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August 20, 2008

Our Fall Real Estate Conference with ten of the region's legends: Bozzuto's Tom Bozzuto, Boston Properties' Peter Johnston, Opus East's Jim Lee, LCOR's Bill Hard, Monday Properties' Tim Helmig, CBRE's John Germano, Cushman's Audrey Cramer, Cassidy's Spencer Stouffer, Jones Lang's Dave Bevirt, and Studley's Tom Fulcher. Moderator Mitchell Schear. Sept 18, 7-10am, Nat'l Press Club. Thanks to great sponsors RBS Citizens Bank, Group Goetz Architects, Holland & Knight, and Reznick Group. Sign up!


Yesterday we were in the Apple (when you're on close terms, we think you can drop the "Big") making rounds as we expand our newsletters, and thought you might forgive a detour today about buildings and real estate life up there. Walking streets full of shoppers, you wouldn't think there's economic nervousness, although after a while it does strike you a lot of people doing the buying are speaking foreign languages.


We had a 7:30 AM breakfast at popular Brasserie on 53d between Park and Lex with Peter Riguardi, NY president of Jones Lang. That was late for him. He gets into his office at 6:45 AM each morning, coming by high-speed ferry from Rumson, NJ., also known as home to Bruce Springsteen. (Does he see him? Just occasionally at the Chapel Beach Club.) Peter predicts a 10 to 15 point economic correction in the NY market with a comeback in the fall of '09: "I'm not in the camp that everything's going to fall off the edge." He personally saw an hour-long line of happy consumers Monday when he went to the nearby Apple store to get a new iPhone for his 19 year-old son (he decided to go another time—it's open 24/7). And it's been a busy year on the leasing front with clients like Merrill, Deutsche Bank, and HSBC (even if some of the work was finding subleases for downsizing), and he just put Legg Mason's Royce Funds in 44k SF at 745 Fifth.


Of course Peter's also busy integrating 50 professionals from Staubach, and plans to start the process in the fall of looking for 100k SF for JLL's own office, up from its current 70k—unless landlord Boston Properties can find expansion space in their current building down the block in the picture above. (Note to Ray Ritchey: c'mon, you can make a phone call.) Peter's multiplied office earnings six times to around $100M/yr. since being recruited in 2002 from Colliers ABR, in part by bringing in high profile local clients the Port Authority and World Trade Center owner Larry Silverstein. Why's the city hopping? Not just euro-spenders and urban fashion, but the great clean-up done by Rudy Giuliani which Mike Bloomberg has "polished," Peter says. "In our day after college if you said you were moving to New York, your parents told you to be careful and lock your doors. Now they ask if you can get an extra room so they can come visit."



Yesterday we also stopped by CBRE's headquarters at 200 Park to see EVP Paul Amrich, who's busy finding tenants for 510 Madison Avenue that's the single current ground-up development of the storied Macklowe family. (Storied lately because they had to sell a bunch of holdings, like the GM Building, when the credit crunch made it impossible to refinance a $5.8 billion bank loan.) Of course it will be LEED Gold with column-free windows and 13.5 feet slab-to-slab, but how's this for a trophy amenity: a 50 foot lap pool. (Note to Trip Howell: All your trophies have 50 foot lap pools, right?) Paul says Harry and Billy Macklowe (the father and son) were extremely hands-on in the design, arraying blueprints around their conference table and insisting on only the classiest features.


We snapped this yesterday of progress on the 30-story, 350k SF buidling. The Macklowes assembled half a dozen small buildings over the last decade to create the site for it. The sixth floor is set back as a furnished and planted terrace for all tenants. Why is Paul working so hard in August?  Because he and his wife were smart enough to visit China last month, as well as Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Maldives. Paul even has a Washington connection: He played golf Monday at Friar's Head on Long Island (Exit 71 for you natives) with our friend Anthony Westreich, whose Monday Properties not only owns much of Rosslyn but some major jewels in the Apple. Paul was a competitive golfer in college and shot a 78 "from the tips" (we think that means the professional tees).


Wanting more of an excuse to walk around the city on a sunny day, we took these pictures yesterday of the three buildings in NYC that sold for more than $1000 a foot in the first half of this year. This is the GM Building, of course. CB helped the Macklowes sell it to Boston Properties and Goldman for $2.8 billion ($1,433/foot).


This came in at number two—650 Madison Avenue that Carlyle bought for $680M with 36-year old entrepreneur Ben Ashkenazy from the Hiro brothers (who had purchased it in the Japanese buying boom of the 80s but then cross-collateralized so they had to sell a building to pay debt). Several floors are the super-luxurious worldwide headquarters of Ralph Lauren, who supposedly has two saunas in his penthouse office at the top (although some say after 9/11 he moved to a lower floor and that mothballed mannequins now have the best views in the building). Ralph Lauren loves NY: after all, he was born Ralph Lifshitz in the Bronx. (Did you know that?) As for Ashkenazy, the story is that he lives in the Sherry Netherland hotel on Fifth and looked out the window one day and decided he wanted to find the owner and buy it. And we understand he even has DC property: the Hechinger Center site in NE.


Cushman represented Macklowe in selling Park Avenue Tower (technically 65 E 55th) for $665M ($1,080/ft.) to Shorenstein at the end of June. Sorry, our camera couldn't get the whole thing.

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