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[24 Feb 2015 | No Comment | ]
Planning leader looking to change history

By Konrad Putzier
Last summer, Purnima Kapur left Brooklyn behind and moved her office to the Department of City Planning’s headquarters in Lower Manhattan.
As the agency’s new executive director, she now oversees its 300 employees and operations across the entire city. But New York’s largest borough still has a special importance to her.
“I miss Brooklyn, it’s sort of where my planning heart lies,” she said, speaking ahead of her keynote appearance at Real Estate Weekly’s annual Women’s Forum today (Wednesday).
Kapur began her career in the Department of City Planning’s (DCP) Brooklyn …

Finance & Accounting, Headline »

[20 Feb 2015 | No Comment | ]
City investment in affordable housing off to slow start under de Blasio

The de Blasio administration has invested $400 million in affordable housing since the beginning of 2014, according to New York City’s commissioner of housing development and preservation, Vicki Been. The figure, disclosed by Been at a conference at Baruch College Thursday, indicates that the administration will have to dramatically increase its investment pace in order to create and preserve 200,000 affordable housing units by 2024.
But while public investment has been off to an expected slow start, the administration has had success attracting private investment.
“The city has put its money where …

Headline »

[18 Feb 2015 | No Comment | ]
Developer hears opportunity knocking where others fail to look

Greystone Property Development’s strategy resembles that of a truffle pig: It makes a living by searching where others don’t even bother to look.

This helps explain why the firm just became the first developer to bring new condos to City Island in more than 15 years.

In Manhattan and Brooklyn, Greystone has applied the same strategy of keeping its nose to the ground and sniffing out off-market deals with potential for profit.

The firm recently bought two sites in Clinton Hill where it will develop rental buildings. It is also turning a landmarked former public bathhouse in Gowanus into condos and building a rental tower on an adjacent parcel.

“Our strategy has always been to look for under-performing assets — for properties that are not in the market and opportunities that are not obvious to the street,” Simpson said.

Construction & Design, Headline »

[11 Feb 2015 | No Comment | ]
Fingers pointed in DOB bribery scandal

As the city’s Department of Buildings announced a massive bribery ring, one construction expert pointed the finger at City Hall.

“If everything was running smoothly at the DOB, there wouldn’t be a problem (of this size),” said Ray Mellon, a construction litigator and senior partner of Zetlin & De Chiara, “People want to get their jobs done.”

Following an investigation that launched in October of 2013, nearly 50 members of the city’s building and construction community, including municipal inspectors, were arrested yesterday (Tuesday) amidst claims they pocketed everything from Caribbean cruises to new SUVs to push paperwork through the system for harried developers

Construction & Design, Headline »

[11 Feb 2015 | No Comment | ]
Williamsburg hotel being built in Poland

By Konrad Putzier
One of Williamsburg’s latest hotels is being built in Poland. You read that right. And a developer on the Bowery may soon follow its lead.
Polcom Modular, a Polish modular construction firm, is assembling the modular units for a 254-room pod hotel at 626 Driggs Avenue. Once assembled, the units will be shipped to New York and installed in July or August, according to developer Charles Blaichman. Construction is expected to finish by the first quarter of 2016.
People familiar with the matter told Real Estate Weekly that Polcom is …

Brokers Weekly, Headline »

[9 Feb 2015 | No Comment | ]
Urban Compass renames itself, launches new website

By Konrad Putzier
Brokerage Urban Compass has shortened its name to Compass in a bid to make its brand more memorable, as it announced the launch of an expanded website.
“Compass is a simpler, more universally memorable brand name that speaks directly to the connection between people and technology that is so central to what we are building,” said Matt Spangler, Head of Marketing and Creative for Compass.
Along with the name change, Compass also launched a new website that now includes listings in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia. Last November, Compass had …

Construction & Design, Headline »

[4 Feb 2015 | No Comment | ]
Architects puzzle over modular ‘headscratcher’

When Forest City Ratner announced in 2012 that it would build a modular tower at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NYU professor Patricia Lancaster claimed the project “has the potential to be revolutionary”.

More than two years later, much of the initial euphoria has evaporated amid cost overruns, delays and technical problems at the site.

Nonetheless, several of New York’s leading architects still believe that modular building is the future. But they also argue the industry has to transform itself first in order to unlock its nearly limitless potential.

“We need someone from outside the industry to come in, look at the problem and really apply some serious capital,” said Stephen Kieran, a partner at architecture firm KieranTimberlake.

Deals & Dealmakers, Headline »

[3 Feb 2015 | No Comment | ]
Rudin sings 580,000 s/f Broadway deal

The Rudin Family has signed a lease renewal and expansion with its longtime tenant, worldwide media company Publicis Groupe, involving 580,000 square feet of office space at 1675 Broadway, until 2031.

The deal is the largest lease transaction completed in the Manhattan office market year-to-date in 2015.

Publicis currently occupies the building’s second through 16th floors with digital and media buying division Starcom MediaVest Group in the majority of that block, while the company’s advertising agency, Publicis/KTG, is situated on floors 28 through 30, for a total of 480,000 s/f.

Construction & Design, Headline »

[28 Jan 2015 | No Comment | ]
What’s driving builders’ race to the skies?

In Manhattan’s concrete canyons, daylight is becoming a rare commodity.

2014 saw the opening of the Western Hemisphere’s tallest office tower and the topping-out of its tallest residential tower. Soon, half a dozen residential skyscrapers around 57th Street will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Empire State building, until fairly recently, by far the city’s tallest building.

What’s driving this upward race is the result of a complex mix of factors that have more to do with cyclical forces than linear progress …

Headline, Property Managers »

[27 Jan 2015 | No Comment | ]
Blizzard of 2015: All going according to plan

The “Blizzard of 2015” ended up sparing New York City, as the majority of the area sustained little more than a few inches of snow.

Though the city may have gotten off easy this time, having a thorough and organized plan in place is a must for any property manager who is preparing for a temporary shutdown or an onslaught of unfriendly weather conditions.

“Local Law 26 is a mandate from the city. (Property managers) have to have something that’s called an emergency action plan,” John Brandstetter, managing director at The Brandstetter Group and chairman of the Weather Committee of BOMA/NY told Real Estate Weekly.

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