The investment sales market, most brokers agree, has been heating up over the past 12 months. Approximately $25.8 billion in commercial properties changed hands last year, a turnaround that represented an 88 percent increase over 2010. But while the positive uptick is easily verifiable, what happens next for Manhattan’s investment sales market is still up in the air.
Accordingly, The Commercial Observer set out to speak with the real estate industry’s most accomplished capital markets and sales practitioners to learn what’s in store for 2012. Over the next several days, we’ll post interviews with heavy hitters like Richard Baxter of Jones Lang LaSalle, J.D. Parker of Marcus & Millichap, Darcy Stacom and William Shanahan of CBRE and Peter Hausperg of Eastern Consolidated. But, first, after the jump, none other than Woody Heller of Studley.
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.”
Venture capital firm FirstMark Capital landed in a veritable hornets nest of digital activity after it agreed to a 10-year lease at 100-104 Fifth Avenue, a tech-trendy building that already has Apple and Yelp
as one of its many social media tenants.
“For us, we had to do something different,” said Donald Trump Jr. last week, his voice rising with excitement.
Freshly tanned from a recent visit to Mexico, where he was overseeing a new project, the slicked-back scion grew steadily more enthusiastic as he discussed 40 Wall Street, an office tower that, with its rising and falling tenant roster, has contributed to the Trump Organization executive vice president’s growing reputation as a competent steward of the family name, a reliable fixer and successful dealmaker in his own right.
Speeches were casually ignored, drinks were spilled and bonds were formed at last Thursday’s 116th annual Real Estate Board of New York Gala, which this year drew an estimated 2,000 brokers, owners, advertising buyers and real estate reporters to the New York Hilton for an evening of conviviality, honorifics and hushed deal making. Among the fray was Commercial Observer staff writer Daniel Geiger, who during the course of the evening saw his stenopad tossed by an irate real estate broker and who unabashedly accosted Studley’s Woody Heller in the hotel’s bathroom, all for the sake of the story. Below, a timeline of gala comings and goings, from the innocuous gossip down to the downright obnoxious.
Lease of the Week
It’s not uncommon to hear Manhattan’s real estate market characterized as sophisticated or complex.
Not every day, however, does a requirement as straightforward as Dentsu McGarryBowen’s uncork such an elaborate and interconnected series of transactions as it did at the Starrett-Lehigh Building.
A longtime tenant in the 2.3-million-square-foot building and one of the property’s largest users, the advertising firm needed to expand. But there was a small problem: Despite its size, the building—an artsy, far West Side location popular among creative tenants—had virtually no available space.
To seasoned retail brokers, the very concept of the next big neighborhood in a city that has been developed several times over is, well, naïve. Still, as The Commercial Observer recently learned, most are still looking for a reason to believe.
The weekly phone calls. The dinner invites. The gifts.
When representatives from Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, waltz into the New York Hilton for this year’s two-day International Council of Shopping Centers conference, many of the city’s most intrepid retail brokers will be close behind them, perhaps even plying those officials with compliments, dinner invitations and business opportunities.
In September, retail brokerage veteran Patrick Breslin joined Studley as executive vice president of East Coast Retail Services, a division that, until now, the international real estate firm never had reason to focus on. The former president of Grubb & Ellis’s U.S. retail division and a retail broker at CBRE, Mr. Breslin, 50, spoke about his strategy at the International Council of Shopping Centers this week, his goals for Studley’s new East Coast Retail division and father Jimmy Breslin’s views on commercial real estate.
The Lease Beat
Credit Agricole has renewed approximately 350,000 square feet at 1301 Avenue of the Americas in one of the largest leases to get done in the second half of 2011.