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Real Estate Roundup 8.19.20

Real Estate Roundup:

Acquisitions

  • American Stock Transfer & Trust sold a 147,520-square-foot office building at 6201 15th Avenue in Bensonhurst, and a vacant lot of 8,400 square feet at 6301 15th Avenue, for $29.5 million. Shiya Labin was the buyer.
  • BlackRock sold a 43,173-square-foot multifamily building at 185 Claremont Avenue in Morningside Heights to Prana Investments for $15.8 million. The six-story property contains 62 residential units.
  • The Glick family’s GPG Properties has sold its multifamily property at 150 East 91st Street to Redeemer Presbyterian Church for $29.5 million. The building spans 21,342 SF, and contains 25 apartments in its current form, but features 23,752 SF of unused development rights. Redeemer will now convert the existing structure into a church. (TRD+CO)

Foreclosures + Special Servicing

  • Joe Sitt’s Thor Equities has defaulted on a $25 million mezzanine note from SL Green on 590 Fifth Avenue. The real estate investment trust has scheduled a foreclosure auction on the 19-story, 100,000-square-foot building for Oct. 15. The REIT will take over payments on the property’s $83 million senior mortgage. Several tenants at the building had stopped paying rent amid the pandemic, including co-working firm Knotel. (BI)
  • Around 7 percent of the commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) sphere was transferred to special servicing in the first half of this year as the country and the commercial real estate finance sector wrestled with life under the weight of the pandemic. This tsunami of transfers stands in stark contrast to the mere 674 CMBS loans, totaling $9.1 billion, that special servicers had their hands on at the end of last year. (CO)

Office 

  • The Empire State Building looks vulnerable to losing office tenants as more companies embrace remote work or cheaper satellite offices outside city centers. Some in the industry say it is worse off than many peers because the building relies on smaller office tenants, which tend to be more at risk during a downturn… Although the observatory has reopened, it was reported that there were only about a dozen visitors there on Friday. (WSJ)
  • In Zoom meetings and socially distant conference rooms all over Wall Street, senior executives are trying to map out a post-Covid world. A big piece of these discussions is figuring out how many of the tens of millions of employees currently working remotely need to return to the office. A senior Wall Street executive told Politico that the calculus is now quite different as many workers are desperate to get back to the office: “What we’ve all found out the hard way the last five months is that we are working harder and it’s more intense and there are no breaks, or community. And it bleeds into weekends and you are kind of on 24/7. We are having rolling nervous breakdowns.” Still, the banker said the company would eventually need less real estate. (Politico)

Retail 

  • Zappos — the Amazon-owned online shoe retailer — appears to be launching a brick-and-mortar location. The company has reportedly leased the three-level, roughly 16,000-square-foot corner of 19 Union Square West at 15th Street that was previously home to American Eagle and its concept-store spinoff, AE Studio. (NYPost)
  • The Landmark at 57 West, an arthouse cinema at 657 West 57th Street, will close its doors permanently, leaving just one independent movie theater north of 14th Street. (IndieWire)

Tech 

  • Merchants Hospitality filed a $2.5 million lawsuit against Sonder Friday in Manhattan Supreme Court for damages after the startup backed out of the deal to lease the entire 100-unit Z NYC Hotel at 11-01 43rd Avenue in LIC. (CO)

Politics 

  • State regulators and the real estate industry have postponed a showdown over tenant-paid broker fees for the third time. This delays the parties’ Sept. 25 court date to Oct. 23, court filings show. (TRD)
  • As if New York City’s real estate industry didn’t have enough to worry about, a proposed pied-à-terre tax has taken a step forward in Albany… The bill’s sponsors have overcome a technical issue involving co-ops that largely prevented the tax from being approved last year. And the Assembly and Senate versions of the bill have been made identical, meaning if they pass, they would go to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk to be signed into law or vetoed. (TRD)

Governor Andrew Cuomo is under fire for announcing that he will author a book, “American Crisis,” about his handling of coronavirus… “I didn’t realize this whole thing was over and elected officials had time to write books and reflect on it now,” Washington Post book critic Carlos Lozada wrote. Cuomo is regularly blamed for thousands of deaths in New York’s nursing homes after his controversial policy in late March essentially ordered nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients from hospitals, a measure designed to free up hospital beds. (FoxNews)

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