Print Edition Real Estate Stories: 8.5.09

Does your World Bar in the Trump World Tower still have a $50 drink with drops of liquid gold?

Yes, we do.

Isn’t it a precarious time to be a king of the New York cocktail lounge—sort of like being a top Hummer salesman?

Overall, it’s a very sophisticated city that’s been at the center of this kind of lifestyle situation forever. More here.

Switzerland’s largest bank—which this week posted an incredible $1.3 billion loss, its third consecutive quarter of waning profits—continues to shed excess office space in Manhattan.

Last week, UBS sublet 28,000 square feet at 299 Park Avenue to a firm called MarketAxess, which, according to its Web site, trades in exotic instruments like “emerging markets bonds” and “credit default swaps” for institutional investors. More here.

PropertyShark.

There are worse things in the world than getting $15 million instead of $23.5 million for your parents’ ancient, scruffy Upper East Side mansion after a juicier deal falls through. (Take, for example, the penthouse triplex at 895 Park Avenue, which was once listed for $29.5 million, but went to contract this summer for around $15 million after three other deals failed.)

But a $15 million townhouse sale can still be a nuisance. In March, The Observer reported on the near-deal for a 13,095-square-foot, 105-year-old mansion at 5 East 78th Street. The place, which had belonged to the late Adele Simpson, a fashion designer who dressed tidy postwar ladies like Pat Nixon, went to contract before last year’s Lehman collapse for $23.5 million, its full asking price. More here.

PropertyShark.

J Brand, the jeans company that claims responsibility for the first American-made, premium-label skinny jeans (which is kind of like openly claiming responsibility for neon leggings), has signed a five-year, 3,000-square-foot lease expansion at 275 West 39th Street, a garment-district building at the corner of Eighth Avenue. Asking rent: $35 a square foot. Congrats to the Kaufman Organization’s Grant Greenspan, who repped both J Brand and landlord Britex Associates in negotiations. More here.

PropertyShark.

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Poor Larry Silverstein. First the World Trade Center debacle. Now this.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which Silverstein Properties’ Web site touts as a marquee tenant at the nonprofit-heavy Art Deco masterpiece of a building at 120 Wall Street, has a lease out with a competing landlord.

The foundation, which specializes in funding research to cure Type 1 Diabetes (as the foundation’s name suggests, that’s the kind that tends to afflict children), has a lease out for nearly 50,000 square feet at 26 Broadway, a mere seven blocks west of the nonprofit’s current headquarters overlooking the East River. More here.

PropertyShark.

A mere five months after the New York Post reported that magazine giant Hachette Filipacchi might try to save on rent by leaving 1633 Broadway for more austere, smaller digs, Hachette has begun to narrow its options, according to a source familiar with the Elle publisher’s office hunt.

Hachette has about 280,000 square feet at its current location, but is on the market for something less than 250,000.

Among the options it’s considering: staying put at the Paramount Group’s 1633 Broadway; relocating to Worldwide Plaza (pictured) at 825 Eighth Avenue, the enormous and largely empty edifice recently bought by George Comfort & Sons; and moving to 777 Third Avenue, the William Kaufman Organization’s 38-story rascacielos at the corner of 49th Street. More here.

“A room full of slot machines in Yonkers has no sex appeal,” Steve Wynn told the Transom.

It was July 28, just before 6 p.m., and Mr. Wynn, of the eponymous Wynn Resorts, was relaxing in his attorney’s conference room on the 23rd floor of the New York Times building, following an exhausting day of lobbying city editorial boards.

By “a room full of slot machines,” Mr. Wynn was referring to Empire City at Yonkers Raceway, an unadorned symbol of what he will not build at the Queens Aqueduct in Ozone Park should he win the hotly contested development and slot-machine rights. The prize is worth billions of dollars over the 30-year lease, both to the state and to the developer. It would be Mr. Wynn’s first big New York City investment, and, he said, his first investment in a racino (part racetrack, part casino).

So why here? Why now? More here.

Getty.

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It’s the end of July, and for the brokerage community, that means one thing: Crain’s publishes its biannual list of Manhattan's top office leasing deals, using data from CoStar. Though, frankly, publishing the list this annus horribilis—and then writing about the publishing of the list—seems to border on the sadistic.

But hey! It’s our job!

Let's get the obvious out of the way. CB Richard Ellis, the city’s (and country’s) largest commercial brokerage firm, retained its position atop the heap, representing the tenant or landlord in 22 of the 50 biggest leasing transactions of 2009. As we said, that’s not surprising. Nor should we be surprised that the sum total of all 22 of those leasing transactions was pitifully small—but we were, because apparently we still retain some capacity for shock. Those 22 transactions totaled a mere 1.75 million square feet. This time last year, when CBRE also topped the list, its transactions totaled 4.9 million square feet.

In a market where everybody’s suffering, you find solace where you can. More here.

As Nigeria deals with gruesome violence between government troops and a strict Islamic sect, one of its prominent oilmen has apparently closed on three serious pieces of brand-name New York real estate.

Last month, neighboring apartments were bought under a trio of limited liability corporation names at the new Centurion condo on West 56th Street, the first New York residential project for lordly architect I. M. Pei since his massively underappreciated Silver Towers. In city records, the buyer for all three is listed as Tunde Folawiyo, whose father, Wahab, was called an icon of Nigerian industry when he died last year. The deals add up to $10.1 million, which bought a total of five bedrooms and 3,530 square feet. More here.

You can have it if you want it ... and have $105 million to spend.

The dun-colored, 23-story 475 Fifth Avenue, which lender Barclays Capital earlier this year took back from Westbrook Partners and embattled developer Joseph Moinian, is now quietly letting it be known that it will part ways with the office tower for the aforementioned sum, say industry sources.

Mr. Moinian and Westbrook closed on his purchase of the building on April 2, 2007, amid an epic buying spree, paying $160 million. More here.

PropertyShark.

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