POLITICO New York Real Estate, presented by Industry City: Water rate freeze? — Loft protections sought — Industrial strength

By Sally Goldenberg and Khorri Atkinson | 05/18/2017 10:00 AM EDT

LOFTY DEBATE — "Loft tenants pushing for changes in Albany, seeking elusive City Hall ally," by POLITICO New York's Sally Goldenberg: Loft apartments have long been a cornerstone of New York City's artistic community. But hundreds of city residents are at risk of losing their apartments and work studios if they don't meet a deadline next month to apply to convert their lofts into legal residences. As tenants, attorneys and advocates rush to spread the word — with many expected to attend a meeting of the city's loft board Thursday afternoon — they are also seeking legislative reforms in Albany and finding no vocal allies in City Hall. Despite prioritizing the expansion of rent-regulated housing citywide, Mayor Bill de Blasio's team has declined to advocate for tenant-friendly changes to the loft law in Albany, including extending the June 15 deadline, they said. "Mayor de Blasio promised affordable housing units for artists, and we need that. But we also need him to protect the existing ones. We don't need only to build new ones, but we need him to protect the live-work spaces that already exist," Williamsburg loft tenant Ximena Garnica said in a recent interview. ...

The loft board, during its monthly meeting in March, described similar disinterest. According to minutes of the meeting, executive director Helaine Balsam said the board had asked about working with the city's Office of Legislative Affairs to push back the June 15 deadline. "Ms. Balsam stated that staff did reach out to the Mayor's Office of Legislative Affairs, but they mentioned that they are not dealing with the loft law at this time," the minutes noted. The administration disputed that anyone told the board it was not willing to engage in the push in Albany. "Legislative Affairs and the city's Department of Buildings, which includes Loft Board staff, are engaged on this issue and working with our elected officials, including Assembly housing chair and staff, to understand what can or should be done this year," mayoral spokeswoman Melissa Grace said. Two city agencies, the buildings and cultural affairs department, issued a press release on April 27 about the deadline and held an information seminar the following day for loft residents. Read the story here.

INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION — "Inside New York and New Jersey's Industrial Boom, Fueled by the Death of Retail," by Commercial Observer's Rebecca Baird-Remba: "Industrial property has never been sexy as a building or an asset class. At most, such properties might be converted into lofts, a modern office or a party venue. ... Until now. All of a sudden, developers are clamoring for warehouse space in the five boroughs and New Jersey. Prices and rents are skyrocketing, and there are not many large sites available anymore, even for buyers with extremely deep pockets. In New York City, industrial real estate is rapidly disappearing as the city rezones large swaths of the outer boroughs to pave the way for new residential buildings. ... Across the East River in New Jersey, the market for industrially zoned land is also heavily constricted and expensive. But unlike in New York City, developers are building millions of square feet of new industrial space along the New Jersey Turnpike." Read the story here.

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MESS TRANSIT — "RPA report: Second Avenue Subway 'most expensive subway extension on the planet'," by POLITICO New York's Dana Rubinstein: New York City is building fewer new subway miles than Singapore, Paris, Denver, London, Hong Kong, Washington, D.C., Santiago, Toronto, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Madrid and Barcelona, according to a new report released by the Regional Plan Association on Wednesday. Even worse, its most recent new subway project, the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway, was "the most expensive subway extension on the planet at a cost of $807 million per track mile," according to the report. Read the report here.

— "With repairs looming, officials plan to bring Amtrak back to Grand Central: Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration is talking with Amtrak about re-routing some of its trains to Grand Central Terminal from Penn Station amid major repairs there this summer, officials said. Read the story here.

— "RPA pushes back on ReThink's Penn Station plans," by Crain's Joe Anuta: "The Regional Plan Association is pushing back on a Manhattan think tank's proposal for fixing Penn Station and improving rail transit throughout the region. ReThink Studio presented a vision last week to make Penn Station a through stop by modifying the Gateway tunnel project." Read the story here.

BIG DEAL — "Savanna buying Midtown South office building for $126M," by The Real Deal's Mark Maurer and Rich Bockmann: "Savanna is in contract to pick up a 144,000-square-foot Midtown South office building from Westbrook Partners for $126 million, or $875 per square foot, sources told The Real Deal." Read the story here.

** A message from Industry City: Bus and train or friends and family? Half the people who work at Industry City live nearby, and they're looking for neighbors. Industry City boasts three times more jobs than in 2013. Your prospects for work / life balance just went up. Industry City: Develop your story here. Visit IndustryCity.com **

SHELTER SKELTER — "De Blasio Quietly Seeks Allies in Battle Over Homeless Shelters," by New York Times' Nikita Stewart: "Not long after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his plan to open 90 homeless shelters across New York City, he heard from someone whose support was crucial. But the response from Eric L. Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, was anything but fully supportive." Read the story here.

— "Crown Heights Homeless Shelter Can't Move In Any New Families, Judge Rules," by DNAinfo's Rachel Holliday Smith: "A day after a Crown Heights homeless shelter opened its doors to 10 families, opponents successfully convinced a judge to temporarily block any new residents from entering, according to plaintiffs of a new lawsuit and city officials." Read the story here.

IN THE WORKS — "Maddd Equities planning pair of DoBro apartment buildings," by The Real Deal's Rich Bockmann: "Jorge Madruga's Maddd Equities is in contact to buy a self-storage warehouse at 202 Tillary Street in Downtown Brooklyn, a site the developer wants to rezone to make way for a pair of apartment buildings with 262 units." Read the story here.

— "Related floats 180 condos for High Line project at 515 West 18th Street," by The Real Deal's Will Parker: "After getting the nod from City Planning to expand the scope of development projects near the Chelsea High Line, Related Companies filed a 'test the market' application for 180 condominium units at 515 West 18th Street, New York Attorney General's office records show." Read the story here.

— "Rabsky files plans for 104-room Williamsburg hotel," by The Real Deal's Rich Bockmann: "Rabsky Group filed plans for a 104-room hotel on Bedford Avenue in South Williamsburg — the first hotel project for the prolific Brooklyn developer." Read the story here.

IN THE ZONE — "De Blasio open to rezoning Flatbush area," by POLITICO New York's Conor Skelding: Mayor Bill de Blasio is "very open" to rezoning the Flatbush area, he said at a town hall meeting on Tuesday night. Councilman David Greenfield, of Borough Park, who chairs the land use committee, said at the meeting that he's also "amenable" to the idea." Read the story here.

UP IN THE AIR — "Commission hears proposal seeking air rights transfer from Hudson River Park," by POLITICO New York's Khorri Atkinson: Two development companies presented a plan to purchase more than 150,000 square feet of unused development rights from Hudson River Park during a meeting of the City Planning Commission on Wednesday. Read the story here.

TAKE A LOOK — "Queens's proposed elevated park the QueensWay gets new renderings," by Curbed's Tanay Warerkar: "It's been relatively quiet on the QueensWay front for a few years now, but plans to bring a High Line-style park to the abandoned Rockaway Beach Rail Line, stretching from Rego Park to Ozone Park, is gaining momentum again." Read the story here.

MAD MEN — "Howard Milstein wants to reimagine the office building," by New York Post's Lois Weiss: "Howard Milstein is no longer thinking about tearing down 335 Madison Ave. but will pour $100 million into a renovation by SHoP Architects." Read the story here.

WHAT'S IN STORE — "Report: Hundreds More Department Store Closures Are Necessary," by Wall Street Journal's Esther Fung: "Department-store retailers announced worse-than-expected earnings for the first quarter, and there could be more store closures than expected ahead, including some in higher-tier malls, according to real-estate research firm Green Street Advisors." Read the story here.

— "Coke's eyeing of 711 Fifth Ave. goes flat," by New York Post's Lois Weiss: "After speaking to brokers, Atlanta-based Coca Cola has apparently decided it could not get the same or larger rent at its 711 Fifth Ave. building and will leave Polo Ralph Lauren on the hook for its store payments." Read the story here.

HOUSEKEEPING — "NYCHA announces first developer of mixed-income housing," by POLITICO New York's Brendan Cheney: The New York City Housing Authority announced on Wednesday that Fetner Properties will be the developer of their first mixed-income development. The development is at Holmes Towers on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Read the story here.

WAGE WARS — Real Estate Board of New York president John Banks, who recently settled a deal with the building trades union and Gov. Andrew Cuomo over wages tied to the 421-a property tax break, expressed concerns with prevailing wages for construction workers in his Real Estate Weekly column. Read more here.

GRASS IS GREENER — "As Lower East Side Gentrifies, Condo Offers Sprawling Private Garden," by Wall Street Journal's Josh Barbanel: "At One Manhattan Square, residents soon will be able to stroll up a hill sprinkled with flowering sumac plants and contemplate life from what the developers call an adult treehouse set amid hedges and azaleas." Read the story here.

SHORT READS:

— "Developer-Friendly City Agency Ignored 'Fraud' by UWS Synagogue, Suit Says," by DNAinfo's Nicole Levy

— "Teenager Set Manhattan Synagogue Ablaze, Police Say," by New York Times' Ashley Southall and David W. Dunlap

— "Adam America in talks to buy former Brooklyn church site for 72-unit condo project," by The Real Deal's Eddie Small

— "The 'Amazon Of Fish' Wants To Get Americans Eating More Seafood," by Fast Company's Eillie Anzilotti

— "The right path to affordable housing," by former HPD commissioner Rafael Cestero via the Daily News

— "O'Connor, Washington Prime buy retail portfolio for $600M," by Real Estate Weekly

— "GTIS' UWS condo conversion declared effective; developer now shooting for $182M sellout," by The Real Deal's Miriam Hall

— "East Harlem Rezoning and Housing Plans 'Land Grab for the Rich,' Locals Say," by DNAinfo's Dartunorro Clark

** A message from Industry City: Industry City invested more than $200 million bringing life back to the Sunset Park waterfront. Much of that went to area businesses. Take in the great neighborhood and take on a new outlook. Industry City: Purpose built for your future.

Visit IndustryCity.com for job opportunities, business development services, and community events. **

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