Happy birthday, Building Congress! – Commercial Observer

On Thursday evening, many of the real estate industry’s most important people dusted off their fanciest clothes and headed for the expanded Javits Center to banquet as they did (“banquet” can be used as a verb, right?) in honor of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the New York Building Congress.

We at Commercial Observer spoke to the Building Congress ahead of the celebration: President of Congress Carlo Scissura spoke on the new Adams administration and federal infrastructure spending; we learned the story of Congress President Elizabeth Velez, who led the organization at the most difficult time possible; we told the history of the Building Congress from when it was a sleepy golf club until now when it’s a force for the industry; and we learned how the construction industry at large endured in the past 20 months painful.

And there were reasons for contractors and construction professionals to party beyond just celebrating the centenary; President Biden signed his infrastructure bill this week, which will undoubtedly be a boon for builders. new York should see the money poured into a number of projects that have been in the hopper for years.

COVID Update

It was the old good news / bad news for COVID-19 this week.

On the positive side, Governor Kathy Hochul called on New York businesses to bring workers back to the office after the New Year, deeming the city safe. Plus the United States Food and Drug Administration booster injections allowed for all people 18 years of age and over.

On the wrong front there was a peak COVID rates and the governor warned people that they needed to be vaccinated. Additionally, there is much less bite in the government’s demand for people to get vaccinated or tested regularly after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. suspension of the application of a federal vaccination mandate pending the outcome of a battle in a federal court challenging the order.


It looks like the companies are with Hochul on the return-to-work issue, as it was another week of big leases.

The biggest rental move wasn’t a move at all. MSG (aka Madison Square Garden) has decided to renew its 428,000 square foot lease for its head office at 2 Penn de Vornado. (It doesn’t matter if it’s a renewal, we’re talking about almost half a million square feet of space here!)

But other deals have also crossed the 100,000 mark. LeFrak, for example, has made deals worth 100,000 square feet. at 40 West 57th Street. (We also don’t care that these were technically five separate agreements. The calculation still totals 100,000 square feet.)

Pet supply subscription company BarkBox takes a long walk from 221 Canal Street at the fair trade building of Silverstein Properties at 120 Broadway, where it sits on 52,000 square feet. And speaking of Silverstein, the Index Exchange advertising firm took a 13 year sublet from Casper Sleep at 3 World Trade Center.

In addition, the city seems attractive enough to people from the outside: Texas-based asset manager and debt investor Sycamore Tree Capital Partners took 3,551 square feet at 437 Madison Avenue; Voro Motors, the Los Angeles-based electric scooter maker, grabbed 4,250 square feet in Brooklyn’s Industry City for its first east coast outpost; and UK investment manager JO Hambro Capital Management got a new 5,237 square foot office at 437 Madison Avenue of the William Kaufman organization.

If all this activity gives you a burst of excitement … well, stay away from the new, Starbucks inflated by 2,250 square feet come to Hudson Yards. (This will be “a little prettier” to fit the image of Related’s Hudson Yards, apparently. We’re a little curious what that means.) And, speaking of the Bucks, the Java giant also has opened a cafe without a cashier this week at 111 East 59th Street in partnership with Amazon; the duo are also planning two other such locations.

Florida always shines

If you bought in Florida in 2014, your property is worth a lot more than it was before. How much more?

Stiles Corporation, to take an example, done almost eight times what he paid for a Fort Lauderdale mall he bought at the time for $ 2.4 million this week. (Wait. Save a second. You could have bought an entire mall in a large South Florida market for less than the price of a Brooklyn brownstone in 2014?! Good time.)

This is what you might call a “home run” in business. Someone who also knows a bit about the circuits is Alex Rodriguez. Legendary Slugger Teams Up With Starwood buy some 45 homes in South Florida for $ 18.4 million. (We love homers. But our favorite might be Homer Simpson. Did you know there is a new “Simpsons” pop-up in … wait for it … Springfield, Virginia?)

Everyone is galloping towards the Sunshine State as if they had received a free kick at the third base line. Kushner Companies and PTM Partners have joined forces to build a multi-family project of 420 housing units at 2000 Biscayne Boulevard in Edgewater. (Disclosure: Nicole Meyer, director of Kushner, is married to CO editor Joseph Meyer.)

Finally, Steve Witkoff announced restoration and renovation plans the Shore Club Hotel and the Cromwell Hotel in Miami Beach with the eminent Robert AM Stern leading the restoration efforts.

The big deal of the week

The figure that caught our attention this week was $ 300 million. Global construction company Hilti Group has announced it is acquiring Fieldwire, the construction site management software startup, for this gargantuan sum. (It was an even bigger deal than Takeover of Lane Technologies by VTS for $ 200 million last month, and we thought it was awesome!)

For that kind of money, Hilti could buy nearly five life science buildings in Los Angeles, if this recent agreement from the University of Southern California is a guide.

The owners are talking!

Finally, CO published its annual report this week Owners magazine. In addition to the 41 different mega-owners interviewed on all subjects, from the moment they think the pandemic is over until their feelings about incoming mayor, Eric Adams, the magazine also contained articles about the mayor Bill de Blasio’s legacy, the future of Moratorium on evictions in New York, the fact that the pandemic has clouded the idea that everyone how to evaluate their properties, that the big players explosion on the single-family rental scene means for mid-size homeowners, and an appraisal of how New York’s real estate stock withstood Hurricane Ida (literally). (Speaking of which, New York University this week released a study saying that feared and despised people Local Law 97 could be much cheaper and offer much greater savings than homeowners realize.)

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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