By Sally Goldenberg | 12/06/2017 09:57 AM EDT

With help from Maya Parthasarathy

IN THE ZONE — Chin, Brewer moving to slow development of residential towers on Lower East Side, by POLITICO's Sally Goldenberg and Conor Skelding: Two Manhattan politicians are preparing a formal application that would block the development of a trio of residential towers on the Lower East Side now that a bill hastening the submission process has lapsed into law. City Council Member Margaret Chin and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will submit a formal application to the Department of City Planning that, if approved, would subject the proposed buildings to enhanced public scrutiny. Their hope is that requiring the developers to go through the city's complete land use review process will empower them to demand shorter structures and other perks the neighboring communities are clamoring for. The process culminates in a Council vote, and the legislative body typically defers to the local member. Read the story here.

AETNA'S INDECISION — "Aetna leaves open question on HQ move to New York City," by The Hour's Alexander Soule: "In regulatory documents filed Tuesday in conjunction with its planned merger with CVS Health, Aetna left open the question of whether it will complete a move of its headquarters to New York City from Hartford where it has long been based. Aetna announced plans in June to move 250 headquarters employees to New York City in late 2018 under CEO Mark Bertolini, a move that would cost it $84 million with New York agencies extending $34 million in incentives. In a conference call Monday afternoon, executives stated they hope synergies produced in the deal will generate $750 million in benefits to the combined company, including the streamlining of overlapping corporate functions. In response to employees' questions about whether Aetna will move forward with plans to occupy space in New York City if the $69 billion merger is completed, the company stated 'all real estate locations will be evaluated ... during the integration planning process,' without elaborating how Hartford might play into those decisions. CVS has its own headquarters in Woonsocket, R.I." Read the story here.

NYCHA NEWS — "At Hearing on Lead-Paint Test Lapses, Questions Go Unanswered," by The New York Times' J. David Goodman: "The embattled chairwoman of the New York City Housing Authority faced withering questioning at the City Council on Tuesday about lapses in lead-paint inspections, and she struggled to explain communication failures that left the public uninformed about the risks they posed. Even as she defended the city's response, the chairwoman, Shola Olatoye, conceded that more could have been done over the past year to tell residents what top officials learned in mid-2016: Lead-paint inspections ceased in 2012 and were not restarted for nearly four years. Her responses prompted exclamations of disbelief from a large audience and expressions of frustration from some council members. Many of the questions focused on the long delay between when officials learned of the problems with inspections — between April 2016 and June 2016, according to Ms. Olatoye — and when City Hall and the agency acknowledged the lapses publicly for the first time, in July 2017." Read the story here.

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— NYCHA chief had "no intent to deceive" when she signed erroneous inspection certification, by POLITICO's Conor Skelding: The chair and CEO of the troubled New York City Housing Authority, Shola Olatoye, said she had "no intent to deceive" anyone when she signed off on forms falsely stating the agency had conducted mandatory lead paint inspections. Olatoye was interrogated by Chairman Ritchie Torres during a lengthy and contentious hearing of the City Council Committee on Public Housing over the ongoing lead inspection scandal. Read the story here.

LAW AND ORDER — "Firm sues CWCapital over Stuy Town profits" by Crain's Daniel Geiger: "Another investment group has launched a legal effort for a chunk of the massive profits that a real estate firm earned from the default, foreclosure and 2015 sale of the twin East Side residential complexes Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village." Read the story here.

MONEY MATTERS — The Citizens Budget Commission released a report Tuesday evening evaluating Tax Increment Financing, an urban renewal strategy that was used for the extension of the 7 train to the Hudson Yards subway station. It is also the proposed financing mechanism to pay for the Brooklyn-Queens streetcar line, which has the backing of private developers and Mayor Bill de Blasio. The report concludes that the financing mechanism "can be a creative way to stretch a municipality's capital dollars, but it is not a panacea for all infrastructure investments or economic development projects. Read the report here.

IN THE WORKS — "Halcyon files plans for third Greenpoint waterfront tower" by The Real Deal's Will Parker: "Halcyon Management filed plans Tuesday for the third building in its waterfront residential complex in Greenpoint, records from the Department of Buildings show." Read the story here.

OFFICE SPACE — "An early holiday present: Manhattan office leasing already surpassed 2016's total" by The Real Deal's Rich Bockmann: "While 2017 has been a year full of gloom for certain segments of the real estate market, Manhattan's office-leasing market remains a source of cheer." Read the story here.

— "Coworking Company Spaces Establishing NYC Flagship in 100K SF at Manhattan West" by Commercial Observer's Rebecca Baird-Remba: "Brookfield Property Partners' six-building Manhattan West megaproject is getting a major coworking tenant. Amsterdam-based workspace provider Spaces has leased 103,000 square feet across seven floors in a building known as The Lofts at 424-434 West 33rd Street, the landlord told Commercial Observer." Read the story here.

— "Law firm eyeing big spread at Rockefeller's 1271 Sixth" by The Real Deal's Rich Bockmann: "Philadelphia-based law firm Blank Rome, which last year acquired struggling D.C.-based law shop Dickstein Shapiro, is in advanced talks to lease roughly 130,000 square feet at the Rockefeller Group's 1271 Sixth Avenue." Read the story here.

WHAT'S IN STORE — "The real story behind NYC's slew of fancy pop-ups" by New York Post's Lois Weiss: "It's official: Pop-up shops are here to stay. An uptick in storefront vacancies, falling rents and retailers' reluctance to commit to traditional leases have combined to make these temporary stores appealing to both owners and brands." Read the story here.

HONORS — The New York State Chapter of the American Institute of Architects honored Professor Mitchell Moss at its annual meeting yesterday by presenting him with its 2017 annual Honor Award. Moss is an urban policy and planning professor at New York University's Wagner School, where he is also director of the Rudin Center for Transportation. He has been on the faculty of NYU since 1973 and is currently a member of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's "FIX NYC" Commission.

TAKE A LOOK — "New Details For 62-Story Multi-Tower Block 675 Redevelopment, Hudson Yards" by New York YIMBY's Nikolai Fedak: "Back in June, YIMBY reported on progress for the Block 675 Redevelopment, just to the southwest of Related's Hudson Yards supertalls. ... Now, we have some fresh renderings, a clearer look at Tower B, and the latest figures for the still-growing proposal, which consists of two towers being designed by FXFOWLE and Ismael Leyva Architects." Check out the renderings here.

NEW DIRECTION — "Grand Central station is about to get a retail revitalization" by New York Post's Emily Nonko: "For the first time in years, some prized commercial real estate inside one of New York's most iconic buildings is up for grabs — and new tenants want in. Grand Central Terminal is undergoing a commercial revamp as prior leaseholders wrap up their decade-long tenures." Read the story here.

MARKET WATCH — "Tracing New York REIT's massive sell-offs" by New York Post's Lois Weiss: "During the last few months, the dissolution of New York REIT and the sale of the city buildings it owns has energized a tired local investment market." Read the story here.

SHORT READS:

— "Law firm Greenberg Traurig is in talks to relocate to One Vanderbilt," by The Real Deal's Rich Bockmann

— "Competitive retailers seek out sexier spots for city stores" by New York Post's Lois Weiss

— "Partial Demolition of Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Synagogue is Beginning" by The Lo-Down's Ed Litvak

— "Jeff Sutton, SL Green land $195M loan to refinance Times Square property" by The Real Deal's Christian Bautista

— "M&T Bank, BBPDC Lend $217M on Dumbo's Empire Stores" by Commercial Observer's Mack Burke

— "Condo price cuts at 550 Vanderbilt, 4.5 months after developer pledged to hold prices steady; major tax savings apparently not enough" by Atlantic Yards Report's Norman Oder

To view online:
https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/newsletters/politico-new-york-real-estate/2017/12/06/towering-opposition-014099

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