Retail landlords turn to e-sports, Amazon eyes Queens warehouse: Daily digest

A daily round up of real estate news, deals and more for July 30, 2019

The Daily Digest - Tuesday

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Compass is back in the IPO spotlight. In an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box, company boss Robert Reffkin during an interview acknowledged the likelihood of an IPO, but said thanks to patient investors, Compass has flexible timing. According to experts, though, “there’s never been a better time to tap the IPO market.” [TRD]


Fire, flood and profits. So-called “disaster investors” are increasingly buying up properties damaged by floods, wildfires, hurricanes and other catastrophic events — and flipping them for a gain. [TRD


The Corcoran Group is going all in on lead-generation. The brokerage has announced an exclusive partnership with Swedish firm AdFenix, that will automatically create Facebook ad campaigns for every new listing on Corcoran’s website starting August 1. More brokerages have begun to embrace this model, which was once associated with less experienced agents and upstart firms trying to game the system. Speaking of which…. [TRD]


Lead-gen brokerage Elegran was behind a network of fake building websites. TRD first exposed a network of 270+ lead-generating building websites in May, but the identity of the sites’ creators remained unknown. New research tools now reveal a direct connection between those sites and executives at Elegran Real Estate — a lead-generation firm which previously admitted to buying leads from the network. [TRD]


Are esports the answer to the retail apocalypse? Increasing numbers of retail landlords are looking to esports facilities to revive struggling mall and hotel properties, the Wall Street Journal reports. Mall owner Simon Property Group is planning to host competitive esports events at some of its New York and Los Angeles properties, while the New Yorker Hotel sold out hundreds of rooms for a recent event and plans to host more in the future. [WSJ]


Amazon is considering a new warehouse in Queens, too. A week after the e-commerce giant was reported to be looking for space at Industry City in Brooklyn for a new 1 million-square-foot logistics facility, Amazon’s search has extended across Newtown Creek into Queens. The company is eyeing a site at 55-15 Grand Avenue in Maspeth, which a partnership between RXR Realty and LBA Realty picked up for $72 million last year. [Crain’s]


Compass’ latest funding round values it at $6.4 billion. The high tech brokerage announced its Series G on Tuesday, with a mix of old and new investors including Dragoneer Investment Group — a late-stage investor that backed Slack and Uber before they went public. The firm plans to use the new funding to “accelerate our growth and further our technology advancements.” [TRD]


Deutsche Bank has dumped JLL for CBRE amid a global downsizing. The German bank has quietly tapped the new firm to be its global real estate representative as it dramatically restructures its global operations. Deutsche Bank is looking to sublease space at Time Warner Center before it even moves in — soon after giving two floors back to landlord Related. [NYP]


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Goldman Sachs is bringing back a fund business it dropped after the financial crisis. The investment bank’s real estate investment unit is raising a $2.5 billion fund that is structured similarly to its former Whitehall Property Funds. Those funds thrived around the turn of the century but suffered major losses during the downturn. [WSJ]


New York is running out of space for schools. New York’s School Construction Authority is set to issue a request for proposals for property in coming weeks, for the first time in decades, as agency officials say it is becoming difficult to find sites for new public schools. For example, an analysis of 7,000 city-owned properties found only two viable sites. School construction is struggling to respond to demographic changes, especially in rapidly developing areas like Long Island City. [WSJ]


In the wake of rent law changes, REBNY has new guidelines for landlords. The trade group released a new lease template for its members on Monday reflecting new limits on security deposits and late rent fees, as well as new rules surrounding apartment inspections. REBNY says it was already working on the new templates prior to the new rent laws. [TRD]


200 Amsterdam Avenue is facing another legal challenge. Opponents of a controversial Upper West Side tower have filed a new Article 78 petition against the project, alleging that the Board of Standards and Appeals failed to properly apply zoning rules when it green-lit the project (again) last month. [Curbed]


Sting has closed on his penthouse at 220 CPS. The British rocker closed on his $65.7 million buy at Vornado Realty Trust’s uber-luxe building on Monday, property records show. Sting, whose real name is Gordon Sumner, went into contract on the top residence of the building’s 18-story “villa” portion three years ago, in June 2016. [TRD]


Milstein Properties is closing in on a $750 million refi at “The Company Building.” Brookfield Property Partners is nearing a deal to refinance the 1.1 million-square-foot tech hub at 335 Madison Avenue. CEO Howard Milstein initially planned to tear down the building, but committed to a $100 million renovation in 2017. [TRD]


Pi Capital Partners is planning a 26-story building in Koreatown. The 67,000-square-foot mixed-use project at 335 Fifth Avenue will contain 82 residential units and 11,000 square feet of commercial space, according to plans filed on Friday. Pi Capital, a family-run firm, has owned the building since at least 1998. [TRD]

Compiled by Kevin Sun



Residential sales:
An entity tied to hedge funder Andrew J. Immerman bought a condo for $11.6 million at 1110 Park Avenue in Carnegie Hill. [ACRIS]

Commercial sales:
The Lightstone Group bought a development site off Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for $28.99 million. Grupo Financiero Inbursa provided a $16 million loan for the development site. [ACRIS 1,2,3,4,5]

Extell refinanced 17 West 60th Street, 23 West 24th Street and 25 West 24th Street in Manhattan with a $113.8 million loan from Deutsche Bank. [ACRIS]

Compiled by Mary Diduch