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December 1, 2008



If there’s a silver lining for anyone in today’s market, it’s for tenants. Declining rents and ample dispositions now offer a flight to quality and opportunities in spaces that may not have been possible before. We found one such deal—140k SF of  contiguous space in the trophy 7 World Trade Center, likely the only Class A+ office sublet of that magnitude available downtown. We dropped in on Grubb & Ellis subleasing agents Barry Lewen and Joe Harkins to find out more.


ABN AMRO inked a deal with Silverstein before RBS acquired the firm. Now the investment banking staff who would have occupied the 30th, 31st and 32nd floors of 7 WTC are moving to new RBS digs in Stamford, Conn—leaving this space open for sublease until 2022. Barry and Joe won’t divulge the asking rent, but say it’s 50% cheaper than comparable trophy space in Midtown.


The LEED Gold property has new safety standards, and features 10-foot finished ceilings, column-free floors, 360-degree views and modern HVAC and electrical systems. It also has dedicated fuel and generator infrastructure in place, extra power, and provisions for a venting system that would allow a full kitchen. It’s also close to15 subway lines, PATH, ferries and 24/7 amenities from TriBeCa to Battery Park City.


Joe has been involved with 7 WTC (second to right) for a long time. After 9/11, he spearheaded the emergency procurement for the SEC to move from the prior 7 WTC to the Woolworth Building (later repping the agency to 3 World Financial Center). The execs tell us they’ll soon be marketing another cache of downtown space, but they’ll only hint it’s another “lucky #7.” (Poke Joe and Barry to see if you can get it out of them.)


The duo has returned from a busy holiday: Joe celebrated Thanksgiving in “Brady Bunch” fashion with his two children, his girlfriend and her three kids, and his family. Barry’s two college-aged kids came home for turkey, with one making the momentous first trip from freshman year.

ULI-NY to Increase People Focus in 2009

The past year has been a busy one for the Urban Land Institute’s New York District Council, from teaching high school students urban planning and capital markets to focusing more on sustainability in light of Mayor Mike’s PlaNYC greening program. At 2,500 members strong, it is one of the largest ULI district councils in the U.S. We sat down with chair Merrie Frankel (also a REIT analyst at Moody’s) and executive director John Parkinson to find out where they see ULI-NY going forward.


Members attend a Young Leaders Group program on the financial benefits of urban parks at Bryant Park in August, one of the many put on by ULI-NY throughout the year. Although the New York council will be focusing on three of ULI’s overall subject areas—infrastructure, housing and sustainability—it hopes to bring in more programs based on the current market, such as a series honing in on careers and recruitment, and become more of a think tank for its members. “Our 2009 goal is providing information to help people in this economy,” Merrie tells us. They are also picking a chair to succeed Merrie next July.


Do expect ULI-NY’s usual stalwart programs: its emerging trends outlook, which was held November 6; its annual economic forecast with Moody’s Economy.com chief economist Mark Zandi on January 15; and a “who’s who in finance” real estate investment strategies session, tentatively scheduled for March. In the meantime, John is gearing up for basketball season with his four sons, putting the mixed Giants/Jets fan household behind him. On top of keeping John’s sports analogies in check, Merrie also teaches a graduate capital markets course at the NYU Real Estate Institute, makes one-off presentations at other schools, and sits on committees of several associations.

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