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November 18, 2008



Architects are at the front-end of the building cycle, so we wondered where they’re finding opportunities in this challenging market. We hopped by Gensler’s (quite colorful) Avenue of the Americas office to talk with regional managing principal Joe Brancato.


Joe points out that any change, good or bad, can mean work for architects. Firms looking to cut costs by consolidating space and subleasing need designs; others ask architects to help with merger integrations by developing occupancy strategies. One client took an entire team from a defunct financial firm and asked Gensler to design half a floor for them. Joe also expects design work from new offshoots from old financial firms, and other companies looking to refresh their images.


More clients are also seeking smarter space to deal with future market changes, Joe says. Take two of Gensler’s largest projects right now—One and Two Bryant Park. At The Bank of America Tower at the former, Gensler created flexible infrastructure (pictured) that can be reconfigured to meet the bank’s changing needs. And at Two Bryant Park, MetLife requested that Gensler create a more collaborative workplace and areas for mobile employees. (photo credit: Paul Rivera)


In the meantime, Gensler’s also taking advantage of the downturn to step up in-house training, work on enhancing long-term business, and spend more time with clients. Joe says it’s important to let these clients know that you’re there to help them in market blips—they’ll remember when times turn around. Finally, the doting dad of five has also been coaching his 10-year-old son’s football team, gardening, and making wine—he’s practically self-sustainable if the economy drops further.


Exec Moves:

Gramercy Capital Corp. appointed Timothy O’Connor as president of the company. His particular focus will be completing the integration of its Gramercy Realty unit into the company and producing greater operational efficiencies, among other responsibilities. Most recently, he was COO of iStar Financial, and has held positions at Morgan Stanley, Greystone Realty Corp. and Exxon.


Kimco Realty Corp. announced a slew of new appointments: David Henry was promoted to president and David Lukes to COO, succeeding current president & COO Michael Flynn, who is retiring effective December 31. David Henry will continue to act as vice chairman and chief investment officer, while Milton Cooper will continue to serve as chair & CEO. Michael Pappagallo, the firm’s CFO, has also been appointed chief administrative officer in addition to his current role.


Strook & Strook & Lavan partner Robert Abrams was appointed to the United Nations Development Corp., which develops office and residential facilities for UN personnel and related organizations, by Governor David Paterson. Robert served as NY Attorney General from 1979-1993 and Bronx Borough President from 1970-1979, among other positions.

Lease Transactions:

Nature Publishing Group signed an eight-year lease renewal and expansion for 16.5k SF at One Hudson Square, bringing its total occupancy to 69.6k SF. Williams Real Estate’s Leon Manoff represented the tenant, while Cushman & Wakefield’s Robert Constable represented landlord Trinity Church. Asking rents in the building are in the low $50 PSF range.


H&M inked a 15-year, 29.6k-SF retail lease at 497 Fulton St. in Brooklyn. The lease is for ground-floor and lower-level space, located on the Fulton Street Mall between Hoyt and Bridge Streets. Cushman & Wakefield Retail Services’ Robert Gibson, Thomas Citron and Molly Beal represented the tenant in site search and lease negotiations with the owner, the Laboz Family.


Online advertising and lead generation firm Yodel signed a 23k-SF lease at 50 West 23rd St. CB Richard Ellis’ Sloane Rhulen represented the tenant, while Newmark Knight Frank’s Michael Dreizen and Andrew Udis repped owner Moinian Group


Recruitment consultancy firm Huxley Associates amended its lease to double its space at 1270 Avenue of the Americas for a total of 8,400 SF. CresaPartners’ Scott Savin and Ed Wartels represented the tenant, while Todd Silverman represented owner Tishman-Speyer in-house.


Bollman Hat Company brand Helen Kaminski inked a six-year, 2,565-SF expansion at 411 Fifth Ave., bringing its total lease to 19.4k SF. Adams & Co.’s David Levy represented the tenant and undisclosed landlord. Although lease terms were not released, the asking rent was $42 PSF.

Deal or no deal, Bisnow wants to hear what you’re up to. Send story suggestions to amanda@bisnow.com

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