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$225 Million Mixed-Use Tower to Revitalize Downtown Jamaica

10 Mar 2014, 4:01 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Greater Jamaica Development Corp. has plans for a mixed-use tower that is expected to revitalize an underdeveloped site at 93-01 Sutphin Boulevard and the corner of Archer Avenue, near the Jamaica AirTrain Station area and across from the Long Island Rail Road station.

93-01 Sutphin Boulevard - Jamaica, Queens

93-01 Sutphin Boulevard – Jamaica, Queens

According to the Queens Time Ledger, the new high-rise will be developed on land owned by Greater Jamaica and will replace a Duane Reade store which has a lease running through 2018 with an option to renew until 2023.

Dubbed Site 6, the $225 million project will mark the largest private investment in this Queens neighborhood and will be part of the city’s redevelopment efforts to revitalize its downtown area. The 22-story tower will be built by the New York-based BRP Companies, the developer behind Macedonia Church Development Corp.’s 143-unit affordable rental building at 37-08 Union Street.

Reportedly, the tower project will have 400 apartment units, a fitness center for residents and a roof deck. The 80,000-square-foot street level retail space will most likely be occupied by grocery stores. The site is included in New York City’s Food Retail Expansion to Support Health program, which means grocery store operators and/or developers seeking to construct or renovate retail spaces in underserved communities are eligible for up to 20,000 square feet in additional development rights, as well as financial incentives and tax exemptions.

According to the source, in June 2012 Greater Jamaica issued a request for proposals to revitalize the Jamaica neighborhood. A list of redevelopment projects was announced since that time, including a 26-story hotel with 210 rooms that will be constructed south of the AirTrain station.


Image via Google Maps

Hotel 373 and the Historic Waldorf Astoria in Midtown Manhattan May Hit the Market

3 Mar 2014, 4:15 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Hersha Hospitality Trust, a self-advised real estate investment trust that owns and manages around 8,000 hotel rooms in 50 hotels in urban gateway markets across US, recently announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell the Hotel 373 located in Midtown Manhattan to an unnamed offshore investment fund.

Hotel 373 - Fifth Avenue, Midtown Manhattan

Hotel 373 – Fifth Avenue, Midtown Manhattan

A statement announcing the transaction reveals the 70-room European-style boutique hotel is valued at $37 million or nearly $529,000 per key and $1,680 per square foot, which highlights Manhattan’s sizzling real estate market and underscores the quality and value of Hersha’s hotel portfolio in New York City. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014, the company announced.

 “We believe the sale of Hotel 373 will narrow the gap between the private and public market value of the Company’s real estate,” stated Jay H. Shah, Hersha’s chief executive officer. “The transaction is a strong indication of continuing domestic and international interest from public and private groups seeking to acquire cash flowing real estate in top U.S. gateway markets. We remain optimistic regarding the long-term prospects of the New York City hotel market, but we will continue to search for opportunities to divest high-yielding, stabilized assets and to redeploy the proceeds into higher growth opportunities or to pursue stock buyback opportunities at periods when the stock price does not appropriately reflect value,” he added.

The Waldorf Astoria – 301 Park Avenue, Midtown Manhattan

According to a property report from PropertyShark.com, the eight-story building located at 373 Fifth Avenue was constructed in 1906.

In further Midtown Manhattan hospitality news, Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. may sell a stake in the historic Waldorf Astoria hotel or possibly the entire property. In an interview with Bloomberg, Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta said that the company is evaluating how the property could be repositioned, as Hilton is considering residential, office and retail uses for the luxury hotel located at 301 Park Avenue. Nassetta stressed that Hilton would continue to operate the Waldorf Astoria—which is one of the largest hotels in New York City—after any sale.

Opened in 1931, the 47-story Art-Deco structure was designed by Schultze and Weaver Architects. Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. acquired the 1,232-room hotel in 1972.

Image of Hotel 373 via PropertyShark.com; Image of the Waldorf Astoria via Facebook

LargaVista and Related Team Up to Create Mixed-Use Building in SoHo

17 Feb 2014, 5:41 pm

Rendering of 300 Lafayette Project in SoHo, Manhattan

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

A former BP gas station and two other derelict buildings at the corner of Houston and Lafayette streets in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood, will be replaced by 300 Lafayette, a boutique office and retail building by a joint venture between LargaVista Companies and Related Cos.

“By joining forces with Related, we are introducing an exceptionally strong financial partner with proven expertise in delivering world-class properties like 300 Lafayette,” Marcello Porcelli, president of largaVista, commented in a press statement. “This project will benefit tremendously from Related’s wealth of experience in building and leasing some of the most complex projects and demanding designs in major markets throughout the globe,” he added.

Rendering of 300 Lafayette Project in SoHo, Manhattan

The gas station site, which has been owned by LargaVista since 1976, was designated as part of the SoHo Cast Iron Historic District Extension by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission because of its prominent location at SoHo’s retail gateway. According to The Real Deal, LargaVista recently paid $5 million for the two adjacent buildings (a bar and a former mechanic’s garage) that will be demolished to make room for the new building.

Designed by COOKFOX Architects as a seven-story building featuring floor-to-ceiling glazing set in terra-cotta and limestone frames with generous outdoor spaces and landscaped terraces, the $200 million development project was unanimously approved by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission in April 2013. When completed in 2015, 300 Lafayette will offer 53,000 square feet of office space and 30,000 square feet of retail space.

Renderings courtesy of COOKFOX Architects

Renovation and Rebranding Announced for Holiday Inn New York City Midtown

8 Feb 2014, 9:06 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

The existing Holiday Inn hotel located at 30-32 West 31stStreet in New York City’s Midtown District is set to be converted into a new Hyatt-branded hotel, as Chesapeake Lodging Trust appointed a Hyatt affiliate to oversee the $6 million renovation and rebranding process.

Holiday Inn New York City 30-32 West 31st Street

“We are very pleased to expand our relationship with Hyatt, by way of up-branding the hotel to the upper-upscale market position in the vibrant midtown area of Manhattan. Hyatt Herald Square will mark our sixth Hyatt property in our growing portfolio of high-quality assets throughout the key markets of North America,” said James L. Francis, Chesapeake Lodging Trust’s president and chief executive officer, in a press statement.

The renovation project is expected to begin in August and be completed by the end of September 2014, during which time the hotel operations will be closed. Paul Vega, founder of VLDG designs of New York, was tapped to develop the redesign of the 20-story building which will use the hotel’s surrounding Herald Square area and the nearby Fashion District as sources of inspiration.

According to a press release from Chesapeake Lodging Trust, a self-advised real estate investment trust focused on investments in upper-scale hotels in key markets across the United States, the reconversion plans include a complex renovation to each of the hotel’s 122 guestrooms, as well as a renovated and upgraded lobby and social spaces on the first floor.

According to Hotel Management, the 60,270-square-foot structure was completed in 2011 by Heena Hotel LLC which later that year sold it to Annapolis, MD-based Chesapeake Lodging Trust  for a reported $52.2 million, or roughly $428,000 per room.


Image via Intercontinental Hotels Group

Mashable Signs 38 KSF Lease to Relocate to 114 Fifth Avenue

25 Jan 2014, 8:30 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor


Mashable logo

Mashable, the mega-popular tech and social news blog founded in 2005 by Pete Cashmore—yes, the cool entrepreneur who made it to Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list—struck a deal with L&L Holding Company for 38,580 square feet of space at the newly renovated 114 Fifth Avenue in Midtown South.

With the current lease at 304 Park Avenue South set to expire this year, the news-hub has been on the lookout for a possible location for a new headquarters in Manhattan ever since November, The Real Deal reported. The new lease agreement, which has a termination date in 2024, was brokered by CBRE’s Sacha Zarba, Chris Corrinet and

114 Fifth Avenue office tower

Scott Bogetti who represented Mashable, and L&L Holding Company’s David Berkey and Andrew Wiener. According to an announcement released by L&L, Mashable will occupy the entire 14th and 15th floors in the 20-story office tower, more than double the space it currently occupies at 304 Park Avenue South. The news-hub will most probably relocate to the new headquarters in August, as soon as renovations are completed at the office building.

“We’re proud to welcome Mashable to 114 Fifth Avenue, which is widely acknowledged as an emerging new Silicon Alley hotspot,” stated L&L Chairman and CEO David Levinson. “Given the high demand and tight vacancy rate in Midtown South, we expect our leasing program to move swiftly,” he added, noting that L&L is currently in negotiations with a number of other tenants for the balance of the building.

Completed in 19101, 114 Fifth Avenue was designed and built by Mayniche & Franke. The building along with a 99-year leasehold was acquired in January 2013 for $165 million by a joint venture between L&L and private equity firm Lubert-Adler, The Real Deal said. Shortly after the transaction was closed, the new owners embarked on a complex renovation and upgrade process that will boast new infrastructure, a new lobby, elevators and green roof that will serve as a tenant amenity.


Image via 1145thavenue.com

Magnum/40 North J-V to Develop Student Housing in Manhattan

24 Jan 2014, 5:55 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

The School of Visual Arts, one of the largest independently regionally accredited art colleges in the country, will add a new dormitory building to its campus in the Kips Bay neighborhood of Manhattan. The Real Dealreports that the 14-story residence hall will be developed by a joint venture between Magnum Real Estate Group and 40 North Properties, a local development company focused on commercial and residential developments across the five New York City boroughs.

School of Visual Arts Dormitory at 407 First Avenue on 24 Street

Set to occupy an existing parking lot of 4,200 square feet at 407 First Avenue on 24 Street, the building was designed by Ismael Leyva Architects as an L-shaped structure that will allow the construction of a six-story wing on First Avenue. Reportedly, construction at the 147,000-square-foot residence hall will start in spring 2014 with a completion date set for the beginning of the fall semester 2016.

Once open, the new School of Visual Arts residence hall will provide over 500 dormitory beds within 242 suites. The building will also include administrative and faculty offices, as well as a public terrace on the seventh floor.

“We will design a comfortable living environment for students in a functional building, keeping in context with the surrounding neighborhood,” said Ismael Leyva, AIA, president, Ismael Leyva Architects, in a press statement.

According to The Real Deal, the Magnum/40 North partnership acquired the development site in April 2013 for $32.25 from the nonprofit International Center for the Disabled.

Rendering credits: Ismael Leyva Architects

Triangle Equities’ $200 Million Lighthouse Point Adds to Staten Island Wave of Developments

10 Jan 2014, 7:28 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor


Lighthouse Point project rendering – St. George, Staten Island

Queens-based Triangle Equities is finally moving on with one of the largest mixed-use projects to be developed on the North Shore of Staten Island since Hurricane Sandy hit the area. Though the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) green lighted the development plans in early 2007, the project faced several years of hurdles mostly because of the economic downturn that affected the real estate sector.

Just like the adjacent New York Ferris Wheel project that was announced in September 2012 and approved by the City Council one year later, Triangle Equities’ $200 million development will be a key piece in the revitalization puzzle on the northeastern side of Staten Island.

Slated for ground breaking in mid-2014, Lighthouse Point will be developed in phases and will replace a three-acre waterfront parcel that is currently occupied by a vacant lighthouse facility in the neighborhood of St. George, which is the gateway to the borough for more than 65,000 commuters and tourists each weekday. The historic structure located near Bay Street served as the U.S. Coast Guard Station Administration building until 1966.

Lighthouse Point project rendering – St. George, Staten Island

According to the Staten Island Advance, development plans call for a residential tower with 96 rental units and retail space and a new 180-room hotel that will incorporate a historic building as the entrance way. Some of the six historic buildings included on the development site will be renovated for new uses such as dining areas. The first phase of the project is estimated to last around 18 months with a focus on completing the three-story retail structure that will serve as a base for the rental tower. Depending on how fast the construction moves forward, the first residential floors could be developed during this phase. Phase two will see the construction of the new hotel and the renovation or repositioning of the historic buildings.

The Lighthouse Point project will reportedly create nearly 700 construction jobs and almost 380 permanent jobs.


Renderings via Triangle Equities website

Terreno Realty Corp. Pays $53.1 Million for Industrial Buildings in Queens, NY

3 Jan 2014, 3:24 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

San Francisco-based Terreno Realty Corporation recently acquired a real estate portfolio marketed under the name JFK Airgate and an adjacent parcel in Queens for a purchase price of $53.1 million, or around $232 per square foot. According to a blog post by Philip Blumberg, JFK Airgate’s previous owner was AMB Property Corporation (it later merged with Prologis) which purchased it for $34.4 million in 2005.

Terreno Realty Corporation logo

According to a press release from the company, JFK Airgate is located one-half mile north of John F. Kennedy International Airport and close to Rockaway Boulevard, the Belt Parkway and the Van Wyck Expressway, while the 0.2-acre paved and fenced land parcel is located at Baisley Boulevard and 132nd Avenue and has 27 parking spaces.

Totaling nearly 230,000 square feet of space, JFK Airgate includes four commercial buildings which were 98.6 percent leased at the time of acquisition by 18 tenants, including some of the largest international air cargo and logistics firms.

The buildings acquired by Terreno Realty Corporation are as follows:

-          Airgate I – a two-story warehouse located at 151-02 132nd Avenue. According to data from PropertyShark.com, the facility was built in 1987; it has approximately 65,000 square feet of usable storage space and parking spots for 56 cars.

-          Airgate II – a 66,000-square-foot front-load warehouse with 12 dock-high and 3 grade level loading positions. The building is located at 150-10 132nd Avenue and has 76 parking spaces.

-          Airgate III – a two-story warehouse located at 152-02 Baisley Boulevard. The building contains 73,000 square feet of storage space and features 18 dock-high and 1 grade level loading positions, as well as 138 parking spaces.

-          Airgate IV – a 25,000-square-foot office building with 58 parking spaces located at 152-01 133rd Avenue.

Terreno Realty Corporation is a San Francisco-based company that focuses on acquiring and  operating industrial real estate in six major U.S. coastal markets.

Flatiron-Shaped Condo Tower Underway in Soho

30 Dec 2013, 8:44 am

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

A 16-story residential tower is underway in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood as the city Board of Standards and Appeals unanimously recently approved the construction project proposed by Madison Equities and Property Markets Group. According to The Real Deal, the joint venture needed a variance change because the construction site was zoned for commercial and industrial use.

10 Sullivan Street – Soho, NYC

Designed by NYC-based architect and designer Cary Tamarkin, the flatiron-shaped condo tower will rise on the site of a former car wash on the northeast corner of Sixth Avenue and Broome Street—though Corcoran Group Real Estate will market the building under the name 10 Sullivan Street. As reported by Curbed NY earlier this year, the triangular-shaped site was purchased by the development partners in June 2012.

Reportedly, the condo tower will have up to 27 units and nearly 4,000 square feet of ground floor leasable retail space and will feature four attached 4-story townhouses of around 4,500 square feet each, with backyards and parking space. According to the original plans filed for approval by Madison Equities, the tower will include a triplex occupying the 16th and 18th floors of the building. Furthermore, the tower’s ground floor will also contain a 1,500-square-foot residential lobby and a 3,800-square-foot parking garage with 11 spaces.

The development plans include a small plaza which will be located at the narrow point of the site facing the intersection of Broome Street, Sullivan Street and the Avenue of the Americas will serve as an entrance and will be included in the leasable retail space.

According to The Real Deal, the developers hope to complete the condo tower by mid-2015.

Rendering Madison Equities and Property Markets Group

Citigroup Signs $1B Lease Extension to Relocate Headquarters in Lower Manhattan

20 Dec 2013, 8:06 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Citigroup Inc., the third-biggest bank in the U.S., and SL Green Realty Corp. recently signed a $1 billion lease agreement and renovation deal that will allow the financial giant to relocate its headquarters from the existing offices at 399 Park Avenue to a twin-building complex on Greenwich Street through December 31, 2035.

388 Greenwich Street

Crain’s New York Business reports that Citigroup owned the 39-story 388 Greenwich tower and the adjacent 390 Greenwich, an eight-story building offering 94,000 square feet of prime office space, until 2007 when the two buildings were sold to SL Green and Ivanhoe Cambridge for $1.6 billion. The newly signed deal includes an option for Citigroup to buy back the two properties during the period from December 1, 2017 through December 31, 2020, as well as a thorough renovation of the office buildings which were built in the 1990s.

Reportedly, Citigroup already occupies space at the office complex in Lower Manhattan. According to the newly signed deal, the financial giant can also extend the 2.7-million-square-foot lease by at least 15 years.

390 Greenwich Street

According to an official statement from SL Green, Citigroup was represented in this transaction by Robert Alexander, Michael Geoghegan, Andrew Sussman and Michael Wellen from CBRE and received legal counseling from law firm Fried Frank, while SL Green acted on behalf of the landlord partnership.

“We worked tirelessly to structure a transaction that is advantageous to all parties, and we are extremely pleased that Citi has extended its long-term commitment to Downtown Manhattan,” said Marc Holliday, chief executive officer of SL Green Realty Corp. “Citi is one of the world’s great financial institutions. SL Green has enjoyed being its largest landlord and we are pleased to continue this strong and highly valued relationship.”


Images of 388 and 390 Greenwich Street courtesy of SL Green Realty Corp.

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