City demands landlords’ data on vacant storefronts, one last cigarette on a crane: Daily Digest

A daily round up of New York real estate news, deals and more for July 26, 2019
July 26, 2019 04:00PM

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Responding to concerns over vacant storefronts, the city wants landlords to report data on vacant spaces. On Tuesday, the City Council voted to create a database tracking storefront vacancies, and property owners who don’t adhere to the new rule may face fines. [Crain’s]


Crane operator Estevan Lucero was stranded for hours in his crane on Thursday, when the crane was apparently overloaded and tipped forward, according to the FDNY. But that didn’t stop Lucero from enjoying himself in what could have been his last moments on earth — onlookers took pictures of him smoking a cigarette in his cab while awaiting rescue. [NYP]


The same community groups that are awaiting a Manhattan Supreme Court decision on the Two Bridges proposal are pushing a rezoning that failed just a few years ago. Their proposed rezoning would restrict heights for new development and mandate a percentage of permanently affordable housing in portions of the Lower East Side and Chinatown. [City Limits]


Flybits CEO Hossein Rahnama (Credit: Twitter)

Flybits CEO Hossein Rahnama (Credit: Twitter)

After raising $35 million in Series C funding, “digital experience platform” Flybits is coming to New York City. The company uses machine learning to craft bespoke content for financial institutions and has tripled its size in the last year. [Crain’s]


The first weed dispensary is arriving in New York City, on the first floor of Pod Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Katz & Associates brokered the 10-year lease for the 3,800 square foot space. Nearby neighbors include Equinox, Apple, Whole Foods and Sephora. [Commercial Observer]


High-end gym brand Equinox is opening a luxury hotel at Related’s Hudson Yards development, despite lackluster performance in the sector. CEO Harvey Spevak is depending on loyal customers who crave something “different,” with plans to open similar hotels in Seattle, Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Santa Clara, California. All of those markets saw declines in revenue per available room in the first half of 2019. [Bloomberg]


Robert Durst (Credit: Getty Images)

Robert Durst (Credit: Getty Images)

A lawyer for Robert Durst argued that a wrongful-death suit after the disappearance of his wife Kathie in 1982 should be dismissed because of the statute of limitations. The lawyer blamed the HBO show “The Jinx” for inspiring the lawsuit, where Durst was caught saying he “killed them all” on camera (though the tape had been doctored). Durst is currently awaiting a January trial in Los Angeles for the alleged murder of Susan Berman. [NYP]


A fixture of the New York City art scene says the rent for her Lower East Side studio is too high for her to stay. Minerva Durham pays $8,500 for the space where 20 art classes are held each week. Since moving from St. Louis to New York City in 1977, this is the second time she’s had to move — in 2015, she moved from her SoHo apartment when the space was no longer available for rent. [WSJ]

In an explosive lawsuit, a former real estate lending executive at Bank OZK claimed she was fired days after flagging sexual misconduct. The suit describes an “animal house” culture that enabled heavy drinking and inappropriate fraternization. [TRD]

Tiffany Cabán and Melinda Katz (Credit: Getty Images)

Tiffany Cabán and Melinda Katz (Credit: Getty Images)

Melinda Katz has edged ahead of Tiffany Cabán by 60 votes, after a manual recount which has yet to be certified. Democratic Socialists of America-endorsed Cabán shocked the political establishment when she gave Katz, Queens borough president and a favorite of the real estate industry, a run for her money. Both camps are likely to challenge the results, which will be certified next Tuesday. [WSJ]

SoftBank topped its own record with a $108 billion technology fund. Investors include Apple, Foxconn, Microsoft and Kazakhstand’s sovereign wealth fund. It will be interesting to see if this means more funding for real estate tech firms like WeWork, Compass, Katerra and OpenDoor, or if a new crop of startups will emerge to flip the industry on its head. [TRD]

Former mayor Rudy Giuliani says that his drawn-out divorce gave him no choice but to borrow $100,000 from Donald Trump attorney Marc Mukasey. While Giuliani says all his income is getting eaten up by the divorce proceedings, his wife Judith Giuliani said that at 64 she is too old to work. The troubled pair’s real estate holdings and retirement accounts is valued at around $30 million. Judith denied that she had stripped their Manhattan condo of items that didn’t belong to her. [Bloomberg]


From left: WeWork CEO Adam Neumann, 424 Fifth Avenue, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (Credit: Getty Images)

From left: WeWork CEO Adam Neumann, 424 Fifth Avenue, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (Credit: Getty Images)

The We Company has been in talks to lease its entire 11-story global headquarters on Fifth Avenue to Amazon. The tech giant is also reportedly scouring the city for office locations, after pulling out of a $2.5 billion plan earlier this year to build a campus in Long Island City. A source told the Journal one option involved paying $110 a foot for the entire 600K sf-plus building at 424 Fifth Avenue. [TRD]


Turnbridge Equities managing principal Ryan Nelson and 58-95 Maurice Avenue in Queens (Credit: Turnbridge Equities and Google Maps)

Turnbridge Equities managing principal Ryan Nelson and 58-95 Maurice Avenue in Queens (Credit: Turnbridge Equities and Google Maps)

Turnbridge Equities made another industrial space purchase in Queens, this time an entirely rented two-story warehouse with 11 loading docks. According to the new owner, the space is positioned to reach more than 15 million people in last-mile distribution. [TRD]



Residential sales:

An anonymous buyer acquired a condo unit at 220 Central Park South on the Upper West Side for $22.2 million. Wells Fargo provided a $10.9 million loan for the unit. [ACRIS 1, 2]


New permit filings:
Plans were filed for a 25,167 square foot residential building at 132-51 41 Road in Flushing. [DOB]

Compiled by Georgia Kromrei