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January 28, 2009 
 
       
 
Monday Properties
 

RETAIL!
INVESTING!
EATING!


 

New York City retail is cooling as soft holiday sale results sink in; they account for as much as 40% of business. For more on the outlook, we visited CBRE vet Gary Trock in his Met Life office.

 

Now's the time for brokers to get back to basics by repositioning, advising clients, and negotiating with landlords, Gary told us. There are glimmers of hope: New York still attracts international visitors and investors, and projects with shovels in the ground will go forward. Although fringe markets will hurt, prime spots will perform well. And there will be investment opportunities, with so much money on the sidelines not bidding up prices.

 

And then there's the anomaly of the Hamptons, or as some call it, the Sixth Borough. Gary recently arranged a 4,600-SF J. Crew lease on behalf of landlord Roxy Central at 14 Main St. in East Hampton (architectural rendering above)—and the retailer paid close to the $250 SF asking rent. Despite being off-season, Gary tells us that luxury brands still want flagship stores.


DEALS!
 

We bumped into Massey Knakal chairman Bob Knakal (second from left, with Marcus & Pollack's Joel Marcus and Douglaston Development's Ben and Jeff Levine), at the recent REBNY banquet. He gave us his two cents on the investment market: Say goodbye to the to the $50M-plus deals for a while; but despite the sales slowdown, there will still be transactions. The seller-rep firm signed 60 sale contracts in the last two-and-a half-months, including three separate East Village properties for an aggregate $20.8M. Portfolio lenders are now committing up to $30M with 60% LTV for a total of $50M in purchasing power. We'll continue to see upward pressure in retail and office cap rates, and to a lesser degree, multifamily. Bob also has diaper duty to keep him busy, as first-time father to Sophia Rose, born eight weeks ago. Congrats!


HOT DOG!
 

This year will be about quick food, as people search for value in a down economy. So we stopped by one of Manhattan's newest affordable lunch spots, Dogmatic, on E. 17th St. and Union Square West, where we met architect Hayley Eber, principal of EFGH, who showed us its unique butcher design. This is the flagship store for Dogmatic, once a West Village hot dog cart, and the design will be rolled out to other NYC locations and Florida.

 

She and partner Frank Gesualdi turned a butcher's block into a community table, with retractable seating. A mural that describes the animals' journey is baked on the white ceramic tile wall. And the lights are even hanging on meat hooks. They created the kitchen and seating area to be open and transparent, like the organic ingredients, she says. And in the spirit of affordability, the design only cost $220K, which includes the storefront. Hungry? Hayley suggest the lamb dog with mint yogurt sauce, washed down with handmade ginger soda.

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