NYC Real Estate News

Wed, 05/22/2024 - 14:09

The Whitney Museum on Wednesday launched “Putting Artists On The Map,” a new project celebrating the museum’s landmark Biennial exhibition that has been held regularly since 1932. The interactive digital map pairs paintings depicting New York City from the very first Biennial with photos of the same scenes in the present day. The map also [...]

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Wed, 05/22/2024 - 13:38

A prominent New York City developer whose family founded the now-defunct electronics retail chain Nobody Beats the Wiz is looking to construct a 9-story, mixed-use building in Gravesend.

Joseph Jemal, president of Manhattan-based ICER Properties — which owns more than 60 buildings in the city, along with properties in New Jersey, Georgia and South Carolina — filed an application with the Department of City Planning this week to rezone a swath of land in the southern Brooklyn neighborhood and erect a development that would include 104,273 square feet of retail and office space on the first and second floors, a 58,362-square-foot community facility on the third floor and 259,335 square feet of residential space on the remaining floors.

The proposed building, at 2555 Shell Road, would include 369 rental apartments on floors four through nine — 93 of which would be set aside as below market rate, according to the application.

All of the buildings currently on the site, which fronts Bouck Court, Shell Road and Avenue X and currently comprises four different lots, would be demolished to make way for the new 9-story development, according to land-use attorney Eric Palatnik, who is representing the applicant.

The first lot is home to a 2-story, mixed-use building where the ground floor is vacant, and the second floor contains two residential units. The next lot has a single-story commercial building that houses a bowling alley and a lighting warehouse. The third is a single-story commercial building with a lighting warehouse and showroom, a dance school and an ironworks distributor. The fourth lot contains a recently renovated, 2-story commercial building occupied by a catering hall. The project also calls for 300 parking spaces — 162 more than the required 138 according to zoning regulations, records show.

Jemal filed the application under a quartet of limited liability companies, the addresses of which all go back to ICER's headquarters at 1385 Broadway in Midtown South, documents show. He manages over 400 residential units across multiple buildings in Brooklyn, Harlem and the Bronx and has come under fire for the allegedly dire conditions at one of his properties in Harlem, where tenants say it's overrun by rats and plagued with leaks, the outlet The City reported last year.

Jemal's father, Lawrence, founded both ICER Properties and ICER Brands, which is a Manhattan-based clothing marketer. The acronym stands for "integrity, customer, excellence, respect," according to its website. Lawrence Jemal and his three brothers, Marvin, Stephen and Douglas, also transformed their original entertainment store, Nobody Beats the Wiz, which opened on Fulton Street in 1976, into a regional chain, which at one point was considered one the city's most successful retailers, Crain's reported. The four brothers sold the company to Cablevision in 1998 after it went bankrupt a year earlier; it eventually closed for good in 2003.

Douglas Jemal, one of the brothers, runs his own real estate firm in D.C. and was convicted of wire fraud in 2006. His sentence was pardoned in 2021 by then-President Donald Trump.

Wed, 05/22/2024 - 13:33

Leases

Asset manager takes space in Midtown

Address: 600 Lexington Ave., Manhattan
Landlord: Lex NY Equities LLC
Tenant: Professional Capital Management
Lease size: 8,318 square feet
Asset type: Office
Brokers: Vantage RE's Danny Volk and Mikaela Seegers represented the tenant. Cushman & Wakefield's Harry Blair, Connor Daugstrup and Bianca DiMauro represented the landlord.

Art museum signs lease for administrative offices

Address: 250 Bowery, Manhattan
Landlord: Delancey Street Associates
Tenant: The New Museum
Lease size: 5,850 square feet
Asset type: Office

Financings

Concrete magnate finances waterfront properties

Address: 685-747 Columbia St., Brooklyn; Hessler and Gouverneur Aves., and 73-02 Amstel Blvd., Queens 
Owner: John Quadrozzi
Lender: Columbia Industrial Capital 
Loan amount: $13.5 million 
Asset type: Industrial  

Skyscraper planned for FiDi gets massive loan

Address: 111 Washington St., Manhattan
Owner: Grubb Management 
Lender: Maxim Credit Group 
Loan amount: $89.9 million
Asset type: Multifamily

Wed, 05/22/2024 - 13:30

A rent dispute in Times Square threatens to derail a high-profile and long-dormant retail project as it attempts a pivot to residences.

Stillman Development International, which has been working to redevelop the historic Times Square Theater at 217 W. 42nd St. since 2017, has sued its landlord over a tripling of its rent.

The rent for the city-owned, Beaux-Arts edifice near Seventh Avenue jumped from $50,000 a month to $160,000 a month May 1, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Stillman, which apparently has been unable to revive a $150 million retail-conversion project planned before the pandemic, believes the new rent is way too steep for what’s still a development site, the source added. The firm sued in a legal maneuver to lock in the current rent — and to keep the city from taking back the colonnaded property — while the court hears the lease fight.

If city officials don’t address the developer’s complaint, they need to return Stillman’s $60 million stake in the project, plus interest and fees, the lawsuit says.

A spokesman for the city’s law office had no comment by press time. And a spokeswoman for The New 42nd Street, the city-selected nonprofit that functions as the theater’s landlord, also had no comment by press time.

But Stillman’s lease changes were likely expected. According to the terms of the original 2017 lease, a 73-year deal at the time, The New 42nd Street could raise rents if the theater had no building permits in place after a certain amount of time, the source said.

Besides, the $50,000 a month rent represented a smaller amount than spelled out in 2017 anyway, according to The New 42nd Street, which weighed in after the story was published. "My client graciously agreed to temporarily lower the agreed-upon rent as an accommodation," said attorney Michael Pensabene, and "forfeited the rent concession solely as a result of the tenant failing to do what it had promised to do."

At first, Stillman sought a retail use for the Times Square Theater, which opened in 1920, was converted into a movie theater in 1934 and closed for good in the late 1980s amid a seedy downturn for the neighborhood, according to the Cinema Treasures website. The $150 million plan, which called for adding several glass-walled floors atop the original limestone structure, at one point envisioned charging a single tenant $20 million a year for a seven-level space. But the proposal collapsed in early 2020 as Covid hit.

And the plan has reportedly not aged well, with tenants and lenders now skittish about such a large retail commitment, forcing Stillman to switch gears. The developer now seeks to put a rental tower above the unlandmarked theater with a mix of market-rate and affordable housing, the source explained, though the proposal has not gotten much past the design stage.

Stillman’s court filing is what is known as a “yellowstone injunction,” a move to stave off eviction in a landlord-tenant dispute until a judge rules on the case. Roy Stillman, Stillman’s president, declined to comment, and his lawyer could not be reached.

 

This story has been updated with a comment from an attorney with the landlord The New 42nd Street.

 

 

Wed, 05/22/2024 - 13:13

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, and transit officials expect a record-breaking crush of travelers to hit the road and take to the sky.

Nearly 2.2 million passengers will travel through JFK, Newark, LaGuardia and New York-Stewart International airports from Thursday through Tuesday, a slight increase of about 0.2% from the all-time high seen during the same period in 2023, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said Wednesday.

Friday and Monday are anticipated to be the busiest days at the airports, and international air travel should be 7% higher than the same period last year, the agency said.

Port Authority officials are warning people traveling this summer out of John F. Kennedy International Aiport to brace themselves for delays due to road closures as part of the $19 billion overhaul of the airport’s terminals. The detours will likely add 15 to 30 minutes of travel time for those driving or being dropped off at the airport, Port Authority officials said.

They're advising travelers to use mass transit to get to JFK or be dropped off by car at the Lefferts Boulevard parking lot, which offers a free AirTrain ride to the airport’s terminals.

“We are completely rebuilding JFK Airport, so the construction impact on the roads and on traffic is going to be significant,” said Rick Cotton, the executive director of the Port Authority, at a Monday news conference. “We apologize in advance.”

The redevelopment won’t wrap up until 2030, but the majority of the work will be complete by 2026.

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day the Port Authority said it expects to see more than 40 million passengers traveling through its airports — a record number.

Transportation Security Administration officials warn that even before the weekend, on Thursday and Friday, they are anticipating more than 2.9 million passengers to pass through checkpoints in the U.S. JFK and LaGuardia will be especially busy, the TSA predicted.

The agency expects to screen 12,000 more travelers per day during the Memorial Day weekend at JFK airport than during a typical weekend — an 11.5% increase. LaGuardia is expected to experience a similar 10% spike in travelers per day, the TSA said.

Meanwhile, on the roads, the AAA estimates that 43.8 million people across the U.S. will travel 50 miles or more — a 4% uptick over last year — over the memorial day holiday. In New York AAA officials anticipate 2.8 million people to travel by car, with another 1 million navigating roads in New Jersey.

“We haven’t seen Memorial Day weekend travel numbers like these in almost 20 years,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, in a statement.

Thursday between noon and 6 p.m. will be the worst day for road travel, AAA said. Friday will be another tough day, particularly between 12 noon and 7 p.m. The busiest travel times on Saturday are expected between 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Departing in the morning or late evening will be the driver's best bet, according to the AAA.

Expect major gridlock between Sunday and Monday during 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., the AAA said.

Wed, 05/22/2024 - 13:13

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, and transit officials expect a record-breaking crush of travelers to hit the road and take to the sky.

Nearly 2.2 million passengers will travel through JFK, Newark, LaGuardia and New York-Stewart International airports from Thursday through Tuesday, a slight increase of about 0.2% from the all-time high seen during the same period in 2023, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said Wednesday.

Friday and Monday are anticipated to be the busiest days at the airports, and international air travel should be 7% higher than the same period last year, the agency said.

Port Authority officials are warning people traveling this summer out of John F. Kennedy International Aiport to brace themselves for delays due to road closures as part of the $19 billion overhaul of the airport’s terminals. The detours will likely add 15 to 30 minutes of travel time for those driving or being dropped off at the airport, Port Authority officials said.

They're advising travelers to use mass transit to get to JFK or be dropped off by car at the Lefferts Boulevard parking lot, which offers a free AirTrain ride to the airport’s terminals.

“We are completely rebuilding JFK Airport, so the construction impact on the roads and on traffic is going to be significant,” said Rick Cotton, the executive director of the Port Authority, at a Monday news conference. “We apologize in advance.”

The redevelopment won’t wrap up until 2030, but the majority of the work will be complete by 2026.

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day the Port Authority said it expects to see more than 40 million passengers traveling through its airports — a record number.

Transportation Security Administration officials warn that even before the weekend, on Thursday and Friday, they are anticipating more than 2.9 million passengers to pass through checkpoints in the U.S. JFK and LaGuardia will be especially busy, the TSA predicted.

The agency expects to screen 12,000 more travelers per day during the Memorial Day weekend at JFK airport than during a typical weekend — an 11.5% increase. LaGuardia is expected to experience a similar 10% spike in travelers per day, the TSA said.

Meanwhile, on the roads, the AAA estimates that 43.8 million people across the U.S. will travel 50 miles or more — a 4% uptick over last year — over the memorial day holiday. In New York AAA officials anticipate 2.8 million people to travel by car, with another 1 million navigating roads in New Jersey.

“We haven’t seen Memorial Day weekend travel numbers like these in almost 20 years,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, in a statement.

Thursday between noon and 6 p.m. will be the worst day for road travel, AAA said. Friday will be another tough day, particularly between 12 noon and 7 p.m. The busiest travel times on Saturday are expected between 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Departing in the morning or late evening will be the driver's best bet, according to the AAA.

Expect major gridlock between Sunday and Monday during 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., the AAA said.

Wed, 05/22/2024 - 13:13

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, and transit officials expect a record-breaking crush of travelers to hit the road and take to the sky.

Nearly 2.2 million passengers will travel through JFK, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and New York-Stewart International airports from Thursday through Tuesday, a slight increase of about 0.2% from the all-time high seen during the same period in 2023, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said Wednesday.

Friday and Monday are anticipated to be the busiest days at the airports, and international air travel should be 7% higher than the same period last year, the agency said.

Port Authority officials are warning people traveling this summer out of JFK to brace themselves for delays due to road closures as part of the $19 billion overhaul of the airport’s terminals. The detours will likely add 15 to 30 minutes of travel time for those driving or being dropped off at the airport, Port Authority officials said.

They're advising travelers to use mass transit to get to JFK or be dropped off by car at the Lefferts Boulevard parking lot, which offers a free AirTrain ride to the airport’s terminals.

“We are completely rebuilding JFK Airport, so the construction impact on the roads and on traffic is going to be significant,” said Rick Cotton, the executive director of the Port Authority, at a Monday news conference. “We apologize in advance.”

The redevelopment won’t wrap up until 2030, but the majority of the work will be complete by 2026.

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day the Port Authority said it expects to see more than 40 million passengers traveling through its airports — a record number.

Transportation Security Administration officials warn that even before the weekend, on Thursday and Friday, they are anticipating more than 2.9 million passengers to pass through checkpoints in the U.S. JFK International and LaGuardia International airports will be especially busy, the TSA predicted.

The agency expects to screen 12,000 more travelers per day during the Memorial Day weekend at JFK airport than during a typical weekend — an 11.5% increase. LaGuardia airport is expected to experience a similar 10% spike in travelers per day, the TSA said.

Meanwhile, on the roads, the AAA estimates that 43.8 million people across the U.S. will travel 50 miles or more — a 4% uptick over last year — over the memorial day holiday. In New York AAA officials anticipate 2.8 million people to travel by car, with another 1 million navigating roads in New Jersey.

“We haven’t seen Memorial Day weekend travel numbers like these in almost 20 years,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, in a statement.

Thursday between noon and 6 p.m. will be the worst day for road travel, AAA said. Friday will be another tough day, particularly between 12 noon and 7 p.m. The busiest travel times on Saturday are expected between 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Departing in the morning or late evening will be the driver's best bet, according to the AAA.

Expect major gridlock between Sunday and Monday during 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., the AAA said.

Wed, 05/22/2024 - 13:00

A two-block stretch of historic homes in Bed-Stuy could become New York City’s next historic district. The Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday voted to calendar the proposed Willoughby-Hart Historic District, which includes two blocks of intact 19th-century rowhouses between Marcy and Nostrand Avenues. Built primarily in the Neo-Grec style between the 1870s and 1890s, the [...]

The post Two blocks of brownstones in Bed-Stuy proposed as NYC historic district first appeared on 6sqft.

Wed, 05/22/2024 - 12:27

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board earned an 8% return in the fiscal year ended March, as double-digit gains in stocks, credit and private equity made up for weaker performance in emerging markets and real estate.

The fund recorded a 5% loss on its real estate holdings and blamed high interest rates and work-from-home trends that have damaged the value of office properties globally.

“Most of the losses were in the office sector, given the additional impact of changes in workplace trends,” it said in its annual report. The country’s largest pension manager again reduced its exposure to property to about 8% of total assets as of March 31, down from 9% a year earlier. Five years ago, it was 12%.

Canada’s biggest pension funds have been major owners of real estate, including prime office towers, for decades, but some are now adjusting their strategies. CPPIB has recently sold its interests in a pair of Vancouver towers, a business park in Southern California and a redevelopment project in Manhattan, with the latter offloaded for just $1 so the fund could shed its future obligations on the property.

Exposure to the office sector shrank to 6% of total real-asset holdings — which also includes infrastructure, renewable energy, power and utilities — from 9% the prior year.

Overall, CPPIB grew to $463 billion in assets from $417 billion a year earlier.

“The CPP Fund’s growth this year continued the trend of reaching heights several years ahead of initial actuarial projections,” Chief Executive John Graham said in a statement Wednesday. “Solid performance by all of the investment departments and key corporate functions helps demonstrate how our strategy is on track.”

The fund’s holdings of public stocks and private equity climbed 13.8% and 10.4%, respectively, while its credit portfolio gained 10.8%.

The Toronto-based pension fund has been active in dealmaking since the start of 2024. Earlier this month, it agreed to buy utility owner Allete for about $3.9 billion in partnership with Global Infrastructure Partners.

It also sold shares in the debut of cruise operator Viking Holdings and is among the investors seeking to raise around $1 billion for the initial public offering of health-care software company Waystar Holding, Bloomberg reported.

Investments in emerging public equities were impacted by losses in China, which “diverged from other major markets due to challenges in the real estate sector,” according to the annual report.

While CPPIB has mostly stuck to its China strategy, it eliminated about a dozen positions in its Greater China public equities team recently, representing close to 10% of its Hong Kong staff, according to a report by Bloomberg.

The pension plan reduced the number of its workforce in real assets and private equity by 7% and 13%, respectively, while expanding its credit investments team by 5%.

CPPIB is expected to reach $1 trillion in assets around 2030. Executives are expanding its private lending business, with with plans to nearly double the size of its credit holdings over the next five years.

Wed, 05/22/2024 - 12:21

A multiyear legal battle against a controversial tower planned for the South Street Seaport has concluded with a ruling that should make the developer and the city happy.

The New York Court of Appeals has cleared the way for Howard Hughes Holdings' tower planned for 250 Water St. to move forward, denying a motion from the community group South Street Seaport Coalition to appeal a prior ruling that upheld a key approval for the project. Given that the Court of Appeals is the highest court in the state, this should put an end to the case.

"For too long, the lot at 250 Water St. has been an underutilized part of the Seaport," Howard Hughes CEO David O'Reilly said in a statement. "Today's decision marks a major win for Lower Manhattan and the city and paves the way for Seaport Entertainment Group to begin construction on a vibrant, mixed-use project that will be a significant contribution to the neighborhood."

Howard Hughes has been trying to build a 27-story mixed-use tower at 250 Water St. with roughly 400 apartments for years, but the project has faced fierce community pushback for about as long.

This lawsuit dates back to July 2022 and claimed that the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission was improperly influenced when approving the project by planned community benefits from Howard Hughes, such as affordable housing and renovating the South Street Seaport Museum. The commission had made several prior rulings that a project of this scale at 250 Water St. was inappropriate for the neighborhood, according to the suit.

Judge Arthur Engoron ruled in favor of the coalition in January 2023, but the appellate division of New York state Supreme Court unanimously overturned his decision in June. The Court of Appeals has now effectively upheld this decision.

A spokesperson for the Landmarks Preservation Commission said the agency was pleased with the ruling, which puts an end to the legal challenge.

The coalition released a statement following the Court of Appeals' ruling reiterating the accusations in its original lawsuit and saying that the "new normal" for doing business in the city "enables developers to engage in backroom dealings with City Hall while the courts look the other way." The group also blasted the decision as a bad precedent for future preservationist battles in historic districts.

Another potential remaining hurdle to the project was the completion deadline for developments using the state's now-expired 421-a affordable housing tax break. However, given that the state extended this deadline to 2031 as part of the housing package in its budget, this issue has been taken care of as well, according to Howard Hughes Holdings.

The project will include 100 affordable units for households earning between 40% and 120% of the area median income, or between about $56,000 and $168,000 for a family of three. Most of the units will be for households earning 40%, according to a spokesman for the developer. The tower will include a 5-story base with commercial, retail and community space as well.