May 2018 Issue

The death of the brokerage

It’s adapt or die for NYC residential firms as income shrinks, costs rise and tech startups eat into market share

R.I.P., Town Residential. Over the course of a few hours on April 19, when it told agents the end was at hand, Town went from a megafirm with flashy Manhattan offices to a cautionary tale. The bold residential brokerage, known for its over-the-top holiday bashes and agent benefits, burst onto the scene in 2010 and quickly ballooned to 600 agents and 10 offices. The firm, which was founded by industry… [more]

When luxury leaks

New high-end NYC condos are seeing an uptick in construction defects — from warped floors to fireproofing problems — and another wave of complaints could be coming

Not long after closing on a $28.5 million pad at 56 Leonard last spring, the new owner had a problem. More than one, actually. The master bathroom allegedly had… [more]

Secret listings soar

In break from industry norm, more brokerages are promoting whisper listings, and REBNY is not happy

The year was 2016. The billionaire was Len Blavatnik. And the house was the Wildenstein mansion, a 20,000-square-foot property at 19 East 64th Street. After a handshake deal, Blavatnik… [more]

Oxford out front

The Hudson Yards backer is taking the lead role for the first time in NYC amid a leadership shakeup — and as it tries to close a nagging deficit for its pension-fund parent

If anyone knows what it’s like to be Blake Hutcheson, the CEO of Oxford Properties, it’s probably his counterpart at Ivanhoe Cambridge. Hutcheson and … [more]

Sizing up NYC’s debt brokerage powerhouses

A look at the top commercial mortgage shops as local players face off against global giants

UPDATED, May 3, 12:42 p.m.: HNA Group’s $2.21 billion purchase of 245 Park Avenue — the city’s biggest investment sales deal of 2017 — was brokered by the world’s largest… [more]

The little flexible office
startup that could

Inside Knotel’s swift rise as the three-year-old company co-founded by Amol Sarva goes head to head with industry giant WeWork

Amol Sarva has a way of saying things that can make you think: Did I just hear that right? In early 2017, when barely anyone knew of his flexible office… [more]

The “nightmare candidate”
for New York real estate

Despite her long odds of winning the governor’s seat, Cynthia Nixon is pushing Cuomo to the left on housing — a red flag for the city’s developers and landlords

She chose a church in Brownsville, one of the poorest neighborhoods in … [more]

How NYC’s hard hats stack up

In the wake of a development slowdown and widespread corruption and labor battles, NYC’s top construction firms are navigating a tumultuous market while trying to stay active

One57, the first of the glassy giants to rise on 57th Street, wasn’t Lendlease’s key to Billionaire’s Row — it was a 60-story residential project on West… [more]

Roosevelt Island’s revamp

As the 2.1 million-square-foot Cornell Tech campus comes together, real estate values on the island are expected to continually increase

The first time David Kramer visited Roosevelt Island, it was to run a 5K race. The route looped around the thin, nearly two-mile-long stretch of land, … [more]

Isaac Hager’s higher power

The developer is gaining outer borough market share, despite a trail of foreclosures and lawsuits from his early real estate days

A couple months ago, one of Brooklyn’s most active and under-the-radar developers, Isaac Hager, crossed into Queens to buy a 50,000-square-foot Long Island … [more]

The Closing: Michael Phillips

The Jamestown principal on dropping out of college, working closely with Google and his vintage motor scooter collection

Michael Phillips is a principal and the president of Jamestown, the real estate investment manager based in Atlanta and Cologne, Germany, with offices in New York, Boston, California and Bogotá,… [more]

Cracking the university real estate code

A first-ever ranking of the New York colleges with the largest property footprints at a time when many are expanding their strongholds

More than a decade after it was first proposed, Columbia University’s massive Manhattanville campus has started to take shape in earnest, with two of… [more]

The Ravitch family retrospective

In its 93 years, Saul Ravitch’s HRH Construction reinvented itself through multiple financial crises and built some of NYC’s most storied properties including the San Remo and Citigroup Center

In its final years, a dark cloud has… [more]

Libeskind’s lackluster debut

The architect’s first NYC building shows little of the brilliance he’s brought to previous work

In New York, Daniel Libeskind is undoubtedly best known for his work as the master planner of the World Trade Center redevelopment. But he still does not have a building… [more]

How developers hunt
for architects

Builders of everything from high-end condo towers to affordable rentals want designers with vision and practicality

Like fashion designers, architects go in and out of vogue — but a building has a much longer life span than a pair of jeans. “Arguably, architecture is an art… [more]

Residential market report

From Tribeca’s tepid triumph to
the latest L train rent declines,
a look at the biggest trends

City’s priciest neighborhoods see old and new  Tribeca held as the city’s priciest neighborhood in 2018’s first quarter, despite a 30 percent year-over-year drop in its median sales price to… [more]

Commercial market report

From retail’s lonely hot spot to co-working’s latest growth spurt, a look at the
biggest trends

Meatpacking bucks the retail slump Retail rents throughout Manhattan are sliding at a faster rate, and almost no submarket is immune. In the first quarter, asking rents in the shopping… [more]

Editor’s note:
Painting the town red

The talk of the town last month was the demise of Town. Andrew Heiberger’s residential brokerage, which at one point touted 600 agents and amassed $13 billion in sales, shut… [more]

Cleaning up after Toys “R” Us

The failure of the largest U.S. toy chain — the third-biggest retailer ever to file bankruptcy — puts 800 locations up for grabs and presents the retailer, as well as brokers, landlords and lenders, with a plethora of options, though not all of them are attractive

Retail real estate these days can… [more]

The indestructible tenant?

As they proliferate in record numbers, dollar stores may be one of the only retailers immune to the sting of e-commerce — but a mounting challenge from midmarket players could soon pose a risk

It’s been called the “e-pocalypse”: the closing of so many brick-and-mortar stores because customers would rather get what… [more]

The kingpins of leasing

TRD’s ranking of top retail leasing brokerages in four major markets shows that a few thriving chains are offering bright spots in gloomy markets

Property owners seem to be willing to get a bit unconventional these days to keep rent payments rolling in amid the ongoing waves of store closures. Indoor … [more]

The top closers

TRD’s ranking of the top commercial sale brokerages finds them closing smaller deals and pushing sellers to get real on pricing

Sales of retail properties may be down compared to last year, but executives at the country’s top brokerages remained characteristically upbeat, … [more]

Coming up Kimco

With his company offering up to $900 million in assets for sale this year, Kimco Realty’s COO David Jamieson says the REIT’s slimmed-down portfolio will benefit from a focus on redevelopment

The stock market hasn’t been kind to REITs lately, and open-air shopping center… [more]

What to expect at RECon 2018

Tenants are likely to pressure brokers and landlords with demands at this year’s ICSC show, but the convention’s timing over a religious holiday may put a damper on activity

Tenants, who have had their backs against the wall in recent years, are … [more]

Amazon’s mysterious ways

It’s notoriously secretive about its real estate negotiations, and Amazon’s next moves are nearly impossible to guess, but as the company expands its brick-and-mortar presence with Whole Foods, competitors brace for what’s next

Ask any broker who’s dealt with… [more]

How REITs are making it work

TRD’s tracking of real estate investment trust activity reveals that the struggle to lease spaces means they’re buying less, but when they do, they’re diversifying in a bid to ride out the market

Now more than ever, REITs in the retail space are being forced to raise… [more]

Retail’s revolving door

While some apparel brands are enjoying a surprising bounce back, a slew of bankruptcies and downsizing efforts from other tenants have mall landlords scrambling to fill space

The onslaught of retail bankruptcies and store closings in the past year has mall owners in a mad dash to fill … [more]

The co-working cure?

The shared office trend is drawing a captive audience to neighboring shops, but oversupply of that type of work space could negatively impact retail owners

Before Josh Freed opened a 6,000-square-foot co-working facility in a pair of storefronts in Montrose, Colorado, the two spaces had stood abandoned for more than… [more]

Software’s symbiosis
with brokers

A host of data tools are boosting retail brokers’ ability to scout locations and target buyers and tenants

With new data-harnessing tools, retail real estate brokers have the power to go from global to granular in just a few clicks, offering tenants, developers and owners… [more]

Retail’s biggest newsmakers

The top headlines in retail real estate over the past year show big operators pushing ahead with new strategies for battling tough market conditions

The last year in retail has been marked by stories that would have been unimaginable a decade — or even a few years — ago, from the struggles of iconic… [more]

Toying with the formula

The giraffe mascot of Toys “R” Us, seen on this issue’s cover as a lanky giant laid low, made for a fitting visual for the company it represented — a… [more]


With Rikers Island and several other prisons in NYC shuttering, developers are stepping in to redevelop
The HPD commissioner on her poor gardening skills, shoveling snow on the High Line,
and warding off evil spirits
The EDC president and CEO on running an $850M operation, courting life- science tenants
and his love of cooking
A roundup of news and data on the residential market
A roundup of news and data on the residential market
A roundup of news and data on the commercial market
A roundup of news and data on the commercial market
The funniest and most insightful comments
on real estate

We Heard

Adam Leitman Bailey, the pugnacious real estate attorney, is showing a softer side with a new children’s book called “Home.” It’s the story of a little boy who looks all… [more]

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