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Real Estate Bisnow
January 17, 2013 
WorkSpaces (Left1) NYRE

Lower Manhattan might've taken a lashing from Hurricane Sandy, but it’s by no means a nail in the market’s coffin. “It’s an absurd concept,” an optimistic REBNY prez Steve Spinola told a crowd of 350 during his opening keynote at yesterday’s Bisnow Future of Downtown event in One World Financial Center.
REBNY prez Steve Spinola
In fact, Lower Manhattan is in better shape than it’s ever been, Steve says. (Its secret: plenty of sleep, green veggies, and CrossFit.) Newer buildings did extremely well in the storm, and REBNY is forming guidelines on what needs to be done for the future. The 95M SF market—soon to be 100M SF—is larger than every city in the US besides Chicago, he says. If anything, it’s resilient, having been through 9/11 and 25% vacancy in the ‘90s.
Herrick Feinstein's Mitch Korbey and Swig Equities' Kent Swig
Sandy won’t be a stigma for long. “This wasn’t just a Lower Manhattan problem... it’s far more a Tri-State issue,” says Swig Equities prez Kent Swig (right, with moderator Mitch Korbey, a partner at Herrick Feinstein). “We’re probably more prepared than other areas.”
JLL's John Wheeler and Brookfield Office Properties' David Cheikin
What will happen when the next 500-year storm hits? It’s a continuing conversation with landlords and tenants, says JLL Downtown head John Wheeler (left, with Brookfield Office Properties VP of leasing David Cheikin). Some will choose to weigh their decisions more heavily on such a scenario, he points out, but a vast number of owners now have an answer to that question. Overall, employers get Lower Manhattan, he says: 20% of leases inked in recent years have been tenants migrating there. (Florida is so passé among snowbirds.)
Cushman & Wakefield’s Tara Stacom
Transportation, access to labor, and infrastructure are three compelling reasons for that move. Cushman & Wakefield’s Tara Stacom (who was promoted to executive vice chairman Tuesday— congrats!) points to Verizon’s investment into replacing copper wiring with fiber optics after Sandy damage, making Downtown the most technologically updated area of Manhattan. A positive, because tech tenants are being priced out of Midtown South; the City continues to attract top tech; and Downtown has the labor and talent the sector needs to grow.
Avison Young principal Greg Kraut
Don't want to wait for Hudson Yards or Midtown East Rezoning? Downtown’s where the majority of new product will be delivered over the next few years, and overall, space is at a lower price point than Midtown or Midtown South, points out Avison Young principal Greg Kraut. And it’s becoming more amicable for workers, residents, and visitors alike. “It’s feeding off the vibe of TriBeCa,” says David, who gave kudos to “great urban planning moves” in the World Trade Center redesign, making it more pedestrian friendly and open.
Greg Kraut, Mitch Korbey, Kent Swig, Tara Stacom, John Wheeler, David Cheikin
What would the panelists like to see from a new mayor (besides the freedom of 32 oz soda cups)? One with a thick skin and who won’t sway under pressure from special interest groups, says Kent, warning that we may go back to an environment that doesn’t have Mayor Mike's financial wherewithal. Greg says in the short-term, he’d like to see proper funds funneled in response to Sandy; in the mid-term, that all transit hubs are completed on time; and over the long-term, that Downtown gets more direct transit connections.
Bisnow Future of Downtown
You know Downtown's a hot topic when not one attendee was snapped playing Angry Birds: Star Wars. The fantastic space they’re sitting in is the fifth floor of One World Financial Center (part of the newly renamed Brookfield Place), which David tells us is available for lease. The floor is 75k SF but can be combined with ground and third-floor space for a unique 105k SF “building-within-a-building” opportunity with a private street-level entrance. What’s more, Brookfield recently received City approval to convert all setbacks into private terraces, which overlook the waterfront. Check back Wednesday for more from the event.

When financier Simon Ziff holds a party—as his firm does almost every week, like here at Lavo this week—guests know it will be a good time; they'll not only get great food but very likely new business. We snapped him (the young Billy Crystal-looking city slicker at the head of the table) in a rare moment when folks looked up from frenzied conversation.

Upcoming Bisnow Events!

Tuesday, Jan. 29, 7am-10am. Bisnow's NY Healthcare Real Estate Summit. Hear the experts discuss the future of hospitals, the impact Hurricane Sandy had on facilities, the rise of third party med facilities, and the future impact of Obamacare. Register here.

Wednesday, Feb. 13, 7am-10am. Bisnow's NY Hotel Investment Summit. Join us for a great morning of top speakers and networking with members of the NYC hotel community. Register here.

Team Mariah, Team Nicki, or Team I-Don’t-Give-A-Hoot? Tell amanda@bisnow.com and amanda.metcalf@bisnow.com.

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