering insight into his motivation for acquiring the property and his vision for the future. Read More
Earlier this year, Michael Kimmelman, the chief architecture critic at The New York Times since 2011, wrote a column addressing Madison Square Garden’s request that its special permit to operate an arena atop Penn Station be renewed in perpetuity. In it, Mr. Kimmelman suggested that the City Council grant the Garden a 10-year permit, enough time for the various stakeholders to plan for both a renovated Penn Station and a new location for Madison Square Garden. In a show of Mr. Kimmelman’s relative influence, the City Council did just that. Now the clock is ticking on finding a solution for the futures of both the “World’s Most Famous Arena” and the city’s busiest rail hub. Nicknamed “The People’s Critic” by New York magazine for his insightful focus on the New York Public Library, redevelopment after Hurricane Sandy and affordable housing, Mr. Kimmelman spoke with The Commercial Observer last week about the viability of a 10-year term and what can be done to convince stakeholders to come to the table. Read More
How does a small-town boy from Duxbury, Mass., predict what the next big neighborhood in New York will be? Albert Price, the newly named president and chief operating officer of Blesso Properties, has spent his 20-year career developing commercial, residential and multifamily properties in areas that he believes will be deemed the Big Apple’s next hot spot. The Commercial Observer spoke to Mr. Price, about the challenges of starting a new development and his excitement about a hotel project in Panama. Read More