Capstone Realty Advisors listed as one of the “Top NYC Boutique Brokerages” in the Commercial Observer!!!!!

CO’s Fourth Annual List of Top NYC Boutique Brokerages

Brokerages with a dozen salespeople or fewer that pack a big punch.

Founder: Joseph McLaughlin
Date established: 2005
Number of brokers: 11

Joseph McLaughlin took an alternate route to becoming a brokerage owner.

Prior to founding Capstone Realty Advisors in 2005, McLaughlin was running delivery company Gotham Courier. The State University of New York Oneonta graduate with a business degree founded the courier company in 1998, five years after working for another delivery company in Manhattan.

When he worked with a broker to find office space for his courier company at 555 Eighth Avenue, he realized that he could become a broker. So he sold his business to rival Breakaway Courier.

“I like sales, I knew Manhattan very well, and I had a lot of contacts in Manhattan. It was an easy transition for me,” McLaughlin said.

He went to work for Kaufman Organization in 2000 as a leasing agent. His first deal involved relocating a company to 1,500 square feet in Kaufman’s 450 Seventh Avenue from 1 Penn Plaza, he said. After four years, McLaughlin then went to work for Newmark & Co. (now Newmark Knight Frank) in 2004.

The following year, he finally partnered with a college buddy and fellow broker Jack Wynne to form Capstone. (Wynne left the business in 2008.)

The firm has been focused on commercial deals for tenants ranging from 2,000 square feet to 25,000 square feet since its inception. It also has represented landlords and dabbles in investment sales.

The company completed about 50 transactions last year and has already done 29 this year. That includes representing game company Atari; McLaughlin and colleague Matthew Geery brokered the deal for the company to relocate to a 5,672-square-foot space at 286 Madison Avenue in June, leaving 475 Park Avenue South.

McLaughlin also did a deal in May to bring branding and design firm Donovan/Green to 49 West 37th Street. The company took the entire 6,800-square-foot 15th floor of the building.

While the firm has grown since its earliest days to 11 brokers, in 2014 it had as many as 20 brokers (in 2014). But McLaughlin thinks the team is stronger now.

“We have been larger than 12 people, but I think this year we are slated to have probably our best year,” he said. “Having more people doesn’t equate to the company billing more or being more profitable. I think it’s the quality of the people [that matters].”. —L.L.G.


Capstone Realty Mentioned in Commercial Observer Article !!

Financial Trading Tech Firm Relocating to Nearby 622 Third Avenue

622 Third Avenue.

Chicago-based HC Technologies has signed a seven-and-a-half-year lease to relocate its New York offices to an 8,000-square-foot space in Cohen Brothers Realty Corporation‘s 39-story 622 Third Avenue, Commercial Observer has learned.

The company will relocate early next year from its current offices three avenues away at 286 Madison Avenue between East 40th and East 41st Streets to the sixth floor of 622 Third Avenue between East 40th and East 41st Streets. Asking rent in the deal was $60 per square foot, according to Marc Horowitz of Cohen Brothers.

Mr. Horowitz and a Colliers International team of David Glassman, Robert Tunis and Joseph Cabrera represented the landlord in the transaction.

“Our floor plan, even though it’s a large plate, divides beautifully and it’s highly windowed and minimally columned,” Mr. Tunis told Commercial Observer. “I think that was extremely attractive.”

Founded in 2007 and formerly known as Henning-Carey Proprietary Trading, HC Technologies designs, builds and operates trading platforms for financial transactions.

The company’s current digs are about 2,300 square feet. It needed to relocate to accommodate its growth, according to Joseph McLaughlin of Capstone Realty Advisors, who represented the tenant in the transaction along with colleague Thomas Murtha.

“A lot of it had to do with the growth and also they needed to be a in a building with a greater choice of Internet providers,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “That building at 622 Third Avenue has a slew of providers so that was also a big draw.”

Within the past few months there has been a barrage of leases signed in 622 Third Avenue. Employment agency Michael Page International inked a deal for the entire 26,500-square-foot 29th floor, as Commercial Observer reported last month.

And recently Money20/20, a networking and events company, signed a 4,500-square-foot lease for more than seven years. The company will move into part of the 35th floor by the end of the year.

Developer Triple Star Realty also signed a seven-and-a-half-year deal for a 4,000-square-foot office space on the 33rd floor. The company is expecting to moving in early next year.

Other tenants in the building include Monster Worldwide, EZE Software Group,Hill Holliday, Erwin Penland, MRM Casanova, Orion Holdings, TMP Worldwide and Sterling National Bank.

How We Built an Office That Works for Employees and Guests

By: Chief Executive Officer of GLG (Gerson Lehrman Group)


When visitors come into our new office in Midtown Manhattan, one of the first questions we often get is, “Can I have my own desk here?”

I tell people they are welcome to work out of our office, but that no one has a permanently assigned spot, not even me, the CEO. Still, the request validates our approach to designing an office our guests would want to use.

As a company that brings together top thinkers, we needed to design a space that fostered conversation and learning. A place that feels intellectually alive and engaged. We opted against an office with personal desks and instead created a space that gives everyone a seat at the proverbial table.

We are a global, 1,000-person professional learning company that brings people and businesses together with experts to help them learn about their complex strategic challenges. Our 65,000-square-foot New York headquarters is home to almost 300 of us. Each month GLG hosts dozens of roundtable events for our clients and experts; we wanted our headquarters to be a place where they could work and mingle before and after these sessions.

So when it came to our new headquarters, we were looking for more than just an office. The space would need to support a core aspect of our business. We wanted an office that combined the intellectual curiosity and community of a university campus and the urgency of a newsroom. We wanted space for people to be private and a place where people could come to work, learn, recharge, and be inspired.

But building a workspace that encompasses all of that and accommodates employees and guests alike raises a number of questions like: How can you make guests feel comfortable using the space? How can you make the space functional for them? How can guests and employees work in a way that is not disruptive to one another? How can you preserve privacy in an office bustling with employees and outsiders?

Two years ago, I sat down with our architect, Clive Wilkinson, to answer these questions. He designed a solution that integrated the idea of “host-ability” into activity-based working (ABW.)

The theory behind ABW is that offices should provide options to suit various types of work and that people should have the freedom to move around throughout the day as their work changes. ABW seemed great for our employees, but we needed to make sure our office supported our guests as well, which is why we focused on making our space welcoming and flexible.

We started by locating our headquarters adjacent to Grand Central Terminal, making it especially accessible. We abandoned the idea of assigned desks but leased enough space so that we had more seats than employees. The absence of assigned desks, spaces, or offices puts everyone on equal footing. Our guests are free to choose from a variety of unclaimed spots.

Some companies have “guest desks” for out-of-towners, but they do little to make people feel comfortable or included. Here, rather than create a number of “visitor desks,” our office has four large areas with big tables as workstations, plus meeting pods, chairs of different shapes and sizes, and adjustable standing desks. Employees keep their belongings in lockers overnight and choose where to sit each day. The mobility within our office gives us the flexibility to accommodate the needs of both employees and guests.

Seamless technology was essential in creating an office anyone could use. We built a system that’s universally compatible across all platforms. At any open seat, people can plug their laptops into one cord that provides access to hard-wired Internet, monitor, and camera. We implemented a printing technology that allows users to send items to print on a queue, swipe a card, and collect their documents from any printer in the office.

To accommodate the myriad needs of our employees and guests, we designed 38 multipurpose tech-enabled conference rooms of varying sizes. The larger rooms are fitted with screens and mounted cameras so virtual meetings can include participants from around the world.

We created a number of smaller rooms that can be used for independent work and private conversations, and soon a room reserved for meditation. We also built an event space that can accommodate up to 100 people, so we could host larger events on-site.

Most conversations and activities do not need to happen behind closed doors, so we designed an in-house café for informal brainstorms and check-ins. We recreated the casual coffee shop chat by building our own coffee bar, complete with barista.

We built a space that facilitated not only hosting and flexibility, but also independent reflection. In doing so, we designed an office that would work for everyone.

10 Trends for NYC’s Office Space in 2015

10 Trends for NYC’s Office Space in 2015

By Amy Zimmer on January 6, 2015 8:15pm

10 Trends for NYC’s Office Space in 2015

MANHATTAN — For New York City’s office real estate market in 2014, all eyes were on TAMI — technology, advertising, media and information — and that trend will likely continue in 2015, experts predict.

As the No. 7 train starts roaring into the far West Side in early 2015, the mini city rising around Hudson Yards is expected to emerge as the city’s newest corridor for tech companies, and the Financial District — with its shiny new transit hub at Fulton Street — will continue luring tech companies from Midtown, many expect.

Here’s a closer look at what to expect in New York’s commercial real estate market in 2015:

1. TAMI will still be big.

Several tech companies signed splashy deals in 2014, from retail giantAmazon leasing 470,000 square feet on West 34th Street across from the Empire State Building to DIY behemoth Etsy’s plans for a 200,000-square-foot space in Dumbo. Google continued nabbing more property in Chelsea, with a lease for an 180,000-square-foot space in a former Nabisco factory, bringing the company’s footprint in the area up to a reported 900,000 square feet.

Economists predict that much of the city’s employment growth will continue to come from the tech sector. These companies, for instance, added 5,400 jobs in Manhattan in July and August alone, according to a report fromCushman & Wakefield, a commercial real estate firm.

2. But the surprise of 2015 will be the return of legal and finance office deals.

Though JP Morgan Chase scrapped plans to build a new headquarters on the Far West Side, the firm recently secured 123,000 square feet in the area — at Brookfield Properties’ Manhattan West project — to move its digital group there.

“You’re starting to see firms that were quiet at beginning of recovery step back in,” Heidi Learner, Savills Studley chief economist.

3. Office rents are rising.

Manhattan office rents hit an average of $71.66 per square foot, a 4 percent jump from the year before, according to third quarter figures from Jones Lang LaSalle.

Some say that tech companies are pushing rents higher.

“The high point last year was $65 a square foot,” said Conrad Bradford, of Miron Properties, who is working with several tech companies on finding new space. “Now that’s the starting point for certain buildings. And there’s no way around it. For the more established tech companies, they’re looking for that building to give them credibility … and landlords are being very selective about their tenants.”

Buzzfeed, for instance, recently inked a deal to take 200,000 square feet on Park Avenue South, paying a reported $85 per square foot. But some critics say companies like the media giant have an unfair advantage since they are getting government subsidies. BuzzFeed got $4 million in state incentives toexpand its headquarters and add 475 new jobs over the next five years.

4. Hudson Yards gets rolling.

In the coming year, people will see the first signs of real progress in and around the Hudson Yards.

The new home to Coach, L’Oreal, and a Fairway Market is expected to open in 2015, according to the Related Companies, the developer of the $20 billion project. (Time Warner is expected to move to the area a few years later.)

“We’re getting a lot of traction on the far West Side,” Learner said of the area. (The upscale department store Nieman Marcus is expected to move to Hudson Yards in 2018 along with Time Warner.)

5. Downtown will still be hot.

Besides a publishing nexus of powerhouse companies like Conde Nast — in the recently opened 1 World Trade Center — and Time Inc., which will move to Brookfield Place in 2015, other creative firms will continue the migration from Midtown to the Financial District many said.

Plus, the area will become a major retail destination with high-end fashion and dining coming to Brookfield Place and the World Trade Center, Kiell said.

Brookfield Place, for instance, will see shops like Saks Fifth Avenue, Hermes, Theory, Tory Burch and Calypso. An Eataly outpost is expected to open at theWorld Trade Center.

6. Brooklyn will get hotter.

Creative companies want to be near where their employees live — and that often means Brooklyn, many said.

The number of professional and business establishments in Kings County was up 3.5 percent from the second quarter of 2014 compared to the year before, while Manhattan saw just 0.7 growth in businesses during that time, Learner said, citing census data.

There will likely be anywhere from five to 12 big projects converting warehouse space into offices in areas like East Williamsburg, Crown Heights and Gowanus, said Chris Havens, a broker with aptsandlofts, the leasing agent for 1000 Dean St., a high-profile project that opened in Crown Heights in 2014.

There are roughly 10 office projects happening in Bushwick around the Morgan L train — an area known as “Morgantown” — where rents spiked from $15 to $25 a foot over the past year to $30 to $40, said Havens, who is keeping his eye on what’s happening with the area’s artists.

There may also be some more ground-up developments, like Williamsburg’s 25 Kent Ave.

“You’re having someone build the first California-level tech building in Brooklyn,” he said. “You’ll see others.”

7. Sunset Park’s Industry City will be the “it” place.

Even with the gut renovations slated for properties all over Brooklyn, the borough still has a “tremendous shortage” of space for creative companies, which is why more attention will turn to Industry City, a 6 million square foot, 16-building complex in Sunset Park that’s home to a range of tenants, including distilleries, gluten-free bakeries and soon, the Brooklyn Nets’ practice space.

The complex is in the midst of a $100 million renovation by Belvedere Capital, Jamestown and Angelo Gordon — the team known for its successful revitalization of the Chelsea Market.

“You’re going to see Industry City come more to forefront as the place to go,” Havens said.

8. Long Island City is next.

Jamestown is bringing is magic formula to the 658,000 square foot Falchi building, a former Gimbels department store warehouse in Long Island City. The Coalition for Queens, a nonprofit focused on supporting start-ups, is focused on turning the area into a tech hub, playing up its proximity to the future home of Cornell Tech across the East River on Roosevelt Island.

9. The must-have for new offices: nice kitchens with spaces to mingle…

Breakfast Mondays, lunch on Wednesdays and Thursday bar nights — architect Scott Spector noticed that a lot of the city’s start-ups were focused on providing meals for their employees to enjoy together. In response, his firm has been focusing on designing larger café and pantry areas with flexible multi-purpose spaces for people to sit together and have meetings.

“Millennials all want access to food,” Spector said. “They’re having breakfast together and they’re getting to know each other. And they’re not only eating in these spaces, they’re meeting in these spaces.”

10. And space for food trucks?

Spector is also designing space for buildings to accommodate food trucks, where they can drive into a building’s loading dock and park, he said, noting that he’s doing this in a Long Island City “tech-type” building whose address he declined to disclose.

“It’s a quirky, fun thing,” Spector said. “That’s how you attract tenants.”

Measuring Property

A global standard for measuring property? NYC’s not buying in

City’s real estate industry dismisses universal system for assessing office building size

July 09, 2014 09:00AM
By Hiten Samtani


UPDATED, 12:29 p.m., July 10: In commercial real estate, size does matter. But a global effort to more clearly define office building size is being seen by New York real estate players as a non-starter.

The International Property Measurement Standards Coalition, a nonprofit group of 45 national and international real estate organizations, is looking to implement a single measurement system for the global office market. The hope is that a common set of standards will function as a sort of lingua franca across different office markets — which often have drastically different measurement methods — and allow investors, landlords and tenants to more accurately compare spaces and buildings.

The coalition first published a draft set of standards in January. It will put out a second draft next week, with a final version slated for release in November.

“The key point is that with all of these differences in local markets, we’re giving people the option to have comparability,” said Kenneth Creighton, the president of the coalition, which was formed during a meeting at the World Bank last year.

Those backing the standards tout the potential for increased transparency. “The many different ways of measuring space in markets may result in the distortion of true values,” John Saunders, head of Asian real estate at asset management giant BlackRock, said in a statement on the coalition’s website. Executives from international offices of brokerages such as JLL and CBRE also expressed support for the standards, as did Steve Williams, an executive managing director at New York-based Real Capital Analytics. The government of Dubai has also embraced the coalition’s standards, and in October the emirate announced that it would officially adopt them.

In New York, however, the reception to the initiative has been far frostier. Those doing the measuring for some of the city’s biggest landlords dismissed the need for new standards. The idea that such standards would increase the transparency in the New York market “has no basis,” said Peter Boritz, CEO of Real Data Management.

Nationally, most buildings are measured according to guidelines set by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), which is a member of the IPMS coalition and ostensibly has influence over the standards the coalition will release. In New York, however, most buildings are measured according to REBNY guidelines, which allow for much more aggressive building measurements, as TRD reported.

The Durst Organization’s One World Trade Center, for example, was initially pegged at 2.6 million square feet, but later shot up to 3 million square feet following a remeasurement based on REBNY guidelines and a conversion of some interior space.

A spokesperson for Durst said that “while there was a small increase in rentable area due to correctly measuring 1 WTC, most of the increase came from converting unnecessary shaft space outside the core into usable area.”

Tishman Speyer’s MetLife Building at 200 Park Avenue is now put at 3.1 million square feet, a 275,000-square-foot increase from a decade ago. The growth in rentable area resulted in a $24.3 million increase in annual rental income, according to data from tenant advisory firm Commercial Tenant Real Estate Representation.

Representatives for REBNY didn’t respond to requests for comment.

If the coalition’s standards were applied in New York, they would likely result in a drastic reduction of buildings’ rentable areas and thus reduce the value of the assets, according to Boritz. “It could change the investment sales markets,” he said. “Certainly, landlords could increase rents substantially to offset this, but that would create an entirely new set of issues.”

Creighton said that such statements illustrated a lack of understanding of the coalition’s intentions. “We’re not talking about value, we’re talking about measurement,” he said. “The value is set by the market.” Having global standards, he said, would simply make it easier for tenants to compare spaces in a more consistent manner.

But some of the city’s tenant representatives said that the initiative was a distraction and could further complicate landlord-tenant discussions. “This is absolutely not good for tenants,” said Marisa Manley, the president of Commercial Tenant Real Estate Representation. “It creates a distraction and a potential source of friction,” she added. “It’s kind of like hamsters running on a wheel — there’s a certain amount of energy being expended here.”

Instead of advocating for new standards, Manley suggested that tenant brokers should focus on building better relationships with landlords, so that they can get meaningful concessions such as tenant improvements and extended HVAC hours.

Another issue with universal standards, said Keith Keppler of tenant representation firm Cresa New York, is that space usage can vary drastically from building to building. “Measurement is irrelevant,” Keppler said. “You can put 100 people into 15,000 square feet in one building. In another it could take 20,000 [square feet].”

New York landlords are highly unlikely to embrace the initiative, said David Hoffman, a veteran leasing broker at Cassidy Turley. “If you were a major institutional investor that paid a premium to buy a trophy asset, and you bought it based on a certain price per square foot and that’s how you underwrote it, you’d have a tough time going to your boss with a smaller square footage,” he said.

Hoffman finds it interesting that the coalition was taking the time to study global measurement standards and create some uniformity, but said he didn’t see the benefit to tenants. Though tenants might be ignorant of New York’s high loss factor when they start their space quest, “they’re brought up the learning curve” by their brokers, Hoffman said.

Boritz questioned the coalition’s motivations. “The forces driving this initiative are primarily large corporate tenants that don’t have any real authority and are not any different than a special interest lobbying group,” he said.

But Creighton said that New York had to recognize that it was part of the global office marketplace. “If they [New York] think they can be an island and still be a leader in the property market, it’s not right,” he said. “Instead of fearing the standards, they should be embracing them.”

Innovative Office Space Article

More New York Companies Experiment With Innovative Office Space

The following article/story appeared in the Wall Street Journal by Kevin Hagen on July 7, 2014 and was written/reported by Keiko Morris:

Rachana Gheewala works from an easy chair in the new activity-based office of Gerson Lehrman Group.
Alexander Saint-Amand admits he used his old desk to store his stuff: extra neckties, books and water bottles.
As of last week, that became impossible because Mr. Saint-Amand no longer has a permanent desk at Gerson Lehrman Group Inc., the company he leads as chief executive.
Like everyone else in the 250-person office, Mr. Saint-Amand is now assigned only a laptop, a headset and a locker.
GLG’s new office design offers an array of workspaces—from comfortable couches to high stools at a barista-staffed coffee bar to single-occupancy glass booths.
“Something funny about having a lot of stuff is it makes you feel like you’re doing something,” said Mr. Saint-Amand, whose company helps other firms learn about business issues by matching them with experts. “But when you don’t have all that stuff, it frees you up to actually concentrate and work.”
GLG workers will have so-called neighborhoods, areas where their teams are based. But they are free to find a spot to work anywhere on the company’s two floors at One Grand Central Place. In the world of office design, the new layout at GLG is known as activity-based working.
A barista makes drinks at Gerson Lehrman Group, which has adopted a work-space model without permanent seat assignments.
Doing away with seating assignments for an office as large as GLG’s in New York is rare but increasing, said John Arenas, chief executive officer of Serendipity Labs Inc., a company that provides temporary work and meeting spaces for mobile workers.
Companies such as Microsoft Corp. MSFT -0.50% , PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and Accenture have been experimenting with variations on unassigned seating since the 1990s and early 2000s. The Macquarie Group MQG.AU -0.94% drew much attention in 2009 when it instituted an activity-based working concept at one of its offices, for 3,000 workers, in Sydney, Australia.
Last year, real estate services company CBRE Group Inc. CBG +0.16% brought its version of the office design to its Los Angeles operation. CBRE said it planned to have the system in 21 of its offices by year’s end.
“When we actually looked at what they needed, they needed much more choice, the ability to make good decisions about getting their work done,” said Lenny Beaudoin, CBRE senior managing director of workplace strategy.
Offices designed around activity-based working save space, so they appeal to companies determined to shave real estate costs. CBRE’s new Los Angeles office will be able to accommodate 250 people in 48,000 square feet, compared with 210 people in the 72,000 square feet the company would have needed in the old office format. Companies also see the layouts as recruitment tools to attract younger workers who are accustomed to mobile technology.
“Office workers are really only at their desks 40% of the time,” said Bernice Boucher, a managing director at Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., JLL +0.09% a real estate services firm. “We have known this for decades, which is why everyone talks about desk sharing…free-seating and telecommuting.”
The wide options under activity-based working also give some employees private space they didn’t have.
“Quiet people are reminding people that it’s not just about collaboration, but concentration,” said Elizabeth Burow, director of discovery for design firm HLW International LLP.
But eliminating the private office or the private desk isn’t for everyone, said Richard Sennett, a sociology professor at New York University and the London School of Economics.
“Sometimes having a space you control, which is yours, gives people the feeling of empowerment and it can be good,” he said. “But it varies.”
GLG’s new office is 65,000 square feet, almost double its old quarters on Third Avenue. It is now in a building owned by Empire Realty Trust Inc. across the street from Grand Central Terminal.
Mr. Saint-Amand said the bigger space would allow GLG to host thousands of meetings between its network of prominent industry experts and business professionals—instead of convening them off-site as they did previously.
Natural light spills from a new skylight over a white staircase that descends into a cluster of red couches and white tables. It is a work area that resembles a sleek living room. Elsewhere are open bench tables with monitors and glass-walled meeting rooms named after influential thinkers, including Indira Gandhi, Thomas Hobbes, Winston Churchill and Thomas Jefferson.
“We want you to feel like you own the whole office not just your desk,” said Clive Wilkinson, whose firm, Clive Wilkinson Architects, designed GLG’s space. He was also the architect of the Macquarie Group’s activity-based office in Australia.”That’s a landmark change because employees typically are kept in their place and told, if you’re incredibly lucky you might get an office some day.”
GLG’s workers seemed to be adapting. Workers already had collectively dubbed the small private spaces with tall cylindrical walls as the “submarine.” And the small glass booths had come in handy for sales pitches.
Jim Sharpe, head of GLG’s North American financial services group, said he had already used eight work spaces at the new office by the second day.
He ate breakfast at the coffee bar and had meetings with co-workers in one of the diner-like booths—as well as in the Keynes room.

Year 2012 | Potential growth for the commercial real estate market

Interested in knowing what year 2012 will hold for the commercial real estate market? The Real Deal forecasts an optimistic future for commercial real estate, saying that the current economic climate is conducive to growth. Cushman senior economist Ken McCarthy reports, “The main drivers of growth — low interest rates, pent-up demand, balance-sheet improvement and healthier labor markets — are all still very much in place.” Even though the economy still stands on shaky grounds, these promising signs indicate that commercial real estate might be on the upswing. In The Real Deal, Guelda Voien writes, “Real estate in the Americas experienced a slowdown in 2011, as the European debt crisis and economic fits and starts at home inhibited the volume of commercial leasing and sales, but fundamentals point to a brighter 2012, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s Economic Pulse report, released today.” Read the full article here