Best Laid Plans
One of the more onerous aspect’s of developing in New York City is the public review process, known as ULURP, a seven-month gauntlet of meetings and votes and editorializing about one’s baby. But just as troublesome can be the act of getting to ULURP, a pre-certification process at the Department of City Planning that can take months, and sometimes even years, as city officials and planners get a project into the shape they want it and running environmental and economic analysis on the project.
The city just popped an aspirin on this development headache, or rather an Aleve, for a new program known as BluePRint, the Business Process Reform. It is meant to streamline the pre-certification process, Deputy Mayor Robert Steel announced at an ABNY breakfast this morning.
The owners of 114 Fifth Avenue are exploring a sale of the building or a possible leasehold interest in the property sources say.
The approximately 340,000-square-foot midtown south building is held by an anonymous family owner, people familiar with the property said. The building will likely require a substantial infusion of cash in the near future, a factor that is perhaps prompting the offering.
Two years ago this month, CBRE tristate chief executive Mary Ann Tighe rattled cages when the Real Estate Board of New York named her its first female chairwoman in the 116-year-old organization’s history. During those 24 months, the former TV executive—yes, she helped launch cable channel A&E—helped renew the 421a tax exemption program, oversaw passage of the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act, and shepherded a series of projects meant to fuel construction across New York. Throughout those lobbying efforts, she managed to tally what she described as the second-most successful year of leasing in her career. Last week, REBNY’s first lady spoke to The Commercial Observer about her achievements thus far as chairwoman, the complications behind her deals for Condé Nast, Coach and Young & Rubicam, and what to expect at this year’s gala.
It was a typical evening at the Real Estate Board of New York’s annual gala as John Cardinal O’Connor stepped up to the dais to address a crowd of several thousand of the city’s most ambitious commercial real estate brokers and owners.
But in a ritual repeated more or less each year, the archbishop of the New York archdiocese’s 2.37 million Catholics and one of the Vatican’s most forceful spokesmen in the United States during the 1980s, was summarily ignored by a brokerage community far more interested in making deals than in hearing the Gospel.
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.
Luxury handbag stalwart Coach will relocate its offices to the Hudson Yards, scooping up approximately one-third of the planned south office tower as a commercial condo in a deal that will give the New York City-based company approximately 600,000 square feet.
Coach will move its corporate headquarters and consolidate three New York City offices into the building by 2015. The 1.8 million-square-foot tower, at the northwest corner of West 30th Street and Tenth Avenue, is one of 14 residential, commercial and retail assets envisioned by the Related Companies at its far West Side development site.
Last month, CB Richard Ellis Investors sold its remaining 51 percent stake in 1540 Broadway, the iconic, 42-story property also known as the Bertelsmann Building. For the buyers—Edge Fund Advisors and HSBC Alternative Investments Limited—the deal marks the final chapter in an acquisition grab that began last year when the joint venture took a 49 percent nonmanaging member stake. Mark Keller, Edge’s chief executive and chairman, spoke to The Commercial Observer about the investment strategy and plans to expand his company’s reach from the nation’s capital to the Big Apple.
Big Real Estate
Crain’s is out with its 50 Most Powerful Women in New York list, and CB Richard Ellis regional CEO and Real Estate Board of New York chair Mary Ann Tighe takes the top spot.
And you know exactly why.
Yesterday afternoon, the predictable assortment of pols, real estate brokers and media were in attendance for the epic, inevitable signing of Condé Nast’s lease at 1 World Trade Center. The John Hancocks only stoked the expectations for downtown’s further recovery.
On a conference call after the signing with CB Richard Ellis’ Mary Ann Tighe, who represented the tenant, she Read More
All you creative young things eager to make it in the big city, Patti Smith has a suggestion: get out.
“New York has closed itself off to the young and struggling,” Ms. Smith said. “New York City has been taken away from you … So my advice is: Find a new city.” She Read More