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November 26, 2008
 
       
 

NAVIGATING
THE WATERS


 

When T. Weiss Realty CEO Ted Weiss is not working, you can find the avid boater on his appropriately named vessel, Risk and Reward, which he navigates between Maine and the Bahamas. “Being a developer is like boating,” he told us Monday during a visit in his Melville, Long Island office. “You have to chart your course and prepare correctly for a smooth trip… otherwise, you can get smashed up.”

 

And a planner he is. Ted’s been through this real estate market before—twice, to be exact—and knows how to navigate the rough waters. He was one of the smarter investors and shelved a Melville corporate office development that was supposed to come online this year; the lofty price of dirt and the multiple re-trading of the property made him rethink the deal, and now the economy is in a hiccup. “It’s one of the best things I’ve done,” he says. 

 

Shelving the project meant freeing up capital for investment opportunities he expects to come out of this market, like after the savings and loan crisis of the ‘90s, he says. There will be many distressed assets, and not only on Long Island. He’s also looking for opportunities in the coastal areas from Virginia to Florida. Now he’s focused on his 600k portfolio’s crown jewel, Melville Corporate Center III at 324 South Service Rd.

 

The unique office building is designed like a resort, including palm trees, artwork and a fountain in the lobby, free wi-fi and an overall relaxing atmosphere (we felt like we walked into a hotel at first). The building’s newest tenant, Ameriprise Financial, is moving into its 3,000-SF space next week; expect another 4,800-SF financial firm to move in by April. Ted’s also in negotiations for two public companies to take full-floor leases by mid-’09. Tenant response to the building has been strong, so when the other project comes off the shelf, expect a similar concept, he says.


W&H’s Renovation Spree
 

Last week we reported on W&H Properties’ Empire State Building rehab, but it has other renovations going on as well: namely 112 West 34th Street and 250 West 57th Street, which have been undergoing respective $80M and $82M upgrades. You've probably seen Cushman & Wakefield EVP Barry Zeller's name splashed across the owner's prominent yellow scaffolding in front of these buildings, so we hopped by his 52nd Street office to find out what’s new.

 

112 West 34th Street's (pictured) renovations include a sleek new curtain wall, elevator, bathroom and HVAC upgrades. The lobby was recently finished, and the overall building completion is expected in the second quarter of '09. And 250 West 57th Street's extensive upgrades to the lobby, corridors, bathrooms, HVAC system and more are now complete. Right now, the 95%-occupied building has the entire 11,400-SF 25th floor available, which may be pre-built into two units.

 

If you like to star gaze, stand in front of 250 West 57th.  Entertainment biz management firm ML Management Associates, which represents high-profile film and TV personalities, recently leased the entire 9,200-SF penthouse of the building. Other tenants include: RZO, which reps U2 and David Bowie; and The Nordlinger Group, which reps the Jonas Brothers (don't tell Barry's daughter). When Barry's not busy with the buildings, he's been active in the National Kidney Foundation's Greater New York chapter, (he’s a founding board member) and recently raised $12k for its annual walk.

 
 
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