March 2nd - March 8th, 2013
Lower Manhattan is Back in Business, Industry Data Shows
March 1 - Lower Manhattan is back in business, according to a report from the Downtown Alliance that charts the unprecedented response to the devastation that Hurricane Sandy wreaked just over four months ago. The Commercial Observer reported on data showing that 99 percent of office and residential space, 96 percent of hotel inventory and 90 percent of retail stores are online; while the group said leasing was unfazed. No existing tenants cancelled leases after the storm, and ten tenants based outside of Lower Manhattan moved in. Downtown Alliance data showed 5,950 units (20 percent) of the district's residential inventory was inaccessible following the storm, but by year end, 4,914 of those were back online. One week after the storm, 1,473 hotel rooms (36 percent of Lower Manhattan's inventory), were closed. Today, 96 percent is open. And, 30 percent of the district's 1,082 shops, restaurants and storefront services were closed for more than a week after the storm, with 111 retailers along the Seaport alone closed for a week or more. By the end of December, a total 87 percent of retailers were open south of Chambers Street; today the number is 90 percent.
City Announces Deal to Sell Two Downtown Buildings for Nearly $250M
March 5 - The city announced plans Tuesday to sell two of its most prominent landmarked buildings in a deal that will bring in nearly $250 million in cash, reported DNAinfo.com. The former Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank at 49-51 Chambers St. will be sold to the Chetrit Group for $89 million. The building, where the City Council held its meetings while City Hall was under renovation, will be turned into high-end residential units, with public retail space on the ground floor. Nearby, the 120-year-old white marble 346 Broadway, which is now used by the New York City Criminal Court, will be converted to condos and a boutique hotel by The Peebles Corporation. As part of the $160 million deal, the developer has agreed to build a 16,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art media center that will be open to the community seven days a week, where kids can go for digital arts classes and after-school programs and local artists can display their work. The sales are part of an effort by the city to consolidate its unused office space to save money. About 30 percent of 49-51 Chambers St., for instance, is currently sitting empty or being used as storage -- a major waste, said Mayor Bloomberg. The plan to sell the buildings had originally been criticized by many Lower Manhattan residents. After the proposal was announced, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer vowed to halt the sales, arguing the city could use the space for new public schools, affordable housing or community facilities instead of selling it off to the highest bidder. But Stringer, who is now running for comptroller, said that, in the end, he was pleased with the deal that was reached by the city, which includes some community use for the space.
Conde Nast Looking to Add Real Estate in Lower Manhattan
March 6 - Conde Nast signed an 80,000-square-foot lease at 222 Broadway, building on the publishing giant's footprint in Lower Manhattan as it prepares to move to 1 World Trade Center, reported the Commercial Observer. The 10-year deal at the 32-story, 750,000-square-foot building on Broadway between Fulton and Ann Streets had asking rents in the high $40 per square foot range. That is substantially lower than the $60 per square foot figure at the WTC site. The area won another publishing tenant in January when HarperCollins inked a deal for 200,000 square feet at 195 Broadway. Also in January, the media company Rock Shrimp Productions leased 10,000 square feet at 115 Broadway, joining a cluster of media firms migrating to Lower Manhattan in part to avoid higher rents in Midtown and Midtown South.
Downtown Businesses Win Storm Recovery Grants
March 6 - Asian Americans for Equality and the Partnership Fund for New York City on Tuesday distributed $200,000 in grants to small businesses south of Canal Street that were affected by Superstorm Sandy, according to Crains New York. The grants went to 27 businesses that had already taken out low-interest loans from Renaissance Economic Development Corporation's emergency program in the days immediately following the storm. The distributions made on Tuesday ranged from $3,000 to $10,000. Many of the businesses that got the grants were restaurants. Also included were some nail salons and art galleries. The Partnership Fund, which focuses on building a stronger local economy, also announced on Tuesday that it will make available another $100,000 in grants.