Republican or Democrat? Catsimatidis picks his poison

first_imgFull Name* Share via Shortlink Email Address* TagsJohn CatsimatidisPolitics Message*center_img Will Catsimatidis switch parties? (Getty) When I think of Feb. 14, three things come to mind: Valentine’s Day, Amazon canceling HQ2 on that date in 2019, and the deadline for John Catsimatidis to switch parties to run for mayor as a Democrat.I bet you didn’t predict that third one.Even folks who are following the free-for-all that is this year’s mayoral race have given little thought to Catsimatidis — despite the media dutifully covering the Republican billionaire’s periodic musings about running.Read moreCatsimatidis considering mayoral runCoffee Talk with John CatsimatidisBillionaire grocer on why he should be mayor Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Politico reported last week that the developer and Gristedes owner who also has interests in oil refining and insurance would soon decide whether to become a Democrat to run for mayor.Catsimatidis’ logic, as he told Politico’s Erin Durkin, is: “With ranked choice voting in the primary, who knows what happens?”With New York voters ranking up to three candidates on their ballots for the first time, we don’t know who will win. But we know who won’t: Catsimatidis.I don’t mean to insult the man. He is, after all, a self-made billionaire, not to mention a graduate of test-in high school Brooklyn Tech. But he’s not so much a genius as a savant — a college dropout who parlayed ambition, intuition and luck into a $3 billion fortune.Catsimatidis left New York University and bought a $10,000 stake in the Upper West Side 7-Eleven where he worked. He repaid the money and by age 25 he had 10 Red Apple stores.Though he is best known for Gristedes, it was oil that made him uber wealthy.He bought United Refining out of bankruptcy in 1986, having come across the opportunity while in bankruptcy court on an unrelated case. It made sense to own gas stations that could sell the fuel he was refining from Canada’s sludgy crude, so he bought some. He now has nearly 300 Kwik Fill and Red Apple Food Mart locations across three states.His business skills, however, do not translate to New York politics. He spent $11.4 million in losing the 2013 Republican primary for mayor by 12 points to Joe Lhota ($6.6 million), who in turn was crushed by Bill de Blasio, 73 percent to 24 percent.Nothing in Cats’ history suggests he will spend $75 million to $100 million of his own money on a campaign, like the much wealthier Michael Bloomberg did three times. But if he did, he would still lose.Even before Donald Trump’s presidency, city voters had soured on Republicans, which is why Bloomberg left the party a year before his 2009 run. Hence, Catsimatidis’ idea to run as a Democrat.“We’re just exploring it,” he told me yesterday. “We’re deciding if it makes any sense.”Asked if he is polling to gauge his chances, Catsimatidis said, “Polling? That’s the biggest con game in the world.”He noted that for years, he was a Bill Clinton Democrat. “I can be a conservative Democrat, or I can be a liberal Republican,” he told Durkin.But a conservative cannot win the Democratic primary, where voters are a mix of liberals, moderates and socialists. They will not vote for someone who says, as Catsimatidis did to Durkin, that Trump “did a great job for our economy. He did a great job sealing the border.”Trump’s approval rating among Democratic primary voters is somewhere south of infinitesimal.And forget the idea that GOP voters will switch parties and make a difference in the Democratic primary. Nearly 650,000 people voted in the 2013 Democratic primary, and just 57,000 in the Republican contest.Catsimatidis also has no shot at the tiny wonk vote, because he is Trump-like in his approach to studying policy. He is, to put it kindly, a big-picture guy.What about ranked-choice voting? The new system does not make hopeless candidates viable. It just lets New Yorkers vote for one without fearing their ballot will be wasted — because their second or third choice will be counted when their first falls short.No, this will not be John Catsimatidis’ year, no matter which party he chooses.Contact Erik Engquistlast_img read more

HFZ loses control of 4 Manhattan condo projects

first_imgTagsCIM GroupDistressHFZ Capital GroupNYC condo market At HFZ’s marquee project, the $2 billion XI condo-hotel development in West Chelsea, lender Children’s Investment Fund filed a lawsuit last month seeking $160 million in summary judgment from the developer, which may be forced out of the project. The Zeckendorfs are reportedly in talks to take over the struggling development.Elsewhere, HFZ is facing another UCC foreclosure action on the development site for its planned 600,000-square-foot office tower in NoMad. That site consists of eight parcels on the block between Fifth Avenue and Broadway and between West 29th and West 30th streets, with another under contract. With additional air rights and a bonus for a public plaza, the assemblage has 617,167 square feet of development rights.The turmoil across the portfolio has rippled through HFZ’s offices. Last year, the developer laid off some 30 employees from the construction management side of its business.And before the new year, Feldman split with his longtime partner, Nir Meir.HFZ announced in January that it had brought on William Henrich — an adviser at the firm Getzler Henrich & Associates — as interim chief operating officer to oversee the development firm’s financial restructuring.Henrich did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the transfer to CIM. Share via Shortlink Ziel Feldman with Fifty Third and Eighth. (The XI, 53rd and 8th)HFZ Capital Group has lost control of four Manhattan condo conversion projects as the developer fights for survival amid a blizzard of legal and financial problems.Los Angeles-based CIM Group, one of HFZ’s lenders, last month foreclosed on the junior mezzanine positions tied to four properties: 88 and 90 Lexington Avenue; The Astor at 235 West 75th Street; and Fifty Third and Eighth at 301 West 53rd Street. Property records filed with the city Thursday show the transfer took place Jan. 7.The handover puts an end to the back-and-forth between HFZ and CIM over control of the properties.CIM first planned a UCC foreclosure sale in November, but it was halted by a New York State Supreme Court judge who ruled the process “created confusion in the marketplace” and required an “unreasonably high deposit to qualify to bid.”But the ruling only stopped the sale temporarily. CIM initiated another UCC foreclosure auction for Jan. 7 and then made a credit bid — a bid using its existing debt — on the positions.The positions had pledges of equity interest, which allowed the lender to take control of the properties. CIM will still be responsible for making the senior loan payments.Marketing materials for the foreclosure sale showed that CIM’s junior mezzanine loans held a balance of $90.5 million. The properties’ total debt, including senior loans and senior mezzanine loans, amounted to $249 million.The attempted conversion of the four pre-war rental buildings into condos was one of HFZ’s most ambitious undertakings.The development firm, led by Ziel Feldman, initially paid Westbrook Partners $610 million for the four properties in 2013, teaming up with Fortress Investment Group on the buy. The portfolio consisted of 743 rental units, and the partners subsequently began the process of converting the buildings into residential condos.The Manhattan condos are among several properties HFZ has relinquished in recent months. In December, Monroe Capital, one of the firm’s lenders, foreclosed on HFZ’s stake in a national industrial portfolio. And last month, Westbrook, its partner on the Belnord condo conversion in Manhattan, told The Real Deal that the developer’s “only remaining connection to the project is that it holds a minority non-controlling residual economic interest.”Newmark’s Brock Cannon, Evan Layne and Brett Siegel led the foreclosure sale along with Dustin Stolly and Jordan Roeschlaub. CIM Group declined to comment. HFZ did not respond to a request for comment.Read morecenter_img How HFZ became the face of Manhattan’s condo woesWestbrook takes over HFZ’s Belnord conversionHFZ’s Ziel Feldman sells Hamptons home for $50M Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlinklast_img read more

Koch buys Las Vegas casino development

first_img Email Address* Charles Koch of Koch Real Estate Investments and 2777 South Las Vegas Boulevard (Getty, iStock)UPDATED, Feb. 12, 2021, 2:44 p.m: The real estate arm of Koch Industries is betting big that the casino industry will come roaring back after the pandemic.Koch Real Estate Investments purchased a Las Vegas casino development that was previously slated to become a $3.1 billion 3,780-room resort project led by Steven Witkoff. That project was slated for completion in 2022, but has been stalled.The price Koch paid was not disclosed. Koch will partner with Fontainebleu Development, which was involved with developing the project before it went bust during the financial crisis.The development site, at 2777 South Las Vegas Boulevard, last changed hands in 2017, when Witkoff purchased the property from Carl Icahn for $600 million. Icahn purchased the property out of bankruptcy.Las Vegas casinos shut down as a result of the pandemic lockdowns in the first half of 2020. In October, Sheldon Adelson, the late casino magnate, was reportedly exploring selling three of his Las Vegas casinos.The sale could have fetched as much as $6 billion, Bloomberg reported at the time.[Bloomberg] — Georgia KromreiRead moreDevelopers pitch New York City casinoSheldon Adelson is leaving Las Vegas Tags Share via Shortlink Message*  Correction: Due to an error in the source article, this story previously stated that Koch bought a stake in the casino.  center_img Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Full Name* Contact Georgia Kromrei DevelopmentReal Estate InvestmentSteve Witkofflast_img read more

SL Green to sell its 25% stake in Tower 46 to Brookfield

first_img Tags Later that year SL Green formed a joint venture with Prudential Real Estate Investors. Prudential became the owner of 75 percent stake, while SL Green kept the remaining 25 percent.In its press release Tuesday, SL Green said the deal with Brookfield would generate net cash proceeds of about $20 million. But it was unclear how the figure was calculated. An SL Green spokesperson declined to comment.In the deal, SL Green’s 25 percent stake is valued $5 million — or about 7 percent — less than it was valued for in 2014.Ben Brown, managing partner with Brookfield Property Group, said the transaction “represents an opportunity to acquire a prime asset at a highly attractive basis and drive return through Brookfield’s operating platform.”Paul Gillen, Anthony Ledesma, Kyle van Buitenen and Daniel Parker of Hodges Ward Elliott represented SL Green in the sale.The office condominium market has also been hit by the pandemic and the shift to work-from-home it triggered.According to Rudder Property Group, which specializes in office condos in the city, a comparison of sales before and during the pandemic in the same Manhattan buildings showed a 32 percent drop in price per square foot, from $909 to $616.Contact Akiko Matsuda Full Name* Share via Shortlink Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Email Address* Message* brookfield asset managementCommercial Real Estateoffice marketSL Green SL Green’s Marc Holliday and Brookfield Asset Management’s Bruce Flatt with Tower 46. (SL Green, Brookfield) SL Green Realty is unloading its stake in Midtown’s Tower 46.The real estate investment trust is in contract to sell its 25 percent interest in the commercial condominium units at 55 West 46th Street to a Brookfield Asset Management real estate fund for a gross valuation of $275 million, or $793 per square foot, the REIT announced Tuesday.The transaction is expected to close this quarter.In 2014 SL Green acquired the office condo units and retail space totaling about 347,000 square feet in Tower 46, also known as International Gem Tower, for $295 million, or about $850 per square foot. The acquisition came as the building’s developer, Extell, struggled to attract tenants to those offices.Read moreManhattan office condo prices declined 32% in 2020SL Green sees improved “market vibe,” office return in “a blink of an eye”Inside SL Green’s One Vanderbilt, a test case for Midtown Eastlast_img read more

Stuy Town to get new 17K sf grocery store

first_img421-427 East 14th Street (Google Maps, iStock)A new supermarket is coming to Stuy Town.Chef’s Local Harvest inked a 17,300-square-foot lease at 421-427 East 14th Street, taking over a former Associated Supermarket store, according to Okada & Company, the firm representing the grocer.The location has been left mostly vacant since the onset of the pandemic, according to amNew York, which first reported the deal. The building is owned by Blackstone Group, which bought the massive Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village complex in 2015.Father-and-son pair Paul and Aaron Fernandez own the store, along with eight other grocery stores in the city, including the Union Market chain and Ideal Marketplace.The store, which has about 10,000 square feet on the ground level along with 7,300 square feet of the usable basement, will be renovated and is expected to open early 2022.Okada & Company’s agent Matthew Fernandez — who is related to the grocery’s owners — handled the deal. JLL and Ripco Real Estate represented Blackstone Group. [amNY] — Akiko MatsudaRead moreCity sides with tenants at Stuy Town in case against BlackstoneStuy Town tenants sue Blackstone to stop rent hikesBehind Blackstone’s “capital strike” Email Address* Message* Full Name* Tags BlackstoneCommercial Real EstateRetail Real Estatestuyvesant town Share via Shortlink Contact Akiko Matsuda Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlinklast_img read more

10 biggest new project filings in NYC

first_img Full Name* Bolivar Development’s Peter Fine and 401 West 218 Street. (Google Maps)Multifamily developments made up the bulk of the largest new building filings last month, although the biggest application submitted to the Department of Buildings was for an educational facility in Inwood.The 10 largest new building filings included three projects each in Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx, and just one in Brooklyn. Five of those new projects are multifamily developments, and there’s one hotel application that also includes 25 residential units. Three of the projects are educational facilities.Here’s the full list:1. 401 West 218 Street, ManhattanPeter Fine’s Bolivar Development filed an application to build an eight-story school building on a half-acre lot in Inwood. The proposed 118,000 square-foot building includes classrooms, offices, a gymnasium, and a kitchen and dining area. The property currently houses an auto repair shop. GF55 Architects is listed as the architect of record.2. 25-10 42nd Road, QueensJudy Chang’s Royal Real Estate wants to build an 11-story mixed-use building on a lot in Long Island City, also known by 42-39 Crescent Street. The proposed 83,000-square-foot building would include 96 transient hotel rooms and 25 residential units, along with retail stores. Chang’s firm is also building a nine-story hotel nearby at 42-59 Crescent Street. S&S Architectural Design is listed as the architect of record.3. 12 East 37th Street, ManhattanYusuf Bildirici’s B&F Management wants to build a 33-story, 121-unit residential tower in Murray Hill. About half of the units would be studio apartments, and the rest would be one-bedroom apartments. The 80,250-square-foot building would stand 324 feet tall. Gerner Kronick + Valcarcel Architects is listed as the architect of record.Read moreSam Chang sells hotel in Chelsea for $147MGramercy Park dev site leads New York’s mid-market investment salesThe 10 biggest new project filings in NYC Tags Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Email Address* 4. 6312 13th Avenue, BrooklynThe New York City School Construction Authority plans to build a five-story educational facility on a half-acre vacant lot just outside of the southern border of Borough Park. The 76,900-square-foot property would include classrooms, offices, and a cafeteria, gymnasium and auditorium.5. 638 East 169th Street, BronxPeter Bourbeau’s Sycamore Birch Management plans to construct a seven-story, 76,000-square-foot mixed-use building — including 60 residential units, 16,000 square feet of commercial space and 7,100 square feet of community facilities and parking for 48 cars — in Morrisania.6. 1477 Macombs Road, BronxBolivar Development is also behind this application for an eight-story educational facility in Mount Eden. The proposed 63,000-square-foot building includes classrooms, offices, multipurpose room, a music room, and an orchestra room. GF55 Architects is also listed as the architect of record.7. 305 First Avenue, ManhattanYehuda Mor’s Minrav Development plans to construct a 10-story mixed-use building in Gramercy. The proposed 55,300-square-foot building includes 50 residential units and 5,500 square feet of commercial space. SLCE Architects is listed as the architect of record.8. 189 East 205 Street, BronxRichard Hertz filed an application to construct an eight-story apartment building in Bedford Park. The proposed 48,700-square-foot building includes 88 residential units. Max Disla Architect is the architect of record.9. 131-28 40th Road, QueensSam Chang’s McSam Hotel Group plans to construct a 12-story hotel in Flushing. The proposed 46,000-square-foot building includes 154 rooms. Chang purchased the eight-parcel site, totaling 9,600 square feet, in February for $9 million, according to property records. Gene Kaufman Architect is listed as the architect of record.10. 28-08 38th Avenue, QueensLily Guo’s iCross Group plans to construct a seven-story mixed-use building in the Dutch Kill’s section of Long Island City. The proposed 42,900-square-foot project includes 50 residential units and about 8,000 square feet of commercial space. Angelo Ng & Anthony Ng Architects Studio is listed as the architect of record.Contact Akiko Matsuda Share via Shortlink Message* Commercial Real EstateConstructionDevelopmentHotel MarketMultifamily MarketSam Changlast_img read more

The effect of maternal age and experience on egg-size and hatching success in Wandering Albatrosses Diomedea exulans

first_imgThe roles of maternal age and experience, on the one hand, and individual, year and random effects on the other, in influencing avian egg-size and hatching success have been much debated but seldom studied comprehensively. We investigated these topics with Wandering Albatrosses Diomedea exulans of known age (7–30 years) and experience (1–8 breeding attempts) over a 10-year period. Older and more experienced birds laid larger eggs. After allowing for year and controlling for experience, significant age effects remained; after controlling for age, no detectable experience effects remained. However, age accounted for only 6% of the overall egg-size variation. Egg-size varied significantly between years and has increased over the last decade. Individuals laid eggs of consistent sizes; 55% of the random variation in egg-weight was due to such effects. Egg- and hatchling-weight were very closely linked; larger eggs also had higher hatching success. The latter was influenced significantly by age and experience but neither remained significant after controlling for the other. Year effects were also detectable. That there are significant effects of age, experience, year and individual on egg-weight (and hatching success) is probably typical of seabirds generally, though with different balances between factors depending on species and situation; however, insufficient data exist to examine this critically. Our finding that age was a more important influence than breeding experience does not support recent suggestions that hatching success is mainly influenced by experience and that experience will have a greater effect on reproductive success in long-lived species with high mate-fidelity. However, Wandering Albatrosses may have acquired much relevant experience before even starting to breed.last_img read more

Numerical weather prediction model performance over high southern latitudes

first_imgIncreasingly, output from numerical weather prediction (NWP) models is being used for real-time weather forecasts for the Antarctic and for Antarctic-related climate diagnostics studies. Evidence is presented that indicates that in broad terms, the NWP output from the major global models is providing useful representations of synoptic-scale systems over high southern latitude areas. For example, root-mean-square (rms) errors in the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) model predictions of the 500-hPa height field indicate a day’s gain in predictability since the mid-1990s: average rms errors in ECMWF 172 h 500-hPa height field prognoses for the calendar year 2000 were close to 50 m, compared to similar errors in the 148 h prognoses in 1995. Similar relative improvements may be noted for all time steps out to 1144 h. Moreover, it is determined that, of the models considered here, the ECMWF model is clearly the most successful model at 500-hPa-height prediction for high southern latitudes, with the United Kingdom Met Office (UKMO) and National Centers for Environmental Prediction Aviation (AVN) models the next most accurate, and with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s Global Assimilation Prediction (GASP) and Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) models lagging in accuracy. However, improvements in the temporal and spatial resolution of observational data that are available to the analysis and assimilation cycles of the NWP models, and improvements in the horizontal resolutions of the models, are required before the use of NWP output at high southern latitudes is as effective as in more northern areas of the world. Limited area modeling is seen as having potential for complementing the global models by resolving the finer-scale orography and topography of the Antarctic.last_img read more

Evolution and biodiversity of Antarctic organisms: a molecular perspective

first_imgThe Antarctic biota is highly endemic, and the diversity and abundance of taxonomic groups differ from elsewhere in the world. Such characteristics have resulted from evolution in isolation in an increasingly extreme environment over the last 100 Myr. Studies on Antarctic species represent some of the best examples of natural selection at the molecular, structural and physiological levels. Analyses of molecular genetics data are consistent with the diversity and distribution of marine and terrestrial taxa having been strongly influenced by geological and climatic cooling events over the last 70 Myr. Such events have resulted in vicariance driven by continental drift and thermal isolation of the Antarctic, and in pulses of species range contraction into refugia and subsequent expansion and secondary contact of genetically distinct populations or sister species during cycles of glaciation. Limited habitat availability has played a major role in structuring populations of species both in the past and in the present day. For these reasons, despite the apparent simplicity or homogeneity of Antarctic terrestrial and marine environments, populations of species are often geographically structured into genetically distinct lineages. In some cases, genetic studies have revealed that species defined by morphological characters are complexes of cryptic or sibling species. Climate change will cause changes in the distribution of many Antarctic and sub-Antarctic species through affecting population-level processes such as life history and dispersal.last_img read more

Seasonal variation in the correlation of airglow temperature and emission rate

first_imgThe hydroxyl (OH) rotational temperature and band emission rate have been derived using year-round, ground-based measurements of the infrared OH nightglow from Sweden from 1991 to 2002. Recent work has suggested that, during the winter, all scales of dynamical variations of radiance and temperature arise from vertical motions, implying that the effective source concentrations of atomic oxygen are constant. The present data show correlations between temperature and radiance both during winter and summer that are consistent with those observed in that previous work. However, during the transition to summer there is a rapid decrease in the temperature and its variation that is not reflected in the band radiance, suggesting that only the shorter-scale variations are accompanied by significant vertical motion. This indicates that the shorter-scale dynamical variations occur against an independent, seasonally changing background temperature profile in a way that is consistent with that predicted by gravity-wave models.last_img read more