Since it started with a roll call of 27 members in 1896 with the goal of “facilitating transactions in real estate,” the Real Estate Board of New York has indisputably been the city’s most influential real estate organization, with its annual gala being to brokers what the Vanity Fair Oscar party is for Hollywood: If you’re there, it means you’re somebody.
Sure, some may lovingly write it off as a veritable men’s club (men are thought to outnumber women five to one), chide it as “The Liar’s Ball” (each year is a broker’s best year, no matter how wretched the marketplace) and speak ill of the food (nearly everyone avoids the chicken and filet mignon).
But the REBNY gala is as essential to a real estate person’s reputation and status as the buildings and bricks he works with. A dozen of the city’s most legendary players spoke to The Commercial Observer about the blurry nights and boom years that helped make the event what it is today.
It’s ICSC week in New York City and while many in the retail business consider the event secondary to the larger conference held by the organization in Las Vegas each May, for many Manhattan real estate brokers, the conference is the most important of the year—and not necessarily just because of its jam-packed daytime roster of speakers and seminars.
In establishments from the New York Times’s four-star-rated Del Posto to the Dream Hotel in Lower Manhattan, buttoned-up retail brokers will be wining and dining potential clients during a two-day orgy of after-hour soirees, dinners and suds-soaked meetings, all designed with the deal in mind.
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.”
The Lease Beat
Fancy French fashion powerhouse Perrin Paris will be launching its first flagship New York City store at the Carlyle Hotel, The Commercial Observer has learned.
The century-old, family-run luxury leather goods company–founded in 1893, to be exact–will rub elbows with fellow swanky retailers Vera Wang, Stubbs & Wootton and Yves Delorme Linens at the 987 Madison Avenue hotel.
If Madison Avenue could get any tonier, Faith Hope Consolo would be the person to do it.
“We’re redoing the whole block,” the boisterous broker told The Observer, referring to the Consolo & Aquino assignment at 1225 Madison Avenue. Working with the co-op board, Ms. Consolo decided to take the four existing stores, many of whose leases had expired, and chop them up into six smaller boutiques of roughly 1,000 square feet each, though the two corner stores are larger at 1,500 square feet a piece. “It’s very European,” Ms. Consolo said. “They’re little jewels, it’s very jewel-like. It’s a little Left Bank.”
Tales of Retail
Marty Markowitz spent yesterday griping about the lack of an Apple store in his beloved Brooklyn. Worry all you want about the chainification of the tragically hip borough—The Observer certainly does—but there’s no stopping the un-gentrifiable Fulton Mall, as it is poised to pick up another national chain. And, no, it’s not a Shake Shack wannabe.
All About the Pesos
Carlos Slim has a thing for New York properties, from fancy mansions to middling office buildings–even a publication or two will do. With all that, you’d think the guy would need a base of operations here. And now he has one.
The big Mr. Slim just paid $15.5 million for the Read More
Employment numbers might still be shakey and shopping malls are reportedly on the permanent wane, but there’s more to celebrate in Vegas this year than Celine Dion’s triumphant return tour. “We’re a nation of shopaholics,” said Prudential Douglas Elliman’s Faith Hope Consolo. Indeed, this year’s International Council of Shopping Centers is poised to be the Read More
The much-watched Canadian retailer that recently landed on Fifth Avenue with a splash of red and white, is opening its second New York City location, multiple sources told The Observer.
Joe Fresh, a Gap-lite clothing line most commonly found in Canadian grocery stores, is moving into the former Esprit space at 110 Fifth Avenue in the Flatiron district. The roughly 15,000-square-foot space Read More
Fun With Panels
Connie Milstein was in a tough spot when once she was asked about the challenge of being part of a prominent real estate family. “A lot of what Connie said was not suitable for TV or radio or anywhere,” said Faith Hope Consolo, who recounted the story at last night’s “The Women Leading NY’s Real Read More