The burgeoning brokerage Lee & Associates is adding more brokers, including another executive from the bankrupt real estate services company Grubb & Ellis, executives at the firm revealed.
Robert Kunikoff, a retail leasing executive at Grubb & Ellis, will be moving over to Lee & Associates starting this week the executives said.
A self-described car guy, Woody Heller, executive managing director and head of the Capital Transactions Group at Studley, sees parallels between automobiles as hard assets and commercial real estate investment sales velocity in New York. Apart from the obvious luxury to be found in cars and Class A buildings alike—his 33-million-square-foot transaction volume likely doesn’t include a jalopy—both markets have also lately been bolstered by similar factors.
“With debt available and with interest rates so incredibly low, it encourages one to buy because money is so cheap,” he said. “If the asset class is in favor compared with what much of the alternatives are—if borrowing costs are incredibly low—it continues to steer people to want to invest in hard assets like real estate.”
Greenwich, Connecticut-based Starwood Capital has brought in Blackstone as a partner to save its investment in the 1.7-million-square-foot Pacific Shores Center office complex in Redwood City, Calif. The partners are now looking for a $275 million mortgage to get rid of the property’s overdue debt.
Jazz at Lincoln Center is moving its offices to 3 Columbus Circle where it has just signed a deal for 30,653 square feet, The Commercial Observer has learned.
Empire Office, an office furniture dealer, will now have more breathing room after agreeing to expand its presence at 105 Madison Avenue.
Cautiously optimistic officials at the furniture dealer will be taking 26,700 square feet of space on the 14th and 15th floors of 105 Madison Avenue, where asking rents average $47 a square foot.
The new space will now be folded into the 10-year lease that Empire Office signed in 2010.
Mergers and Acquisitions
The popular Union Square eatery The Coffee Shop has renewed its retail lease at its long time home at 27 Union Square West and also office space it has upstairs in the building.
The deal totals about 20,000 square feet and stretches for ten-years, according to Eric Gural, an executive at the real estate services firm Newmark Knight Frank who oversees leasing at the property and whose family owns the nearly 50,000-square-foot box-shaped, boutique building.
Lease of the Week
BGC Partners announced late Monday night that the firm, which last year expanded into the real estate services business by buying Newmark Knight Frank, is further growing in the industry by acquiring the California based company Grubb & Ellis.
When Take-Two Interactive, the video game giants behind such popular and violently lurid titles as Grand Theft Auto and Max Payne, had a few years remaining on its lease at 622 Broadway, the landlord, Yuco Management, found itself in a curious position.
Should Yuco Management aggressively market the 69,000 square feet of space Take-Two had called its own since 2002, thereby losing its anchor tenant? Or should it do anything it could to keep Take-Two, which had in some ways branded 622 Broadway as a distinctly hip and colorful office building, especially with its endless parade of behooded video game designers and executives?
“It’s the unique building where people don’t wear suits and ties and ride bicycles to work with their dogs,” said William Cohen, an executive vice president and principal at Newmark Knight Frank, who was hired alongside colleague Mark Weiss by Yuco Management to help decide the next best move. “I’m not kidding,”
When the nonprofit Common Ground chose to shed aging space on the 15th floor of 505 Eighth Avenue, the affordable housing advocates tapped Cassidy Turley brokers to find space, and, subsequently met with agency rep Allen Gurevich of Newmark Knight Frank, who showed the group 12,000 square feet on the building’s fifth floor.
More challenging for Common Ground, however, was building out a new, state-of-the-art space despite the budget constraints of a typical nonprofit. To achieve its requirements, officials at Common Ground turned to Marc Gordon, a partner at architecture firm Spacesmith, to do more with less.
After the jump, Messrs Gurevich and Gordon review the new floor plans with The Commercial Observer and explain why, exactly, Common Ground chose to relocate to the fifth floor last week.
Pace University has renewed its 32,707-square-foot lease at the downtown office building 156 William Street, sources have told The Commercial Observer.
The university will lease the building’s entire fifth floor and a portion of the eighth. Asking rents at the property, a 190,000-square-foot building owned by Capstone Equities, are in the $30s per square foot.