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March 9, 2009 
Monday Properties



Maybe no one wears mink anymore, but the Janus Property Company could make it fashionable again. Not wearing fur, but something called the Mink Building. Read on!


We recently dropped by Harlem Green, the three-acre, nine-building mixed-use development in West Harlem, to meet with developer Scott Metzner of Janus and broker Arthur Draznin of Newmark Knight to get the grand tour of the progressing project. Our first stop was the 135k SF fur storage-turned-office Mink Building, which also includes ground-floor retail. It's 80% leased to tenants such as the New York State Dormitory Authority and some high tech companies, but there are also industrial tenants. As leases turn over, they'll be marketing the space as office; they're already talking to creative, entertainment, media, non-profit, architectural and many other firms. If tenants qualify for all incentives, including REAP, effective rent can be as low as the single digits, Arthur says.

Janus is looking to join all of the buildings with a common courtyard master plan; there will be several openings through the street wall (partly pictured) and buildings accessing the courtyard. It's working on three consecutive phases of the project, including: the continued renovation of the Mink Building; upgrading the 40k-SF 423-9 W.127th with a new lobby, elevators, windows, and systems; and the beginning stages of repositioning 75k-SF 461 W. 126th. Janus and Community Board 9 are also working with City Planning on rezoning that would add 200k SF.

The scope of the project will make it a driving force in the economic redevelopment of the area, along with Columbia University's and City College's new campus expansions and W. 125th's recent rezoning. Unlike some developments in highly-populated areas, the developer is working in conjunction with the community's 197a Plan that was recently certified by City Planning and has the support of the community, city, and elected officials. (A local actually drove by, beeped, and waved at Scott when we were with him. Not a NIMBY in sight!)


Why Harlem? We know it's not the usual office mecca, but Scott and Arthur note the changing neighborhood is attracting amenities needed for a building like the Mink (pictured). There's the new Harlem Piers park nearby; a new "restaurant row" on 12th that mixes local flavors and upscale eats; and 125th and Amsterdam, two of the busiest retail corridors in Manhattan. It's also one of best-served transit hubs in NYC, with numerous subway and bus lines. The result? Deals pending, even in this market, but they couldn't divulge the goods. We'll keep our ears open.


We bumped into Meridian Development Group's Howard Schlesinger, Howard Weitzman, and Michael Clark, who were all smiles at ULI New York's recent panel discussion. Why? Their 14-acre development site in Southington, CT is moving along, despite a slowdown in the development sector. Although it's in repositioning mode right now (Howard S. says they want to make sure the project has the components Southingtonians want), it's shovel-ready and out to bid. Expect some dirt to move in 90 days.

What's in your pipeline? E-mail projects and story ideas to Amanda@bisnow.com

Arent Fox
Monday Properties
Leo A Daly
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