With great fanfare, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced the other day that he will conduct an audit of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s ventures into real estate development. Specifically, the comptroller seems wary of a deal that the MTA cut with Apple, which is due to open a new store in Grand Central Terminal in the coming days.
Oversight of agencies like the MTA is always a good thing. The transit agency’s books have been the subject of endless controversy in recent years as great gaps appeared in its budgets. Mr. DiNapoli’s enthusiasm, then, is not such a bad thing.
But the comptroller should proceed with great care here.
Planes Trains & Automobiles
This time next Friday—actually, starting sometime around Monday probably—the fan boys will begin lining up in Grand Central Terminal to be the first into the new Apple Store when it opens Dec. 9.
Will they care whether Apple is paying $60 per square foot, or $80, or $180? Probably not. But State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli cares, and yesterday, his office announced they would do an audit of the M.T.A.’s real estate practices, following up on one from last year, to make sure the transit agency is not cutting anybody—Apple, Danny Meyer, their mother—a sweetheart deal.
To which the M.T.A.’s response is: “Bring it on.”
With all the fan boy excitement surrounding the new Apple Store at Grand Central, it is no surprise the shiny glass bauble was able to land a sweetheart deal for the space. Now, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is probing Apple’s lease with the M.T.A., according to the Post, looking for signs of whether or not there was anything untoward about the deal.
The Lease Beat
As the old adage goes, you only have one chance to make a first impression.
For Infor, a business software company whose roster of 70,000 clients – Saab, AB World Foods, Foxwood Casinos, et al – are far more recognizable than they are, moving into New York City’s growing tech market is as good as telling the world you’re ready to play with the big boys.
Infor signed a long-term lease at 641 Avenue of the Americas, an eight-story building owned by Atlas Capital Group, officials announced earlier today.
Hotel legend Ian Schrager announced yesterday that his newly-formed PUBLIC brand will be teaming up with residential developers Durst Fetner Residential to launch a new hotel/rental apartment hybrid on 855 Sixth Avenue. Called PUBLIC New York, the 250-plus key New York hotel will be Mr. Schrager’s second site in his PUBLIC brand since unveiling PUBLIC Chicago in September. The building will also feature 60,000 square feet of retail and 315 rental apartments. Fresh from a recent trip to Chicago, Mr. Schrager spoke with The Commercial Observer yesterday about the design of PUBLIC New York, the status of the Clock Tower building, and his love for all things Apple and Trader Joe’s.
Tales of Retail
It is a POPS done right.
The Apple Cube on Fifth Avenue managed to transform a windswept plaza at one of the busiest intersections in Manhattan into a destination known the world over—one that became a shrine to its creator when Steve Jobs passed away earlier this week. The Journal‘s Eliot Brown (an Observer alum!) talked with reclusive developer Harry Macklowe about how the cube came to be. Like all things Apple, it wasn’t his idea but Jobs’.
Apple founder Steve Jobs died today at 56 years old. Mr. Jobs’s battle with cancer that forced him to take a hiatus from, rejoin, and then relinquish his post as the head of Apple was well-documented in the press. Apple’s press release, right here, via Yahoo Finance:
Print to Pixels
Amazon has taken great pains to assure consumers that its forthcoming tablet device will not only rival the iPad in technology but also in content. All Things D reports that Amazon has already cut deals with Conde Nast, Hearst and Meredith to offer magazine subscriptions and today the company announced a deal with Twentieth Century FOX that allows all Amazon prime members to stream FOX videos and movies. Presumably this will carry over to the new tablet — you can watch Mrs. Doubtfire sitting on the subway! Hurrah.
More importantly, however, Apple’s dominance in digital magazine apps will likely be broken, and publishers are salivating at the prospect of a duopoly. Will Amazon strike a subscription deal with Time, Inc., a feat that Apple has yet to accomplish? Will this give magazine publishers the power to re-negotiate the 30 percent cut retailers traditionally take for magazine apps?
“You’ve got beauty and design with Apple, which we love,” a publisher tells All Things D. “But with Amazon you have marketing, and ease of use. We’ve very optimistic.”
In June, The Observer celebrated Pride Week by publishing a list of New York’s most powerful gay men and women; we didn’t include now-newly-minted Apple CEO Tim Cook, as his base seems to be Cupertino. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t suit our other criteria. As we wrote in June, “gay power seems more Read More
The forthcoming biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, once known as iSteve and now called Steve Jobs: The Biography, will include Mr. Jobs’ resignation from Apple, reports PC World.