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January 15, 2014
Breaking News: Jon Kushner Planning NYC Condos
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The king of the Gold Coast, Kushner Real Estate Group, has purchased three adjacent buildings at Fifth Avenue and 30th Street and is designing a high-end condo building with HWKN Architects.
Yesterday, we snapped KRE president Jon Kushner at a YM/WREA lunch at the University Club, where he gave the status update on his company's project roster, otherwise made up of rentals in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Jonathan says the design is 40 stories and 135k SF. His family started in NYC real estate, too. His paternal grandparents crossed the Atlantic in 1949 and arrived with just $50. His grandfather worked for four years building apartments in Brooklyn for the Muss family, and they saved half of every paycheck. Then, in 1954, he started building houses in Rahway, NJ, with the Wilf family. Jonathan came on board for KRE full time in '99 (after four years as a frat brother of C&W's Ron Lo Russo at NYU) and has been swinging the firm's pendulum to high-rise, urban rentals.
KRE owns over 6M SF of commercial and more than 9,000 apartments and has more than 6,000 more in the pipeline. Among the projects under construction are the 1.1M SF Hudson Lights in Fort Lee; the 1.6M 18 Park (rendered above) and the 640k SF tower that's Phase 1 of Journal Squared, both in Jersey City; and the 837-unit Madison Farms with 140k SF of retail in Bethlehem, Pa.
Savanna's Fastest Success Story Yet
Turnaround artist Savanna buys low, reinvents the property, leases up, and sells high. Here's a look at the fund manager's latest masterpiece in Chelsea. We snapped the company's Kevin Hoo in the lobby of 249 W 17th St between Seventh and Eighth. Savanna purchased it and 245 W 17th in November 2012 and completed $21M of heavy construction a year later, its fastest turnaround yet. It helped that the building was delivered vacant. (Behind Kevin is a work of art—or the world's most unpleasant game of Pac-Man.)
The 145k SF, six-story 249 went up in 1902 and the 145k SF, 12-story 245 in 1909. It was originally the wagon house and warehouse for the Siegel-Cooper dry goods store, and so, once upon a time, merchants would have steered their horses into this arch. Savanna gut-renovated the buildings and overhauled their systems, better to lure tech and digital media companies. (Instead of horses, it wants hipsters—though both are hairy.) Barneys, which also vacated as part of the deal, recently returned to the area with a 57k SF store at 101 Seventh Ave between 16th and 17th.
Kevin says his company's track record both assures off-market sellers that it can do deals quickly and convinces lenders it can lease its properties up. And Savanna has delivered. NGKF's Amy Zhen and Jeffrey Roseman closed a 60k SF, three-story lease at 249 with Room & Board, which will start construction on its space shortly. And Savanna is talking to several tenants now for the top three floors, plus a tenant that may take the buildings' shared basement. The landlord is leaving the stunner of a roof deck that we snapped for the lucky winner to fit out. And with that progress (all since leasing efforts launched in November), NGKF can focus on 245 W 17th.
Oh, pre-pre-war buildings and their columns. The floor plate at 249 is 24k SF, but it's got a full 35 feet between the western and center columns, a benefit Savanna owes to Siegel-Cooper's wagon house.
At 245, where Savanna prebuilt the 11th floor as a model, floor plates are 12k SF. It has one conference room, two offices, collaborative space, and a kitchen/cafe/gathering spot and leaves the rest for open seating. Kevin oversees 1.7M SF over five assets but also works on acquisitions, dispositions, and refis. He says the company will continue seeking solid acquisition opps and is open to all boroughs.
For techies who want to be close to the mothership, a view of Google's office sign isn't a bad perk.
Planning Ahead in LIC
Massey Knakal's James Nelson (right, whom we snapped yesterday at the company's 275 Madison office with colleagues Karl Brumback and Garrett Thelander) says tech startups are calling up Massey Knakal and asking for space in Long Island City. That's thanks to the Cornell Tech campus going up on Roosevelt Island. He also says investors are asking the company to find properties in that area that can rent as is (even if for a 4% or 5% return) but also become development sites later. That tells James that land banking will be the next big thing in LIC.
Adrian Mercado (right, with Mark Holz) says 2013 Queens property sales exceeded 2012's total, even though $1.6B of the $2.3B happened in the second half. Price/SF rose 13%, and the market is especially starved for elevator apartment buildings, which are trading for $235/SF, a 49% increase over 2012's average. (Would the lobbying group in favor of walk-ups be known as Big Foot?) Development sites, meanwhile, rose 35% to $119/buildable SF, driven mostly by LIC, which, incidentally, caused industrial prices to rise a bit, too.
Want to Be a Part of It?
Oh, New York. If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. And we're looking for a sales pro who's made it. Big time. We'll see players with 10 years ofexperience (or equivalent) for a pure sales position (no management). You'll be gunning our sizzling-hot New York market for display ads and events with our awesome New York sales team. Globally, we have half a million subscribers in 22 cities with 1,500 advertisers (and counting). Your aim is to make us lose our little town blues. Compensation includes salary and bennies, plus elbow rubbing with major commercial real estate movers and shakers. We're considering only the king or queen of the hill, top of the list, A No. 1. And if you know of someone just right, start spreading the news. Send resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org.