Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Morning Links

Good morning everyone! Last day at 41 Union Square today and then we will be on to 817 Broadway permanently. I am looking forward to working at only one office and being able to settle in and get back to quality blogging.
New Building Applications Fall To Just Three In September (The Real Deal)
Mortgage Bailout Plans Floated (NY Times)
Commuter Cycling Soars 35% This Year (NY Times)
For $50k/Month You Can Live In A-Rod's Pad (NY Post)
Jersey City Is Feeling The (Wall St.) Pain (NY Post)
Madison Square Toy Center Condos Get New Crown (Curbed)Share B

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thursday Morning Links

Average Sales Price By Zip Code- 10065 Is Tops! (Property Shark via Observer)
Concerned Fed Cuts Rates Another 1/2 Point (NY Times)
Sales Down, Vacancy Rates Up (The Real Deal)
Nets To Be Traded To Dubai Or Russia? (Curbed)
Hotel Projects Getting Shelved (Observer)
Hamptons Feel The Freeze- Sales And Prices Down (Newsday)Share B

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wednesday Morning Links

Harlem Condo Sales Drop 76% (Observer)
Landmarks Gives Green Light To St. Vincent's Demo Job (The Real Deal)
Foreign Buyers Dry Up (The Real Deal)
Manhattan Rents Down, Inventory Up (Gothamist)
Map Of Manhattan's Deadliest Streets (Gothamist)
Investors Await, Anticipate, Another Fed Rate Cut (Bloomberg)
Far Rockaway Neglected By City, Faces Crime Wave (Queens Crap)Share B

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Move Continues....

Sorry about the lack of blog posts, folks. The big move to 817 Broadway continues! It's a little more work than I anticipated. I have shredded the equivalent to 25 garbage bags of old paperwork. Now fortunately, I am getting most of my files over, and will be working out of 2 offices over the next 2 days. 817 Broadway, here we come!Share B

Tuesday Morning Links

Good morning everyone! Plenty of links today.
My only comment for the day is that I would like to officially call "bullshit" on all this depression talk. Yes, many things have happened over the past several months that haven't happened in decades. However, anyone contending that we are entering some sort of a depression is a quack! Personally, I believe that if the Fed and Treasury hadn't made the twin colossal errors of letting Lehman fail altogether and then screwing the preferred holders of Fannie and Freddie, we'd be well on the road to recovery. Even with these errors, there are signs, albeit faint that housing in the most volatile corners may be reaching a bottom.

Both new and existing home sales were actually up in September. Prices were still down and volume was way off last year's pace, however, it is a start. Lower prices eventually attract buyers, and there is no doubt that prices are lower. The NYC market has seen nowhere near the depreciation that the national market has and is clearly lagging. Prices (or mortgage rates) will have to come down to stoke demand.

Is "Alma" On West 21st An "Arrested Development"? (Curbed)
Will $20 Billion In Bonuses Be Enough To Save Real Estate? (Observer)
New Home Sales Rise! (Bloomberg)
Existing Home Sales Rise! (Bloomberg)
City Tax Revenues Leap, Despite Wall Street Woes (Reuters)
Commercial Vacancy Rate To Jump Fron 12 to 17 Percent Next Year (Crain's)
Seaport Developer Removes CEO Amid $27Bil. Pile Of Debt (Observer)
Chang Sells Midtown South Hotel For $46 Mil. (The Real Deal)
Richard Meier Gloomy On Market (Gothamist)Share B

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday Morning Links

Friday turned out not to be the absolute disaster that everyone had predicted up until the open of the stock market. Still, just a couple of months ago, a 300 point drop would be seen as a crash. Today we work under different definitions. Still, the futures look pretty bad again today, so I guess the wreckage continues to pile up.
My sister left the city six weeks ago to campaign on behalf of Obama in the sticks of Western Missouri (a tough sell). It has been a familiar campaign refrain, not only 'are you better off today then you were 4 years ago', but 'are you better off today than you were 4 weeks ago'. As much as she can't wait to get home, I almost feel the need to warn her of the discernible shift in mood since she left.
I'll have more on the economy this week and I look forward to your thoughtful input.
"Trophy" Apartments Lose Appeal, Hit Market (NY Times)
On The Trail Of Architect Stanford White (NY Times)
Even Dubai Is Starting To Worry (Dow Jones)
Stuytown Finances Start To Get Downright Scary (Crain's)Share B

Friday, October 24, 2008

Presidential Politics In The City


It's the McCain Boat!


No, it's the Obama Boat!


McCain supporter in front of Obama sign.

That's one happy McCain supporter in front of the Obama sign at Gray's Papaya on 72nd and Broadway. "we are ready to believe again" is the slogan that this vet is blocking. Chances are that he may not be quite as happy in 11 days. But will he believe?

On the East River, I caught this yesterday from an apartment on Beekman. At first all I saw was the McCain side, and I wondered how this sailor got lost and maybe a few other choice things. Then when it turned around in front of me, I was happy to see that this was an equal opportunity vessel with Barack on the other side. It's called "The Vote Boat". Ok, I can handle that. The most important thing to do is vote.Share B

Friday Morning Links

S + P futures have hit the circuit breakers this morning, meaning that they can trade, but only if the trade is inside the 60 point drop limit. Throughout all the tumult in the markets, this is the first time I recall limit down before the market opens. The European markets are getting crushed this morning with markets widely down 6-10%. In a month and year of worsts, this week could prove to be one of the worst if not the worst ever.

I'm happy Bloomberg will have the opportunity to run for a third term. I am not happy with the way that it has been done.

European Markets, S+P Futures Point To Grim Open On Wall Street (NY Times)
Bloomberg Wins Council Vote For Third Term (NY Times)
Boo Hoo: Bianca Jagger Loses Rent Controlled Apartment (Observer)
Goldman Sachs To Sack 10% Of Workforce (Forbes)
Tom Cruise Now Owns 5 Apartments At American Felt Building (NY Post)
Fed Weighs Mortgage Bailout Plan (WSJ)Share B

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday Morning Links

Jayden And Ashley City's Most Popular Baby Names (CityRoom)
Close Term Limit Vote In City Council Imminent (NYDN)
Queens Housing Prices And Sales Plunge (Crain's)
Toyota Renegotiates Lease, Get 10% Off At Citicorp Center (Crain's)
Related To Build 58 Story Tower At 42nd And 10th (Observer)
Competition Fierce For Pier 57 Project (Curbed)Share B

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wednesday Morning Links

Manhattan's Five Biggest Apartment Building Sales Of 2008 (Observer)
IRS Decides Tax-Free Financing for Atlantic Yards Okay (Curbed)
Yankees May Have Grass, But Mets Have Demolition Edge (Curbed)
New York market slated to be among first to bounce back, report says (The Real Deal)
The Plaza About To Sell Out (Observer)
On Deal With Fed, Goldman Salaries Restricted, Bonuses Are Not (Bloomberg)
Swig Among Many Developers Caught In Lehman's Black Hole Of Financing (NY Post)
Buyers Take Pass On Tom Brady's Posh Pads (Boston Herald)Share B

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday Morning Links

You may have noticed a few less articles on the blog of late, and there is a reason. We are moving! After 6 years at 41 Union Square West we have decided that this is the time. Of course getting a nearly 30% increase in combined rent and electric charges made the decision very easy. We will be moving to 817 Broadway over the next 2 weeks. The move will allow us to enjoy better technology and support, while giving us the flexibility to find a larger space at our leisure. The location, at 12th and Broadway, will keep us ideally situated to keep tabs on Union Square, while I must admit, it may be a bit too close to Max Brenner's chocolate place!
The daily links will continue over the next 2 weeks uninterrupted and since much of the organizational preparations have already been undertaken look forward to a regular stream of compelling content.
Seaport Redevelopment Fight Carries On (Curbed)
New Jersey Firm Seeks To Build 2400 Units On The Water In LIC North (NYDN)
Manhattan Apartments Vacancy Rates Slowly Creeping Up, Rents Steady (Observer)
Is It Time To Buy? (NY Mag)
Freedom Tower Get Above Ground (City Room)
Mariska Hargitay Flips Her Penthouse To Big Landlord for $8.15 M. (Observer)Share B

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Monday Morning Links

Ah, it was a nice weekend wasn't it? Some cool fresh air and fall weather to take you away from all of it!
I did learn one thing this weekend, I still can't really watch much 9/11 related stuff. I know it's been years, but the pain and emotion is still awfully fresh. I tried, really tried this weekend. As I was laying in bed comforting my youngest daughter who had fallen asleep, I tried to watch the movie WTC with Nicholas Cage and some other duds. Although the movie had all the authenticity of a low rate made for TV disaster movie, I watched the last hour or so, and despite the awful acting I think I cried for a solid half hour. I haven't cried in years, and so long as I stay away from the terrible memory of 9/11, it may be years before I do again. It's still too early to revisit.
On a brighter note, here are my morning links:
Existing Home Sales Holding Up Surprisingly Well (Marketwatch)
Mixing Money And Family To Secure A NY Apt (NY Times)
A Look At Koreatown (NY Times)
OMG! Foreclosure At The Ritz In Boston (Luxist)
Luxist's All Inclusive Nation Lux RE Wrap (Luxist)
Hamptons Poverty: EH Cuts After School Programs and Daycare, Freezes Town Board Salaries, Halves Clerks Salaries (East Hampton Star)
NYC Hotels Start To Feel The Pinch (Crain's)Share B

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Morning Links

Yuckety-Yuck: Obama, McCain Toast And Roast At Alfred E. Smith Dinner (NY Times)
Guys Like A-Rod, Wright Exceptions, Most City Sports Stars Opt For Burbs (AMNY)
East Harlem Selling Well Because, Well, It's Cheap! (NY Post)
GWB Bus Depot Designs Revealed (NY Post)
Ruby Red Stairway To Nowhere Finally Debuts On Broadway (CityRoom)
Building Blocking Your View? Just Build Sideways (The Real Deal)
Property Shark Unveils Hot New Interactive Sale Map (PropertyShark)Share B

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thursday Morning Links

On The Ground With Mogul Bill Rudin (Business Week)
Another hotel For LIC (The Real Deal)
Move Over Trump Soho, Extell Building 36 Story Soho Hotel (Observer)
Trump: Bush Should Have Been Impeached (Observer)Share B

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

East 70's Report: Mighty Isis Rising! 255 East 74th Looks Done


"The Isis" Rises


255 East 74th, Impressive!

A little update on development in the East 70's:

The Isis, the Alchemy Properties boutique condo project is off the ground. The condo, which is billed as a boutique condo with "family sized" apartments is above the ground!

255 East 74th Street looks just about done. This building was an absolute sleeper. Nobody talked about it very much and it turns out they didn't need much press in selling units that range all the way up to $4000/ft., not too shabby for Second Avenue! The building is well over 90% sold. If there was an award for best execution and success of sales, marketing, and getting the price point, this building clearly ranks at the top of the heap. Kudos to World Wide Group. A job very well done.Share B

Someone Got Sick Of All Those Stupid Newspaper Boxes


This from 68th Street between Second and Third Ave last night. All I can say is, amen!

Now about those stupid ubiquitous street fairs.
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Tuesday Morning Links

Office Vacancies Climbing, Tenants Rejoice (Observer)
Map Shows What Post Recession NY Will Look Like (Curbed)
Extell Plans 15 Story Tower On West 20th Street (Observer)
Stuy Town Key Cards Stir Controversy (The Real Deal)
Rosen's 980 Madison Look Like A Go (Curbed)
Time Square Debt Clock To Get Extra Digit (Time)Share B

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Staying Local: "Dogmatic" On Union Square Worth A Shot




On the site of failed fast food sausage shop, Mandler's (17th St., East of Broadway), a new sausage shop has bravely opened shop. Dogmatic already has a leg up (ok, really bad pun).
Mandler's had alot of promise, but, in my opinion, they had one big flaw- they would serve the sausages lukewarm. Even when I insisted that my sausage be well done, still, lukewarm. Seriously, there is nothing grosser. So, before they even opened, I found the management of Dogmatic and told them that they have to serve them up hot. And, they have.
Dogmatic is a feel-good sausage shop. The decor is minimalist and clean, but more importantly is that it could be argued that they are a "green" business. The meats are from a local, sustainable farm, Violet Hill, which also has a stand at Union Square Green market on Saturdays. The meats are also hormone free, antibiotic free, nitrate free, artificial color free, and organic when possible. There is also organic ice cream, organic sorbets and handmade sodas.
So how was it? Well, pretty good, but also hard to tell. The sausage was hot, and the sourdough baguette it was served on (from Pain D'Avignon in LIC) was exceptional. Unfortunately, I asked for the hot french mustard on the sausage, so that was what I tasted. It certainly cleared my sinuses. Can I whole-heartedly endorse this shop? I'll have to try again without the hot mustard. Would I go back? Absolutely! I guess you'll have to roll down to 22 East 17th and judge for yourself.
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A. Fine Launches Beta Of NoFeeInNYC.com

There is a new blog in town, meant especially for present and future residents looking to rent an apartment in Manhattan. The site, www.NoFeeInNYC.com is up and running, but still a work in progress. As we all know, people just hate paying brokers fees when renting an apartment here in our fine city. Fortunately, there are a wide range of options available where brokers are compensated by the owners of the property. This means, of course that there is no fee to the renter. The idea of the blog is to highlight various offerings that come across my desk on a daily basis. So, if you are looking for a rental, give that blog a look, and if you like what you see, feel free to give us a call.Share B

Tuesday Morning Links

Sure looks like the markets love the Fed and Treasury's free money express. It's way too early to know if the latest plan, perhaps we call it the "bailout of the bailout" will actually work. The idea of equity and potential return for taxpayers is a step in the right direction. I'm sure I'll have plenty to say in the near future, in the meantime, here are your morning links:
$250 Billion Injected Into Banking System (NY Times)
New Aqueduct "Racino" Plans Unveiled (NYDN)
NYC Rental Market Softens Slightly (AMNY)
Forecast: NYC Building Boom To Peak In 2008 (Forbes)
Forecast: NYC Construction To Reach $93 Billion By 2010 (Reuters)
Radar Logic Starts 8 Manhattan Neighborhood Price Indices (Marketwatch)Share B

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday Morning Links

Breaking: Mitsubishi Closes Morgan Stanley Deal With Fed Assurances (WSJ)
Incentives Grow For Buyers At New Developments (NY Times)
FSBOs Call For Help (NY Times)
Wall Street Crisis Reaches The Hamptons (The Real Deal)
Swig Suspends Sales At 25 Broad (Curbed)
Is Tom Brady's Time Warner Pad Overpriced? (Luxist)
National Luxury Real Estate Wrap (Luxist)Share B

Friday, October 10, 2008

The 4% Solution, Amended

The Fed, the Treasury, the Congress, and the presidential candidates seem to come up with a new idea every few hours about how to solve our economic crisis. So far we have spent a couple of Trillion dollars to no avail. Why? The answer is simple. The majority of these ideas do absolutely nothing to solve the core reason that this crisis began and continues to grow every day- falling housing prices. So while Hank Paulson and friends are putting us into multi-generational debt, and fundamentally changing our economic system, nothing is being done or proposed to stem falling home prices, the core issue that must be addressed.

The solution, as I have mentioned before, is to insure that rates are so comppelling that it creates strong demand for housing. Whether it is just a matter of prodding Fannie and Freddie (who we the taxpayers now own), or actually subsidizing current and future homeowners by offering lower rates, lower mortgage rates are the key to getting out of this mess.

I mentioned a week ago that Fannie and Freddie must lower 30 year conforming rates to 5.25%. Now, I have backing. In numerous articles published today, noted former White House economist and Dean of The Columbia School Of Business has proposed that the government refinance every mortgage held by Fannie and Freddie into 30 year fixed loans at 5.25%. Of course, my plan goes further by making the 5.25% rate available to everyone (including new buyers) and for the government to cut checks totalling 4% of all new home purchases to the lender to buy the rate down to 4%. This, would greatly increase the demand for housing, drive prices up, and positively impact all of the overleveraged securities which are ailing the global economy. Best yet, it is multitudes cheaper than nationalizing the entire financial system, and will it free us to continue as a capitalist economy.

I have made a few amendments to my 4% solution plan. Here it is as bullet points:
- Force Fannie and Freddie to offer 5.25% fixed 30 year mortgages for all existing homeowners and all potential home buyers for the foreseeable future.
- Institute a plan to grant each home buyer a 4% cash credit to be used at closing to buy down the rate to 4%. This credit can be phased out over time as the housing market and economy improve.
- Require 10% down on all home purchases (this is lower than my previous 20% requirement, but with housing prices low and 4% mortgage rates, this should be doable).

It is a simple plan and it will work. If you the blog viewer, knows anyone of influence, please spread the word about the 4% solution. As always, your comments are appreciated.Share B

Friday Morning Links

Global Markets Continue Dive (NY Times)
Rogue Rental Agent Bilks Customer Of $100k (The Real Deal)
Empire State Building Rediscovers It's Deco Roots (Urbanite)
Mets Auction Bits Of Old Stadium (Crains)
Liu Speaks Out Against Willets Point Plan (Queens Crap)
Con Ed Sees Rise In Delinquencies, Shut Offs Up 13% (NY Times)Share B

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thursday Morning Links

It is only human nature to be spooked when a salesman tells you that you have to buy it right now, right this second. This seems to be the problem that both Paulson and Bernanke seem to be having with the financial markets- they are extremely poor salesmen, and common investors are reacting by walking away from the table. The multi-gazillion idea du jour, is, and we knew it would come to this, partial nationalization of the entire banking system. So, we have learned something new about economic systems here. Capitalism, if left on it's own, unregulated, leads to socialism.
In speaking with a banker friend last night, the explanation of the crisis is simple. Banks have been cooking the books for years and now everyone knows it. Now banks won't lend to each other because nobody knows for sure if the other guy is actually solvent. Great. So, the solution is to throw Trillions at the problem and sort out these little solvency problems later. This probably explains the rush job. Apparently, Paulson & Co. have little interest in getting their banker buddies in trouble. If nobody trusts each other, perhaps we should have a nationwide audit to clear the good banks from the bad, before we go nationalizing everything. Finally, the crooks that ran these banks should be stripped of every dime they have and be thrown in jail for a very long time.
U.S. Mulls Partially Nationalizing Banks (NY Times)
Manhattan House Retail Sells For $86 Million (The Real Deal)
Era Of The Million Dollar Studio Lives On (Curbed)
Brooklyn Nondos And Rent-To-Own Are All The Rage (Curbed)Share B

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wednesday Morning Links

Sorry about the late post today. I have 2 kids at home sick and I am on a full day of daddy duty. I still have a good post in me today, nonetheless.
The headlines today are almost too numerous. As someone said on CNBC yesterday, we've had about 10 years of headlines in the past 3 weeks.
Most important is that the Fed, in an action coordinated with the Brits, the ECB, and several other countries, have cut both the discount rate and fed funds rate by half a point. We can only hope that eventually one of the fed's actions over the past several months will work. We also hope that this has some impact on mortgage rates. Lower mortgage rates are key to reviving the slumping national housing market.
Fed And Major Central Banks Cut Rates In Concert (Marketwatch)
August Housing Sales Up 7.4% (AP)
Bank Deals Could Leave Empty Spaces (NY Times)
Manhattan High End Inventory Doubles (Observer)
Housing Recession Approaches Manhattan As Prices Fall Nearby (Bloomberg)
Dubai's Property Market Defies World's Woes (Int'l Herald Tribune)Share B

Field Trip: Free Walking Tours In Central Park





Yes, that is a real wild turkey, smack in the middle of Central Park.
Needing a good idea of how to spend a day with the kids last weekend, I hit the net. There always seems to be something going on there, so I figured I'd start there.
I came across the "Amble In The Ramble" free walking tour, and the kids were instantly excited. The tour, which lasted a little longer than an hour, was very informative, and some good exercise. Turns out there are a dozen or so free walking tours which are given rain or shine on a regular basis (except during extreme weather).
So, if you need something to do with the kids on a weekend, check Central Park's website. Upcoming events include a Pumpkin Festival and the haunting of Belvidere Castle on October 25th, just to name a couple.
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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tuesday Morning Links

Zuckerman On Bailout: Wrong Solution (Observer)
Mogul, Stakeholder In Halstead And Brown Harris Busted For Coke, Pills (NYDN)
America's 10 Fastest Selling Zip Codes Includes A Couple From NY (Forbes)
Coldwell Banker To Hold 10 Day Sale (Brandweek)
Los Angeles Foreclosures Triple, NYC At 2 Year High, Miami Foreclosures Drop (Propertyshark via PR.com)Share B

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fashion!



In case you missed it, perhaps Pierre Cardin is fully exploring the depths of his creativity. Um, pun maybe? Here is a link to many, many more. Special credit and acknowledgement to Yahoo, for this fine collection:
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The 4% Solution, A Fine Plan

$700 Billion later, there is no clear way out of our current economic crisis. $700 Billion is but a band-aid. The root of our current crisis revolves around falling housing prices. Normally I would never advocate that the government act to prop up house prices, but these are far from normal times. If nothing is done on this front, $700 Billion will be but a spit in the bucket. So, since nobody seems to be offering a solution, I'll give it a shot.
The single fastest way to firm up housing is to make it more affordable on a monthly basis. The fastest way to do that is to influence or subsidize low interest rates.
The current rate on a 30 year fixed rate mortgage is 6.375%. This number is far too high to encourage anyone to take a risk. The spread between the 30 year mortgage and the 10 year Treasury is extraordinarily high. Good thing that the taxpayers own Fannie and Freddie now. The first phase of my solution is simple. Fannie and Freddie should be ordered to reduce the spread and offer mortgages at 5.25%. Fannie and Freddie conventional limits should be expanded to 800k for the foreseeable future. All loans should require 20% down to qualify.
Further, the Federal government should further subsidize the purchase of homes by offering a 4% cash credit towards buying down rates for new homeowners willing to put the 20% down. On average, this buy down would lower the effective interest rate to 4% for new buyers. The 4% cash credit can be phased out over time as the housing market stabilizes and improves. Fannie and Freddie would fare very well under the plan as 20% down would provide a strong cushion and the low monthly payments would greatly reduce the risk of default.
Such a program would have nearly instantaneous benefit to housing demand and prices and as importantly, stop the massive hemorrhaging from highly leveraged securities which are causing the international credit and financial crisis. Such a plan would be costly, but it would be much less costly than a recession that compounds the current issues and quickly devolves into a death spiral.
This is an idea in progress and it is certain to be amended. The markets need to be reformed and actions must be undertaken to make sure that large banks and brokers are never, ever, given the chance to run up 40-1 leverage ratios again. Reviewing and regulating these markets will be a massive time consuming task. We need action now.
Feel free to sound off and throw in your two cents.Share B

Monday Morning Links

Europe Races To Shore Up Banks As Crisis Spreads (WSJ)
....Euro And Asian Stocks Get Crushed (NY Times)

Family Friendly Housing In Strong Demand (NY Times)
Ron Lauder Reverses Himself On Term Limits, Again (Queens Crap)
Crisis Hasn't Hit Manhattan Real Estate Prices, Yet (CNN Money)
....Inventory Sitting On Market 79% Longer (Forbes)
With NY Slowdown, Shvo Eyes Persian Gulf (Arabian News)
Dubai Plans Even Taller Tower, $95 Bil. City Within City (Sun/U.K.)Share B

Friday, October 3, 2008

Limestone Softens Lucida


"Rusticated Limestone" is now being applied to the lower two floors of the Lucida up on Lex between 85th and 86th Streets. While I am a bigger fan of The Brompton, Robert A.M. Stern's modern classic a block away, I find this limestone base to be quite pleasing to the eye. It acts to break up the continuous sheet of glass that is The Lucida and works as an effective transition between street and ultra-lux condo.

I am somewhat disappointed that the completion of the retail space seems to be behind schedule. The original plan had retail opening in 2008, but it would seem that a miracle would be needed to get them finished and approved by Christmas. Although Extell and their PR seem reluctant to reveal the names of the tenants in the 100,000 sq ft of retail in The Lucida, it has been widely reported that H&M, Sephora, and Barnes and Noble are to fill the space (Barnes and Noble would consolidate their 2 other stores in the area to open a mega store at Lucida).

As a neighborhood resident, I can't wait! Not that I ever shop, but I am anxious to see the transformation of 86th Street move on to the next step.
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Change In Suitor For Wachovia Could Benefit City

Perhaps, just perhaps, the BBB (Bank Branch Blight) won't be quite as bad as expected. Everyone knows that banks have expanded their retail presences in a big way over the past several years (by more than 40% in the past decade), and everyone probably assumed that it wouldn't last.
This may be true. However, if Wachovia is taken over by Wells Fargo rather than Citigroup, it may not be as bad as expected. With a Citigroup takeover, there is little doubt that Wachovia's 22 branches south of 125th Street in Manhattan would be mostly if not all goners. On the other hand, Wells Fargo needs a retail presence, and Wachovia's branches would be far more likely to stay.
All is not peaches and cream here. With Chase taking over Wamu (Wamu has 46 branches in Manhattan), 40 bank branches are expected to close.
The wild card, of course, is the conversion of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley from investment banks to commercial banks. So, if you are suddenly a commercial bank taking regular deposits, you'd figure you would needs branches. The question is how many? Chances are, there should be plenty of locations to chose from.Share B

Friday Morning Links

Sales Down, Inventory Up (The Real Deal)
Average Price In Manhattan Is Up, Doubts For 09 Though (NY Times)
Sutton Place Mansion Sells For $7.5 Mil. Over Asking Price (Observer)
Tishman's Stuy Town Investment Down 10%? (Observer)
West Village: Mystery Lot On Downing (Curbed)
Forget Citi, Wachovia Taken By Wells Fargo (CBSMarketwatch)
Some Investors Abandon Stocks In Favor Of Alpacas And Champagne (WSJ)Share B

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sound Off! What Do You Think Of The Bailout Bill?


What do you think of the $700 Bil., no, now $850 Billion bailout bill that is up for a vote today or tomorrow in the House?

A necessary evil? Bank blackmail? The Scam of the century? Or just a great way to get things moving again?

I want to know what you think.
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Union Square Park Update: Trees Will Wait


They have pavers on the north End of Union Square Park, and the first nine tree pits have been filled and readied, but the trees will wait. Given all of the construction activity, it has been decided that it would be better to wait until spring to plant. I guess that makes sense. The incessant drilling of bedroom has subsided on the East Side of the Pavilion, thank goodness. Now it looks like they are working on drainage systems, and if I had to take a wild guess, the entire north portion will likely be paved by the first snow.

Here is the full update from Union Square Partnership:

Recent construction updates have detailed the rapid development of the plaza and playground areas, but work has also been progressing on pace for the Pavilion's interior renovation as well. After demolition of the Pavilion floor slab last month, crews have been hard at work shoring up the exterior walls and creating the underslab column support necessary to rebuild the building's floor.
The basement has now been stripped of all previously existing walls and utility systems in preparation for reuse as Parks Department maintenance offices. Next week, the concrete floor slab will be poured over plywood and rebar forms inside the Pavilion, clearing the way to begin surface renovation of the building's interior.
Over the next two weeks, work will continue on the main sewer connection beneath 17th Street, and traffic will be shifted within the streetbed accordingly until the connection is complete. Now that rock anchors have been installed in the bedrock to the east of the Pavilion beneath the future restroom facility, installation of the underslab drainage system will begin. Work will also progress at the site's northwest corner, where new granite curb and pavers will be installed on the plaza.
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Thursday Morning Links

Queens Foreclosures Soar, Manhattan Nearly Nonexistent (The Real Deal)
LIC: 12 Story CUNY Dorms On Fifth St. Get Green Light (NYDN)
Curbed Calling Oct 1st Day Of The Dead For Real Estate (Curbed)
Big Real Estate Roots For Bloomberg's Third Term (Observer)
Priciest Manhattan Apartments Start To Linger (Forbes)
Intrepid Returns Today (AP)
Renovation Deal For GWB Bus Station (NY Times)Share B

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Bloomberg To Seek 3rd Term


It is being widely reported that Mayor Bloomberg plans to announce today his intention to overturn 15 year old term limits in order to make a run at a third term as Mayor of New York. While this move has been widely expected, under the cover of the financial crisis, the Mayor is finally expected to make it official.

All I can say is, god bless him! Although I have personally disagreed with the mayor on several issues ranging from congestion pricing to the Hunters Point South plan, I find it hard to argue with his exceptional stewardship of our city over the past six years. Mayor Bloomberg is volunteering for what could very well be a thankless job. Tough times lie ahead, and the thought of a Mark Green or another political hack trying to run the city in such a time is unthinkable. Term limits are important, but the intention was never to punish ourselves. In this time, with an exceptional leader, we have someone worthy of an exception to the rule.
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A. Fine Blog Sees 30% Increase In Viewership In 3rd Quarter

It was another great quarter with an over 30% increase in unique users! I want to thank everyone. I will be working diligently over the coming months to increase daily content and interaction with readers. I look forward to another record breaking quarter. If you haven't subscribed to the rss feed or daily email, feel free, the links are at the bottom of the page.
Thanks Again!
AndrewShare B

Wednesday Morning Links

Bloomberg Said To Seek Third Term (NY Times)
In Good Sign, Chase Lends $20 Mil. Against Plaza Apartment (The Real Deal)
NY's Healthy Retailers Fear Cutoff Of Credit (NY Times)
$43 Million Redo Starts For Queens Plaza (Curbed)
10 Finalists Picked In Bike Rack Competition (CityRoom)
NYC Development Loan Provider, Ciena, Goes Belly Up (Reuters)
Pier 40's Plan Collapses (Crain's)Share B