October 5th - October 11th, 2007
Old School Wall Street Being Challenged by Newcomers
October 10th: "Old-school Wall Street" is being challenged for dominance by newcomers to Lower Manhattan, says the New York Observer this week. With more and more creative services firms and nonprofits relocating downtown, the look and feel of the financial district is rapidly changing. Over the past two years, more than 30 percent of new office leases for relocations to downtown have been signed by companies in these two fields, according to the Observer's report.
These "funkier" tenants are still sitting side-by-side with Wall Street's traditional crew, namely legal and financial companies, who still dominate downtown -- at least for the time being. The largest lease signed by a member of the creative services industry was for 100 Church Street. The building's 45,000-square-foot space is now leased by Niche Media, a publisher of lifestyle magazines including Hamptons, Gotham, and Aspen Peak.
Citing data recently released by the Alliance for Downtown New York tracking relocations to downtown from various other parts of the city, the Observer's report highlights the fact that the majority of relocations have been firms leaving midtown for downtown. The article also cites the booming market for retailers as a big draw for companies looking to relocate. In addition, many of the day-to-day services New Yorkers look for -- like dry cleaners, grocery stores, and fancier restaurants -- have multiplied in the financial district over the past several years.
Soaring Construction Could Impact Citys Projects
October 9th: By the end of next year, the price of materials used in construction projects throughout the city will reportedly rise as much as 8 percent and continue to rise indefinitely, according to a report in the New York Sun this week. Ken Simonson, chief economist of the Associated General Contractors of America, called the increase a "warning note." "Even a small percentage of change can mean the difference of hundreds of millions of dollars in large projects in New York," he told the Sun.
The rise in cost marks a substantial jump from last year, when costs rose only 1.6 percent over the year before. The Sun's report cites a revival of the homebuilding market and the expansion of the Asian economies as reasons for the jump. The effects of both have trickled down and impacted the price of copper and diesel, which are expected to see double-digit price increases, and steel and concrete, which will likely rise between 5 and 10 percent. Copper, diesel, and steel are the three that will have the greatest impact on the city's numerous construction projects.
Luxury Retailer Replaces Old Office Space Downtown
October 9th: Tiffany & Co. opened its new store this week at 37 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, adding its name to a growing list of high-end retailers opting to take advantage of the booming downtown market. Luxury retailers like Hermes, and now Tiffany's, join luxury residences that have been popping up all over Lower Manhattan in recent years.
Tiffany Vice President Beth Canavan views the conversion of downtown buildings into residential space as business opportunity for Tiffany's. "There's always been a strength in the business community," she told the Sun, "[and] now you have residential, and you have tourists on top of that." Her observation seems to be shared by retailers and real estate moguls alike as more and more of each bring their business to the financial district.
The formal ribbon cutting ceremony took place on Wednesday at the new store, which is located at the base of a luxury apartment building formerly occupied by JPMorgan.
Training Sessions Begin on Citys New Building Codes
October 5th: New York City Buildings Commissioner Patricia Lancaster launched a new initiative to train members of the industry on the city's new construction codes, reports Real Estate Weekly. The training sessions will focus on the differences between the new NYC Construction Codes and the current NYC Building Code.
The goal of Lancaster's citywide outreach initiative is to ensure that those using the codes on a daily basis have a solid understanding of the changes that will go into effect next summer, according to the Weekly's report. In addition, the department also will be updating its website in the coming weeks in order to make training materials accessible to the public as well as industry members.