Eataly in talks to get chunk of former Barneys flagship location
Eataly has quietly had talks with Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. to lease or buy a chunk of the former Barneys flagship at 660 Madison Ave., Realty Check has learned. A new gourmet emporium of 40,000 square feet would be relatively small compared to the 275,000-square-foot Barneys, but would mark a major move at the depressingly dark building.
But could it really happen in the age of coronavirus, which has most of the commercial real estate business frozen in place?
While the YIMBY site cheerfully posts new renderings of a proposed supertall tower at 250 South St., it’s hardly business as usual.
The timing — if not the fate — of major property sales that are in contract weren’t immediately clear, including Amazon’s $1.15 billion buy of the former Lord & Taylor building from a WeWork partnership and Aby Rosen’s $350 million purchase of 522 Fifth Ave. from Morgan Stanley.
Sources said Rosen’s RFR was likely to go ahead with the purchase. The parties signed a hard contract just prior to the nationwide lockdown. It reportedly included an agreement for the bank to stay as a tenant for three years, which would give Rosen a comfort blanket.
But we’ve also learned that, in anticipation that the situation might get worse, Morgan Stanley gave Rosen an option to extend the contract before closing. He also put down a large deposit he was unlikely to walk away from. The bank was repped by a Darcy Stacom team at CBRE. Neither she nor Rosen could be reached.
In a Cushman & Wakefield webinar for clients Monday, New York-based investment sale king Doug Harmon said it was “way too early to prognosticate or form a theory” as to the future.
He said, “Transactions are down and will be down until we get a floor under us” — meaning a market-stabilizing occurrence such as the passage of federal relief legislation or a piece of optimistic news regarding the virus or the duration of the lockdown.
But Harmon said, “Business is not frozen,” even though “transactional work is on some form of hold.”
Meanwhile, an eerie chill hangs over Related’s massive new Hudson Yards. The vast mall and The Vessel are closed. Only the outdoor plaza remains open. Time Warner Center is dark as well, except for the big Whole Foods Market.
Construction incongruously proceeds at locations whose future prospects are uncertain. Among them: new hotels going up everywhere, especially on West 47th and 48th streets; the huge Daniel Boulud restaurant at One Vanderbilt, and another for Daniel Humm at 425 Park Ave.; and office development and redevelopments at Hudson Yards, the lower West Side and on Madison and Park avenues.
Many normally talkative power players were hesitant on Monday to attach their names even to general forecasts. One said, reasonably, “Some who are impacted by the market dive and business shutdowns will probably slow down until they see what the long-term impact will be.”
JLL regional President Peter Riguardi declined to make any specific predictions. He said more generally, “We notice that in the cases of larger deals, where a lease was out, for example, it’s progressing, even though it’s more challenging to work remotely.
“Midsize deals are more sporadic, and the smallest tenants are more cautious.”
He said JLL sent out one “very large RFP last week for a tenant-rep assignment.”
“On the capital markets side, investment sales will suffer a lot short-term, but the equity and debt markets are open.”
Riguardi is the agent for Boston Properties and Joseph Moinian’s Three Hudson Boulevard in the Hudson Yards area, 28 Liberty St. in FiDi and 25 Kent St. in Brooklyn. He said work proceeds on all of them, although “it’s somewhat difficult going from one conference call to another.”
He most recently repped MDC in its near-200,000-square-foot lease at One World Trade Center. It closed in late February. He declined to comment on whether he thought it would have closed had the coronavirus crisis begun before then.
Although some heavy-hitters fled town, Riguardi was staying put. “I’m in my apartment in the city, where my family is,” he said. He’s working from home like most everyone in real estate, and interacting with colleagues and clients electronically — “Zoom is catching on at my firm,” he said.
“We even had a happy-hour meeting on screen. Everyone had a drink to catch up,” Riguardi said.
On the retail front, NGKF’s Jeffrey Roseman noted that, “Everybody realizes there’s going to be an after-the-crisis.”
So some deals that were in the works are moving along, albeit more slowly — “They’re not going to kill themselves to get it done,” he said.
Roseman noted that Amazon was still moving forward to take four former Fairway locations, Whole Foods was “hitting the cover off the ball” and Target was still exploring new locations.
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