Print Edition Real Estate Stories: 7.15.09

Tenants leased 1.7 million square feet of office space in June, nearly triple May’s velocity. And while 3.7 million square feet of available space overall was added to the market in the second quarter, that’s a good deal less than the 5.7 million added in the first quarter of 2009. More here.

Late last month, the $51 million duplex penthouse at Trump Park Avenue quietly came off the market, a year after the Elliman broker Victoria Shtainer listed the 6,200-square-foot sprawl, and seven years since Mr. Trump bought the building. "We haven't sold it," Ms. Shtainer said this week. "The timing was not good, so I didn't get any offers."

That's the story with New York's most outstandingly lush real estate. Of the 10 properties that were asking over $45 million late last year, half are off the market without a sale, and only one has sold. But that listing, a Time Warner Center penthouse where the master bedroom suite has an office, his-and-her dressing rooms, his-and-her bathrooms, and a gym, sold for $37.5 million. Its original tag was $65 million. More here.

The 1948 Marshall Plan for Europe was approved with a four-year, $13 billion appropriation by Congress.

Lower Manhattan's four-year Marshall Plan, apparently, will need a refill. More here.

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The trend-defying Bonnier Corporation, the Swedish publisher of enthusiast magazines that has been on a buying binge in what is arguably the most treacherous media market ever, has reaffirmed its allegiance to midtown south, signing a 99,000-square-foot lease in the Art Deco 2 Park Avenue, where it is now a subtenant. More here.

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Going forward, if the Democrats in the long run control Albany, do landlords have political power beyond writing checks?

If they want to have a greater role in establishing policy on a statewide basis, they need to do more than write a check. … The reality is, you really need to fine-tune another party on those issues that matter, and if that’s the Independence line, or if that’s the creation of a taxpayer party, I think that’s the direction that they should consider. It’s not an easy thing to set up. It takes a while. More here.

Now, three months on, as a general consensus emerges that the commercial real estate market is nearing some sort of bottom, the scenery is beginning to shift.

Businesses are willing to think in decades.

A few examples: Comverse Technology recently signed a 10-year, 17,320-square-foot lease at SL Green’s 810 Seventh Avenue. Crawford & Co. just signed a 10-year, 10,370-square-foot lease at 55 Broadway. And Bangkok Bank Public Company just signed a 10-year, 9,316-square-foot renewal at 29 Broadway. More here.

PropertyShark.

Almost gone are the days when you will find Deborah Buck shlepping 1960s-era Italian ceramic lamps and Japanese bronze cachepots from Buck House, her antique shop at Madison and 91st Street, three blocks north to her salon, the Gallery at Buck House.

Ms. Buck—artist, antique purveyor, Dalton mother, Carnegie Hill resident and wife of philanthropist Christopher Buck—has just leased the ground floor, basement and garden at 1318 Madison, where she plans to combine both of her spaces into one big Buck House. More here.

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As Port Authority’s executive director, Chris Ward, spars with Mayor Bloomberg over World Trade Center financing, he’s plucking a top aide who has some experience in opposing City Hall.

Mr. Ward has hired Andrew Lynn, an experienced planner at Madison Square Garden who helped battle back the mayor’s West Side stadium plans. More here.

Sources tell us that T. J. Maxx is actively looking to plant a second store in Manhattan and has recently homed in on Wien & Malkin’s storefront retail at 250 West 57th Street (pictured), between Broadway and Eighth Avenue. The discount retailer has another outlet at 620 Avenue of the Americas, according to its Web site. More here.

Hiscox, the British indemnity firm that insures everything from fancy jewels to offshore oil platforms, has signed a new, 23,411-square-foot lease at 520 Madison, and will move in just as soon as landlord Tishman Speyer finishes building out the space. The lease for the 32nd floor lasts a whopping 15 years. CB Richard Ellis’ Laurence Briody and George Comfort & Sons’ Giorgio Versea represented Hiscox in negotiations with Tishman Speyer reps Calvin Farley and Megan Sheehan. More here.

PropertyShark.

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After two years and three near-sales, one of Park Avenue's most tortuously unfair real estate stories might finally be over. According to Stribling's Web site, the penthouse triplex at 895 Park Avenue, where the tag fell from $29.5 million in October 2007 to $15.5 million, is in contract.

But history hasn't been kind to the apartment, a place with 14 rooms, six bathrooms, four bedrooms, two bars and a petite internal elevator. Two years ago, a board-approved couple walked away from a contract because of a divorce, leaving their multimillion-dollar deposit behind. A second pair, the multibillion-dollar hedge fund manager Ricky Sandler and his wife, went to contract last year for just under $25 million, but were turned down by the building's co-op board. They ended up buying another Park Avenue place for $19 million. More here.

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