From the monthly archives: "November 2008"

PROFILE OF THE WEEK:

Diana Boutross, senior managing director, Winick Realty Group

It’s the ‘tangibles’ that drive Boutross’s career

The apple usually doesn’t fall far from the tree and, growing up surrounded by some of the city’s most historic and charming properties in Park Slope, Diana Boutross knew her passion for architecture would inspire a career in real estate. She now serves as senior managing director at Winick Realty Group.

After earning a degree in finance from Pace University, Boutross began dabbling in the real estate business. “I owned some real estate, bought, sold and invested,” she said, before taking a position at Aegis Properties, where she initially worked the office market.

But before tackling the retail sector, Boutross still needed to satisfy a desire to test the water on Wall Street. During a brief stint in the financial world, while working on an advanced degree at Pace, she realized a strong preference for the “tangible” over the “intangible” and opted to forgo her Master’s program and a Wall Street career.

But before landing in real estate, Boutross was sidestepped by her friend’s father, then serving as Swiss ambassador to the United Nations, who opened doors for her that lead to an executive assistant position for former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

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Winick Realty Group inks two leases in Brooklyn and Manhattan: 6,415 s/f 

 According to Winick Realty Group, Ricky’s, the beauty shop specializing in fashion accessories, beauty supplies and cosmetics, has signed a lease for a store in the Williamsburg neighborhood. The 2,000 s/f store will be located on Williamsburg’s main shopping corridor at 191-193 Bedford Ave., between North Sixth and North Seventh Sts. 

Ricky’s was represented by Adam Stupak of Winick Realty, who acts as the exclusive leasing agent for the retailer. The property owner, RedSky Capital was represented by Steven Rock of the Carlton Group and David Rosenberg of Robert K. Futterman & Associates (RKF). 

Winick Realty Group has also inked a lease for a new location in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood for American Apparel at 427 Broadway. Located on the southwest corner of Howard St, the store will encompass 4,415 s/f on the ground floor with 50 ft. of frontage on Broadway and 100 ft. on Howard St. 

Lori Shabtai, director of luxury and brand retail; Jeff Winick, CEO, and Monica Kass of Winick Realty represented the property owner in this 10-year lease at an undisclosed rental. The tenant was represented by Devon Binns and John Brod of PBS Realty Advisors. 

Established in 1982, Winick Realty Group is one of New York’s prominent real estate firms specializing in retail leasing and advisory services. Over the years, Winick Realty has served a broad range of domestic and global clients, with a strong emphasis on long-term representation and expansion and growth strategies. With over 55 employees, Winick Realty is highly recognized as a forerunner in the retail real estate market. 

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Yoga school’s SoHo move

Winick Realty Group announced that Yogaworks has signed a lease for its NYC flagship at 459 Broadway in SoHo. 

The state-of-the-art facility will feature 13,000 s/f on two floors. The opening is scheduled for Spring 2009. 

Lori Shabtai, director of luxury and brand retail, Hal Shapiro, director, and Monica Kass of Winick Realty Group represented both the tenant and the property owner, The Devlin Building. 

“We are thrilled that Yogaworks, the premier yoga facility has finally found its ultimate flagship in the heart of SoHo,” said Shabtai. 

“This magnificent turn-of-the-century building with soaring ceiling heights and fantastic light will be home to a much needed component for this ever-growing SoHo neighborhood. From Top Shop to American Apparel and Lululemon Athletica, residents and tourists alike can add Yogaworks to their must-do lists.” 

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Retail rents holding steady, according to REBNY report

Based on Sept. 30 retail availabilities, landlords have come down little on Madison asking rents and, according to REBNY’s fall retail report, some neighborhoods are seeing spikes in asking prices over last year, despite the country’s economic troubles. But with the tumult of Wall Street over the last 45 days, it’s too soon to tell whether these figures will stick or it’s simply pie-in-the-sky pricing.

“Despite the turmoil in the marketplace, asking prices for prime retail space in Manhattan’s most recognizable shopping areas have not been impacted,” said Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY).

For example, Fifth Avenue (from 49-59th streets) experienced a 12% asking rent increase for ground-floor retail, now calling for $1,400 psf. Harlem’s gentrifying 125th Street corridor posted an 11% asking rent increase, to $125 psf, reflecting the increasing demand of retail space there.

But neighborhoods in TriBeCa, Herald Square and the Upper West Side have seen the most dramatic increase in asking rents from 2007: Hudson Street (from Chambers to Canal streets ) saw a 60% jump, reaching $120 psf asking rents; asking rents climbed 38% to $643 psf on West 34th Street (from Fifth to Seventh avenues); and asking rents are up 17% along Broadway (from 72-86th streets), hitting $390 psf.

According to Cushman & Wakefield’s senior director of retail services, Joanne Podell, and Robert K. Futterman’s executive vice president, Karen Bellantoni, this year’s retail activity – in terms of volume and gross revenue – is on par with 2007. Bellantoni said small space remains at a premium, particularly in submarkets like SoHo, Flatiron and the West Village, and national retailers still have growth needs.

But with unrest growing over the last month and a half, it’s unclear whether these asking rents will hold for much longer.

And David Green, executive director at Cushman & Wakefield, noted that any activity going on in the retail market today likely began months ago, before Wall Street’s meltdown. Therefore, it’s difficult to gauge the most recent troubles’ impact on New York’s retail market.

One trend that W&H Properties’ Fred Posniak observed is the rising popularity of concessions. In order to maintain property values, owners are more receptive to tenant perks than in recent years; there’s even evidence of landlords forking over cash contributions to retailers – a practice Posniak said was taboo a couple years ago. While prime retail locations aren’t inherently recession proof, asking rents, Posniak said, don’t drop as swiftly downturns as they climb in strong markets.

And asking rents seldom follow Stock Market fluctuations, though the REBNY report did signal some mixed results, as some retail corridors are seeing modest drops in asking rents. Additionally, the overall average Manhattan asking rent for retail declined by 3%, to $129 psf, from last year.

West Side asking retail rents dropped from $155 psf in 2007 to $147 psf this year; Midtown saw a $10 psf drop to $161 psf; Upper Manhattan suffered a $22 psf drop in asking rents; and downtown remained stagnant.

More specifically, a 7%  decline was reported on Fifth Avenue (from 14-23rd streets), dropping to $276 psf; Third Avenue (from 60-72nd streets) declined 6% to $287 psf; and Times Square, both Broadway and Seventh Avenue (from 42-47th streets), had asking rents drop 3% to $775 psf.

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Winick Realty Group announced that Adam Stupak recently brokered the $7.3 million sale of 32-21 to 32-25 Francis Lewis Blvd. in Bayside, Queens. Stupak represented the buyer, Monroe LLC, and the seller, a venture between two investment firms. The two-story 24,000 s/f building contains nine ground floor retail units as well as 12,000 s/f of retail/office space.

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AT&T takes ground floor space at ESB

AT&T Mobility has leased approximately 3,000 s/f on the ground floor of the Empire State Building for a flagship location that will open in early 2009, announces Eric Gelber, senior vice president of CB Richard Ellis, the leasing agent for the property.

The lease is yet another confirmation of the success of the ReBuilding program at the world’s most famous office building, which encompasses $500 million in upgrades along with a major initiative to enhance retail opportunities at the property. The transaction also closely follows the opening of one of the nation’s largest Starbucks outlet.

“Our objective was to recognize the retail offerings at the building,” notes Mr. Gelber. “Building amenities, including food and business services, are now located on 33rd Street, while we are reserving the 34th Street side of the building for major international retailers. The AT&T and Starbucks deals are fully in line with this objective.”

The AT&T Mobility store will sell a wide range of communications services and products.

Steven Baker of Winick Realty represented AT&T in the lease negotiations. Andrew Goldberg and Matthew Chmielechki of CB Richard Ellis represented the landlord, along with Mr. Gelber.

Soaring 1,454 feet above Midtowm Manhattan, the Empire State Building is the World’s Most Famous Office Building. With new investments in infrastructure, public areas and amenities, the Empire State Building has attracted first-rate tenants in a diverse array of industries from around the world.

Upgrades – planned and completed – including a strategic repurposing of the ground floor retail mix and a comprehensive restoration of the Empire State Building’s art deco lobby and ceiling. A new messenger center, modernization of the building’s systems, new restrooms, air-conditioned public corridors, and new, improved multi-layers security systems comprise some of the building’s contemporary amenities.

All 65 marble elevator cabs have been refurbished and the building’s 6,500 windows have been replaced, increasing the Empire State Building’s energy efficiency and earning it a coveted “Energy Star” designation. The ESB is part of the W&H Properties portfolio. 

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