In This Week's [em]Observer[/em]…

AIG Takes Risk in Big Downtown Lease
“If 2006 was a year that confirmed downtown’s renewed relevance, then what a way to finish. In one of the largest deals of last year, the insurance giant AIG has signed a 250,000-square-foot lease at Financial Square at 32 Old Slip.” Go to Commercial Breaks by John Koblin.

East Village Cafe Pairs Books with Booze
“Like countless locales around the city, the new Rapture Cafe & Books at 200 Avenue A had thrown a New Year’s Eve party, complete with champers and other alcohol–despite the fact that Rapture doesn’t have a liquor license. Yet.” Go to Counter Espionage by Chris Shott.

Shvo Goes Downtown in Latest Condo Buy
“Star real-estate broker Michael Shvo already has quite a portfolio of apartments in Manhattan–and not just to sell. Though he already owns several, he’s just bought himself a new apartment at 15 Broad Street, a new condo with the chic moniker ‘Downtown by Philippe Starck.’ (What’s with the building names that sound like book-report titles?)” Go to Manhattan Transfers by Max Abelson.

Developers Vie for Javits Hotel Subsidies
“Some of the biggest real estate names, locally and nationally, are drawing up plans for a 70-story hotel across the street from the Javits Center in the West Side’s emerging Hudson Yards district, contemplating such revenue enhancers as luxury condos and retail boutiques to make the building work for them. They’re also trying to figure out how much public subsidy they can get away with asking for.” Go to story by Matthew Schuerman.

Take a Look Back at Manhattan Real Estate in ’07
“The Manhattan real-estate market can be as predictable as the changing of the years. Historical trends grip the various markets–hotel, housing, office, investment sales–and hold tight year in and year out, with little variation. So we’re going to go way out on a limb, this first week of January, and fast-forward 12 months to gaze back at the 2007 Manhattan real-estate market.” Go to The Lab by Tom Acitelli.

Sign up for The Observer‘s weekly real estate news email blast. In This Week's [em]Observer[/em]…