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A blog for breaking sales and neighborhood real estate news.

January 27, 2016 | Commercial Observer

Mayor Bill de Blasio must be beside himself now that the 421a tax benefits program has expired. Labor’s unwillingness to agree to reasonable wages for construction workers has dealt a crushing blow to the mayor’s objective of creating/preserving 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next 10 years. “Preserving” is always a necessary hedge word when politicians employ it, as it is impossible to accurately determine how many units get preserved. This provides elected officials with wiggle room when examining actual results versus numerical projections. However, new construction is a critical component of any initiative to increase affordable housing in the city. Without the 421a program—or some kind of equivalent—even a fraction of this target is outlandishly optimistic.

There is no doubt that New York City is in dire need of more affordable housing for residents across a broad range of earning levels. Affordable housing is typically thought of as housing for the poorest among us; however, the working class is an equally important segment of society that requires housing within the city’s boundaries...

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February 3, 2016 | Commercial Observer

For the past two years, the investment sales market in New York City has performed better than during any other two-year period I have seen in my 32 years brokering here. Values have soared due in large part to enhanced fundamentals, plentiful financing and an extremely acute supply/demand dynamic that has been skewed heavily in favor of demand. While this demand has been broad-based, foreign capital has been a significant component of the tremendous demand we have witnessed. And this foreign demand could be ready to surge to even greater heights.

Until recently, foreign investors in U.S. real estate were disadvantaged by a law that should never have been put into the tax code to begin with. The Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980, referred to as FIRPTA, unfairly (relative to other non-real property investments in the U.S.) imposes excessive tax barriers on foreign capital investment in American real estate. FIRPTA has been the central obstacle to greater capital investment by non-U.S. investors...

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February 24, 2016 | Commercial Observer

At the beginning of 2016, our forecast for the investment sales market in New York City was rather bearish. Coming off two years with all-time records, we felt that both sales volumes and values had to correct given how values had gotten so far ahead of fundamentals. We projected that the dollar volume of sales this year would fall by 10 percent to 20 percent, and the number of properties sold could be down as much as 30 percent to 40 percent from last year’s totals. In addition, we believed that property values would also decline this year relative to last year’s all-time record levels.

We are currently a bit more than halfway through the first quarter of the year, and it appears our forecast is on track...

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March 9, 2016 | Commercial Observer

Last week, I wrote about the current status of the multifamily sector in New York City and one sentence, toward the end of that column, produced more emails and calls than any other I have written in quite some time. That sentence was, “Notwithstanding the strong policy headwinds rent-regulated assets have faced, and will continue to face, the sector continues to progress in a positive way, at least for now.” Most of the questions were regarding the headwinds yet to come. But the tumult the market has already faced is substantive and should be reviewed as well. Let’s take a look...

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March 24, 2016 | Real Estate Weekly

New York City’s commercial brokers competed for the Real Estate Board of New York’s (REBNY) 2015 Most Promising Commercial Salesperson of the Year (Rookie Award), which culminated at the REBNY Members’ Luncheon at the New York Hilton Midtown on Tuesday, March 22nd.

REBNY’s Commercial Brokerage Board of Directors presented the award to Morris Betesh, a Managing Director in Cushman & Wakefield’s New York Capital Markets group. As the nineteenth winner of this award, Betesh receives a one-year seat on REBNY’s Board of Governors and will become a lifetime member of REBNY’s selective “Circle of Winners” group, which convenes four times a year for a private dinner with some of the real estate industry’s top leaders.

The Most Promising Commercial Salesperson of the Year Award was created by the directors of the Board’s Commercial Brokerage Division to recognize the achievements of commercial members who embody excellence, professionalism and unwavering ethical fortitude...

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March 18, 2016 | Commercial Observer | Liam LaGuerre

Dime Community Bancshares, the parent company of Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburgh, has completed the $80 million sale of its Williamsburg portfolio, Cushman & Wakefield announced in a release today.

Tavros Development Partners, Charney Construction & Development and 1 Oak Development purchased the properties, 263-277 South 5th Street, 262-272 South 4th Street and 205 Havemeyer Street. The site allows for 230,000 buildable square feet, according to C&W.

A C&W team of James Nelson, Brendan Maddigan and Matt Nickerson represented Dime in the transaction, while the buyers did not have a broker...

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Neighborhoods: Williamsburg/ Agents: Brendan Maddigan

Two buildings on one tax lot located at 760-764 Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood were sold in an all-cash transaction valued at $11,000,000. The sale price equates to approximately $709 per square foot and an in-place 4.3% capitalization rate.

764 Manhattan Avenue is a mixed-use building divided into four retail units and nine residential units, of which, three are rent stabilized. 760 Manhattan Avenue, adjacent to 764 Manhattan, is occupied by RadioShack on the ground floor with a vacant commercial space on the second floor. Combined, the buildings offer approximately 15,500 square feet with 100 feet of frontage along Manhattan Avenue.

760-764 Manhattan Avenue is ideally located along one of Greenpoint’s main retail corridors and benefits from close proximity to the neighborhood’s premier dining and shopping options. A number of transportation hubs are easily accessible including the G Train Station at both Nassau Avenue and Greenpoint Avenue and the East River Ferry at India Street.

“The in-place income for 760-764 Manhattan Avenue was at half of market and offered significant growth potential. The low 4% capitalization rate highlights the demand for space along key retail corridors like Manhattan Avenue and Franklin Street which will support the droves of new residents slated for arrival in the next few years,” said Brendan Maddigan of Cushman & Wakefield who exclusively handled the transaction on behalf of the Hazelwood family. The buyer was AGMINE CORP.  

Click here for press release.

Neighborhoods: Greenpoint/ Agents: Brendan Maddigan

March 9, 2016 | Commercial Observer | Liam LaGuerre

Two years ago, when Massey Knakal Realty Services Founders Robert Knakal and Paul Massey were looking for someone to manage their Brooklyn and Queens offices, the executives wanted a seasoned organizer with expert knowledge of how a sales floor operates…but someone who wasn’t a broker.

They didn’t want a “player-coach,” someone who’d be influenced by their personal compensation. They wanted someone who would be focused solely on the team. 

So they turned to Betty Castro, who wasn’t a broker. In fact, she wasn’t even in the real estate business at the time.

As a vice president of sales and marketing at brokerage First Empire Securities, which sells bonds to banks and other investors, Ms. Castro handled recruiting, helped First Empire grow into new markets and spearheaded the development of the company’s website.

She was perfect...

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Corporates/Agents: Betty Castro, Brendan Maddigan, Paul Massey Jr., Stephen Palmese

March 4, 2016 | Wall Street Journal | Derek Kravitz

Brownsville, the Brooklyn neighborhood that has battled crime and poverty for a long time, is in need of a few wins—and a nascent network of community groups and investors is working to provide just that.

Once home to poor Jewish immigrants and offering refuge to a ragtag collection of radicals and socialists at the turn of the 20th century, Brownsville has the largest concentration of public housing in New York City and the U.S. Some 60% of its housing stock is owned by the city.

Parts of Brownsville are slated for rezoning under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable-housing plan for the broader East New York area, approved by the city Planning Commission.

But change won’t come easy...

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Neighborhoods: Brownsville

February 29, 2016 | New York Post | Lois Weiss

An unidentified investor has forked over $10 million to buy the small building housing the iconic Rao’s Italian restaurant, The Post has learned — and didn’t even get a reservation for one of its closely guarded tables.

The sale of the 22-unit rental property and leaseback of its 1,200-square-foot space by the extended Rao’s family will ensure the beloved restaurant remains at 455 E. 114 St. on the northeast corner of Pleasant Avenue in East Harlem for decades to come.

Most folks will never get to savor the fare of the always fully reserved eatery, where an exclusive group of mostly New Yorkers have “table rights” for each of the 10 tables for every day of the week...

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Neighborhoods: Harlem

February 25, 2015 | Real Estate Weekly | Linda Barr O'Flanagan

Fisher Brothers has bagged $11 million for a retail condo at 37 Warren just a few months after partner Winston Fisherʼs gym there shut up shop.

HUBB NYC, the firm previously known as Trevi Retail, bought the Tribeca retail condo – its second buy since the beginning of the year.

Neighborhoods: TriBeCa/ Agents: Guillermo Suarez

Cushman & Wakefield is pleased to announce the release of its exclusive fourth quarter 2015 Property Sales Reports. These unique, industry-leading reports provide a comprehensive study of the investment sales market by product type in the New York City area (Manhattan, Northern Manhattan/Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens).

After a record-breaking year in 2014, which saw an all-time high for properties sold, the New York City investment sales market hit yet another benchmark in 2015. In the past year, the aggregate sales consideration totaled $74.5 billion, exceeding 2007’s previous record of $62.0 billion. The year’s unprecedented dollar volume was anchored by several mega-deals, including the sale of Stuyvesant Town for $5.4 billion and a $3.8 billion investment into the Brookfield development project near Hudson Yards. Four of the city’s top six quarterly dollar volume totals of all-time have now occurred in 2015, a trend supported in large part by an increased prevalence of larger transactions. The average price per property hit an all-time high of $14.7 million in 2015, exceeding 2011’s previous high by 17.6 percent.

“2014 and 2015 were probably the two best years ever for the sales brokerage industry. Supply was strong, demand was excessive and market indicators were moving in the right direction,” said Bob Knakal, Chairman, New York Investment Sales.

Click here for press release.

Cushman & Wakefield, on behalf of Fresh Property I, LLC., has sold the FreshDirect facility at 23-30 Borden Avenue, located between 23rd and 25th Streets in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens. The facility was sold for $48,000,000 in an all-cash transaction.

Bob Knakal, Chairman, New York Investment Sales at Cushman & Wakefield exclusively represented the seller along with Jonathan Hageman and David Chkheidze. "We were thrilled to represent FreshDirect in the sale of this tremendous asset in Long Island City,” said Knakal.

Scott Rosen, Principal at Akron Trotter Property Group represented the buyer, Atlas Capital. “Atlas has acquired a best-in-class asset with tremendous future upside,” added Rosen.

The property totals approximately 276,705 square feet on a 654’ x 329’ irregular lot, 90% of which includes state-of-the-art material management and refrigeration/freezer systems. 

Since acquiring the property in 1999, FreshDirect has completed substantial capital improvements and upgrades to a majority of the building systems.  Due to the current zoning designation the maximum FAR is 2.0 which translates into a total buildable square footage of 406,552 or an additional 129,847 square feet of development rights.

Click here for press release.

Neighborhoods: Long Island City

Crain's | February 18, 2016 | Joe Anuta

The long-vacant RKO Keith's Theatre in Flushing, Queens, is up for sale—again.

The 1920s-era cinema at 135-35 Northern Blvd. has been gathering dust for 30 years as a series of developers have bought and sold the property without completing plans to convert it to apartments or hotel rooms. On Feb. 17, the latest firm to take a crack at redeveloping the property, JK Equities, announced that it is putting the former movie house up for sale. RKO Keith's Theatre is being marketed by Cushman & Wakefield.

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Neighborhoods: Flushing/ Agents: Stephen Preuss

Cushman & Wakefield has arranged a total of $6,622,500 in financing for two transactions exclusively arranged by Directors George Gnad and Jonathan Kristofich along with Associate Michael Winters.

A $4.5 million LP equity position was arranged on behalf of Arena Shoppes LLC for a retail building at 7300 West McNab Road, in North Lauderdale, Florida. The equity provider was an undisclosed U.K. equity source. The retail center, a former Walmart, contains approximately 92,596 square feet. The Sponsor is re-tentating the building, which will include a new tenant, Ross Dress For Less as anchor.

"I am truly proud to have been part of such a creative and professionally executed deal. Both sponsor and equity provider are perfect compliments for each other and I am confident that with their extensive experience and knowledge of the market, they will exceed expectations throughout the life of the project," said Gnad.

A $2.12 million loan was arranged to refinance a 28,600 square foot warehouse building at 59-71 Oak Street, Hackensack, New Jersey. The new loan features a cash out, reduction in interest rate and extended term for seven years.  The lender was Atlantic Stewardship Bank. The borrower was 59-71 Oak Street LLC.

"The refinance and cash out of 59-71 Oak Street, Hackensack reflects the strength of well-located buildings within the Bergen County warehouse & distribution market," said Kristofich.

"Through our extensive marketing approach, we solicited significant interest from many local lenders and negotiated a very competitive mixture of rate and term for our client," added Gnad.

Gnad and Kristofich are Directors at the New Jersey office of the Cushman & Wakefield Capital Services team. Over a 25 year career, Gnad has originated and structured in excess of $5 billion of capital on all major assets types and loan structures including bridge, value add, construction and term debt. Kristofich has evaluated and underwrote over 100 buildings from all asset classes with an aggregate value in excess of $250,000,000.

Click here for press release.

February 1, 2016 | The Real Deal | Mark Maurer

New York City had a stellar year in 2015 for building sales — with massive properties like Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village and 11 Madison trading hands. But while it’s the buyers and sellers who normally make headlines, the brokers on those deals made out pretty well, too.

This month, The Real Deal ranked the top 30 investment sales brokerages for 2015 citywide and by borough.

What we found was that Eastdil Secured not only bested all other firms but also set a city record — $22.7 billion — for the most-ever closed sales in a year by a single brokerage.

The company was miles ahead of its rivals. The other firms in the top five were: CBRE with $8.8 billion, Cushman & Wakefield with $3.4 billion, Rosewood Realty Group with $3.2 billion and JLL and HFF tied with $2.9 billion.

The ranking — which included closed investment sales of $1 million and up, ground leases and leasehold interests — was culled from Real Capital Analytics and CoStar Group, as well as from the firms. Minority-stake deals were not included because they are not generally publicly recorded.

In the years since the mid-2000s boom, the neck-and-neck rivalry between Eastdil and its closest competitor, CBRE, has softened. The two firms are further apart in terms of dollar volume now more than ever...

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February 1, 2016 | Commercial Real Estate Direct | Josh Mrozinski

Gershon & Co. is offering for sale 55 Hope St., a 117-unit upscale apartment building with 6,200 square feet of retail space in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y.

The New York company has hired Cushman & Wakefield to market the four-year-old building, which could sell for $95 million, or about $805,085/unit.

The building's apartment units are 97 percent leased, while its retail space is fully leased by restaurant Momofuku Milk Bar. Units include...

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Neighborhoods: Williamsburg/ Agents: Brendan Maddigan, Stephen Palmese

February 1, 2016 | Wall Street Journal | Emily Nonko

A developer who converted a stalled condominium development in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood into a rental building has sold it for a profit.

Ronny Ben-Dov sold the 38-unit, 53,124-square-foot building at 305 McGuinness Blvd. for $31 million, according to Brendan Maddigan, a director of Cushman & Wakefield. The buyer, according to public records, is Westchester-based investment firm GDC Properties.

Mr. Ben-Dov in 2010 bought the then-stalled condo project for $13.4 million, Mr. Maddigan said, and converted it into rentals. Mr. Ben-Dov declined to comment. The buyer has no immediate plans to change the building, Mr. Maddigan said.

Today, rents at the building average about $45 a square foot, according to Mr. Maddigan. “At that time, 305 McGuinness was a good example of a stalled condo project of the last downturn,” he said...

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Neighborhoods: Greenpoint/ Agents: Brendan Maddigan

Cushman & Wakefield is pleased to announce the sale of a landmarked building at 126-128 East 13th Street and a mixed-use building at 123 East 12th Street in a transaction valued at $21,500,000. Cushman & Wakefield’s James Nelson and Matthew Nickerson were engaged by Ultimate Realty to handle the transaction.

This is the second transaction for Ultimate Realty that Cushman & Wakefield handled within the last year. James Nelson sold 28 East 14th Street for $29,500,000 or $2,484 per square foot in 2015, which was one of the most notable sales ever completed in the neighborhood. Ultimate Realty also recently picked up a trio of Lower East Side buildings in partnership with Caspi Development for $24,500,000.

126-128 East 13th Street, located between Third and Fourth Avenues, is a NNN leased, three-story, Beaux-Arts style loft building that contains approximately 15,600 square feet and sits on a 49.67’ x 103.25’ lot. It is currently leased by Peridance, a dance studio, until March 2028 with a five year option. The lease is guaranteed by Capezio Ballet Makers Inc. The building is the former Van Tassell & Kearney auction house and studio of renowned painter and printmaker, Frank Stella. The building features 15’ ceiling heights on the ground floor, 12’ ceiling heights on the lower level and soaring 30’ cathedral ceilings on the second floor magnified by multiple skylights.

123 East 12th Street, also located between Third and Fourth Avenues, is a newly renovated, three-story mixed-use building that contains approximately 4,804 square feet and sits on a 19.75’ x 103.25’ lot. The property consists of a ground floor retail unit with a lower level and a three-bedroom duplex apartment featuring a private rooftop above. The retail unit is leased to a Jiu Jitsu instruction school until August 2023. The duplex unit was gut renovated in 2012 and features 14’ ceiling heights, an eat-in chef’s kitchen, stone counter tops, and a private patio.

Both properties are located within two blocks from Union Square and enjoy convenient access via the 4, 5, 6, N, Q, R and L train lines at the 14th Street – Union Square station.

Click here for press release.

Neighborhoods: East Village

The first Cushman & Wakefield Speaker Series event successfully launched last night. It was the first of the firm's new in-house speaker series designed to educate and empower employees with tools that can enhance their success and productivity.

Industry Cushman & Wakefield veterans, Ken McCarthy, Gus Field, Joanne Podell, Steve Kohn, and Bob Knakal, presented an overview of the New York City Market. It was a condensed version of our Year-End Press Conference held earlier this month.

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