Monthly Archives: July 2015

Ruth Colp-Haber makes The Commercial Observer’s exclusive list.

Commercial Observer’s Exclusive Guide to NYC’s Boutique Brokerages

Ruth Colp-Haber

Wharton Property Advisors

Founder: Ruth Colp-Haber

Date established: 1992

Number of employees then: 1

Number of employees now: 6

When Ruth Colp-Haber established Wharton Property Advisors in 1992, she was a company of one. Now, 23 years later, the team has grown to six, yet Ms. Colp-Haber continues to oversee every transaction, something presidents of larger firms are generally unable to do.

Wharton specializes in high-end, pre-built spaces, mostly in Manhattan. Ms. Colp-Haber has always believed that pre-built, turnkey spaces provide the best value in the market: All of the work has already been done. “The money that would go into construction on the space can instead be given to the tenant in rent concessions,” she said.

Creativity, she said, is an element in her firm’s success. It’s a skill necessary for, say, marketing so-called difficult spaces: unusual layouts; short remaining leases. For example, she said, “I often take big spaces and set up incubators with several small tenants. The goal is to bring in subtenant revenue by hook or by crook.”

Recently Wharton represented The Argentum Group, a private equity firm, in renegotiating their lease for 6,000 square feet at 60 Madison Avenue. The asking rent was $78 per square foot. Last month Wharton closed a deal for a 3,000-square-foot turnkey space in The Empire State Building (350 Fifth Avenue) for Coalition, a financial firm based in the U.K. Asking rent was $62 per square foot. “Small becomes big. You do a good job and you get more work,” she said.

That said, small does not have to become too big to succeed.—S.P.

Inside the Ark, a posh JFK ‘terminal’ for animals that could make serious hay for its investors


Cliff Bollmann is one of the world’s leading airport architects. He designed the spiffy JetBlue terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport and worked on others in San Francisco, Boston and Chennai, India. He knows exactly how far bathrooms can be situated from gates so passengers don’t miss the last call for their flight.

But this international-airport expert is bit befuddled by the plumbing involved in his current assignment: designing a terminal at JFK called the Ark, dedicated to serving pets, livestock and zoo animals. For Mr. Bollmann, the question is: How to handle all the bull poop?

In addition to giving temporary shelter to furry and feathered friends in transit, the Ark is designed to house dozens of horses, as well as up to 180 head of cattle that are capable of producing 5,000 pounds of poop every day.

Failure to efficiently dispose of this formidable load could lend an unacceptable stink to a project ­designed to attract the sort of high-end clients who transport their Pomeranian pooch or Persian ­pussycat to far-flung locales. So Mr. Bollmann and his colleagues at architecture firm Gensler have come up with an ingenious plan: Angle the cattle-pen floor just enough so that manure slides away into a receptacle below. They call it the “poo chute.”

“Way too much thought has gone into this,” said Mr. Bollmann with a sigh. “There have been a lot of five-hour meetings.”

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