Category Archives: Manhattan Office Lease Consultants

Are NYC’s office brokers neglecting startups?

zandieh startups

Considering the real estate industry’s current obsession with tech companies, this number is surprising: a third of New York’s tech startups have never been contacted by a leasing agent, according to a new survey by real estate consulting firm RE:Tech.

This may be because many of these startups are simply to small to appear on brokers’ radars, according to RE:Tech founder Ashkan Zandieh.

“If a company doesn’t announce a funding round or is too small in size, many commercial real estate brokers will be uninformed about the startup,” he said, and may also shy away from spending time and resources building relationships with fledgling companies.

Some brokerages have tried to tap into the startup boom. Earlier this month, tech-focused office brokerage TheSquareFoot teamed up with PivotDesk, which allows startups to sublease office space from larger companies. TheSquareFoot will refer startups looking to sublease to the shared-office platform, while PivotDesk can in turn refer firms looking to upgrade to regular leases to TheSquareFoot. Meanwhile, brokerage giant Avison Young invested in LiquidSpace, a listing platform for short-term office space.

Still, the survey, which included responses from 50 New York startups, seems to indicate brokerages have a ways to go in their courtship of these companies. Brokers who forge an early connection with these startups stand to profit handsomely if the firms take off. Several real estate firms are among the fastest-growing tech startups in New York, attracting millions in venture funding.

Less surprisingly, the survey found that the vast majority of tech startups favor flexible, short-term leases. About 80 percent of respondents said they favor a sublease over a lease. About 60 percent said their ideal lease term is between three and five years, while the remaining 40 percent preferred a lease term of between one and two years. None of the respondents were keen on five-year-plus lease.

“We need flexibility,” one of the respondents wrote. “The future is very unclear and can bring tremendous growth, no growth, or going out of business.”

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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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Companies seeking new luxury office space should check out 432 Park Ave.

The developer is asking up to $175 per square foot for space at the new development.

432-Park-Ave-Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article and the headline incorrectly stated that some office tenants will  have access to the high-end amenities that are being constructed for residents at the adjacent condo at 432 Park Ave.

The tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere, 432 Park Ave., has attracted some of the world’s richest condo buyers. Now the project’s developer, Harry Macklowe, is planning to bring deep-pocketed office tenants to the ultraluxury project.

Attached to the 1,400-foot-tall pencil-thin tower will be a six-story, 71,000-square-footoffice building facing East 57th Street. The cube-like structure will go by the same 432 Park Ave. address as the residential tower, which it abuts.

Asking rents at the luxury commercial building will be among the highest in the city—starting at $150 per square foot and running as high as $175 per square foot for its top floor, which will feature a 1,600-square-foot glass penthouse that connects to a 5,000-square-foot outdoor roof deck.

“The object was to bring everything together, to subtly unite all [the building’s] elements,” Mr. Macklowe said. “You feel quality, substance and strength.”

“The tenants who choose to locate their offices at 432 Park will likely be high-end financial companies, well-heeled family offices and luxury brands,” said Paul Amrich, a broker at CBRE Group who was hired by Mr. Macklowe to lease the office space.

Mr. Macklowe developed the residential tower at 432 Park Ave. in partnership with Los Angeles-based real estate investment firm CIM, but he owns the office and retail components of the project alone. In addition to the office space, 432 Park Ave. will have 58,500 square feet of retail. The retail will be located in the 127 feet of ground-floor frontage along East 57th Street, one of the city’s most luxurious shopping corridors. One block away, Mr. Macklowe is also constructing a dedicated glass retail box, with below-grade retail space, on the corner of East 56th Street and Park Avenue.

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