Taconic Partners secures 151K-square-foot industrial lease in Morristown

When Taconic Partners launched its industrial investment strategy, it chose New Jersey to do so. Now, the company from neighboring New York has secured a lease for 151,000 square feet at that Morristown property, marking the first milestone, it said, along that course.

Allmodes Transport Inc. signed a 151,000-square-foot lease renewal at 1 Cory Road, Taconic announced Nov. 8 — the company’s first industrial investment.

Situated on 17 acres, Taconic and Nuveen Real Estate acquired the 297,000-square-foot warehouse facility for $55 million last December.

“Recently, we launched a new initiative to begin investment in well-located, superior, industrial assets and 1 Cory Road really fit our investment thesis,” Vice President David Milch said in a statement.

The company reported Morristown’s vacancy rate at 0.6%.

“This transaction confirms our thesis that strategically located, high quality assets will continue to see high occupancy with healthy rent growth,” he continued.

For the third quarter of 2022, JLL’s New Jersey Industrial Insight Report found asking rents were up 34% over the past year for an average total asking price of $15.56 per square foot. Even still, the pursuit of the state’s logistics and last-mile sites persists: for the same period, Colliers reported new and renewed leases in N.J. adding up to nearly 7.5 million square feet.

In Morristown, 1 Cory Road is 97% leased with 8,000 square feet of warehouse space and 2 acres of car or trailer parking available.

Altogether, the property features 6.5 acres of parking — necessary for transportation and shipping tenants. It also hosts a 450-kilowatt solar panel system that Taconic said provides clean energy to tenants and, helps to satisfy the company’s ongoing commitment to sustainability.

Eastchester Heights – Bronx tenants reap benefits as landlord takes on climate change upgrades

In the roughly quarter century she’s lived at Eastchester Heights, Brenda Nesmith said she’s seen the ownership of the sprawling apartment complex change hands several times, with some landlords neglecting repair calls and upgrades.

“Before, it would take days before they’d come. Sometimes they would never come,” said Nesmith.

But, she admitted that she’s been impressed by ongoing investments at Eastchester Heights under the ownership of Taconic Partners, particularly in the infrastructure.

What You Need To Know
  • Eastchester Heights’s solar panel system is a big part of bringing the 87-year-old complex up to date and in line with coming city standards for cleaner, more sustainable energy

  • A city law requires most buildings over 25,000 square feet to meet new energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions limits by 2024 with stricter limits on the way by 2030

  • The NYC Environmental Justice Alliance found that low to moderate income communities face difficulties accessing funds from city programs meant to help homes and buildings upgrade

“These are old buildings and to come in and rebuild them and remodel them and fix the pipes,” said Nesmith. “They’ve done a lot. I’ve seen other landlords come in and do nothing.”

The solar panel system there is a big part of bringing the 87-year-old complex up to date and in line with standards for cleaner, more sustainable energy, a priority for the city under Local law 97.

“The panels provide over a million kilowatt hours of clean electricity” explained Andrew Schwartz, a Taconic Partners executive. “That’s the equivalent to taking 200 cars off the road each year.”

Schwartz says embracing clean energy standards is also a priority for the company. They’re among the many residential owners in the city grappling with ways to confront climate change by increasing efficiency and resiliency in an aging building.

“The complex was built in 1935, so every day there’s something that needs to be done… there’s facade work, there’s heating work,” said Schwartz.

The law requires most buildings over 25,000 square feet to meet new energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions limits by 2024 with stricter limits on the way by 2030.

Local Law 97 has faced pushback. Some co-op and condo owners who are suing the city to block the law, raising concerns about the expense of retrofitting older buildings and the costs of fines for those who can’t comply. But, it’s a victory for advocates like Eddie Bautista who heads the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance.

“Seventy percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions are just from the building sector alone, which is not surprising when you have over 900-thousand buildings in the city of New York,” explained Bautista.

According to Con Edison, 38,139 solar systems have been installed across the city, 3,777 of them in the Bronx. Advocates say those numbers need to grow and Bautista’s organization found that low-to-moderate-income communities face difficulties accessing funds from city programs meant to help homes and buildings upgrade.

“Disinvestment has been more the traditional pattern in our history,” Bautista said. “So, it was clear that the city of New York had to step up and provide the kind of resources and support that building owners are going to need.”

So far, “they’ve only retrofitted or helped underwrite something like 5-thousand buildings.”

The city has a long way to go, but as a major developer with financial resources, Schwartz said his company is taking a proactive approach as part of its mission to make communities better.

“Taconic is probably going one step ahead and thinking about, not just the next fifty years, the next hundred years. What does the next Hurricane Sandy look like? What does the next blackout look like,” said Schwartz.

Tenants like Nesmith say the attention to the infrastructure improvements show.

“The heat is better. The water is cleaner,” said Nesmith.

Essex Crossing – ULI Global Awards for Excellence Winner

The Artisan, 180 Broome Street

Location: New York City, New York, USA
Developers: BFC Partners; Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group; L+M Development Partners; New York City Economic Development Corporation; New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development; Prusik Group; Taconic Partners
Designers: Beyer Blinder Belle; CetraRuddy; Dattner Architects; DXA Studio; Future Green Studio; Handel Architects; Kokobo Greenscapes; SHoP Architects; SLCE Architects; Studios Architecture; West 8
Site Size: 6 Acres (2.4 ha)

Taconic Partners launches life sciences subsidiary


By: Leonard A. Robinson – Staff Reporter, New York Business Journal Jun 21, 2022

Taconic Partners has launched Elevate Research Properties, a life sciences subsidiary designed to manage the developer’s growing life sciences portfolio.

“We are excited to announce this new platform which will leverage the scale and quality of our existing life sciences portfolio with an experienced team that knows and understands the needs of research tenants,” Taconic’s co-CEO Paul Pariser said.

Matthew Weir will serve as Elevate Research’s president in addition to his current role as Taconic’s executive vice president.

Matthew Malone was recently hired as Elevate Research’s senior vice president. Malone was previously a principal at Perkins & Will, an architecture firm, where he led laboratory planning and design efforts.

“Taconic Partners recognizes the enormous opportunity that comes from our city’s growing life sciences sector,” Malone told the New York Business Journal. “I’m excited to be able to begin interfacing with these brilliant research scientists to discover how we can best serve them and allow them to utilize our buildings.”

Elevate Research Properties currently has more than one million square feet of real estate worth nearly $2 billion, Taconic Partners says.

Elevate currently has two active lab development on the west side of Manhattan. The Hudson Research Center, a 320,000-square-foot building, currently boasts numerous research tenants, including New York Stem Cell Foundation, Hibercell, c16 Biosciences and Renselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Elevate’s 400,000-square-foot project at 125 West End Avenue with a $600 million price tag is currently under development and expected to be open by the second quarter of 2023.

Plans for 309 E. 94th St., a 200,000-square-foot Class A-research lab project are expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks. Demolition and construction of the $325 million project is slated to commence later this year.

Pilot program gives students in public housing a primer in real estate industry

Click here for link to video:



He may seem quiet at first, but Mohamed Adula has big ambitions.

“I always thought about being a landlord, like owning properties and renting them out to people.  That’s kind of like how I first learned about real estate, from YouTube,” said Adula, 17.

Going on a tour of the Essex Crossing development on the Lower East Side is a step up from social media, and an up-close look at the real estate industry.  The high school junior is part of a program teaching high school students who live in public housing how to see sites like Essex Crossing and the Market Line through the eyes of a developer.

What You Need To Know
-A pilot program is teaching some high school students who live in public housing to see the city like a real estate developer
-The program aims to inform and inspire young people as to how to create wealth and to create investments that work for their neighborhoods
-It’s an eight-week program hosted by NYU’s School of Professional Studies, Taconic Partners and the Fund for Public Housing

“There’s so much more than just having property and selling it to somebody” said Adula, a resident of the St. Nicholas Houses in Harlem.

It’s an eight-week pilot program between NYU’s School of Professional Studies, Taconic Partners and the Fund for Public Housing.

“This is exposure to how to create wealth, how to invest in real estate, but how to create investments that are good for your neighborhood,” said Brian Schwagerl, a real estate professor.

The goal is to increase diversity in the industry, which remains overwhelmingly white and male. Ben Baccash, Taconic’s vice president of development, says it’s hard for kids to aspire to a field without knowing what’s possible.

“There’s a million different job paths in it, and every part of it is really important, from folks that work on the operational side of the business, managing buildings, to those that are involved in designing buildings,” said Baccash.

Adula’s eyes are opened.

“It just shows us that there are different kinds of work rather than your typical 9-5 job,” said Adula, who’s getting an important glimpse into the business and hoping it will have a lasting impact for him and his family.

“If things go right, I might be the first one to do something big,” said Adula. “I think that if I keep going hard, then I can be on top.”

Taconic Makes Industrial Market Debut With Nuveen in $55M All-Cash Deal in New Jersey

By: Cathy Cunningham December 23, 2021

The new year is fast approaching, but it’s never too late for firsts.

Taconic Partners and Nuveen Real Estate just acquired 1 Cory Road, a warehouse and distribution facility in Morristown, N.J., Commercial Observer can first report. 

The joint venture paid $55 million for the 296,000-square-foot asset, and the transaction marks Taconic’s first foray into the industrial sector.

“Taconic is very pleased to have made its first industrial investment, which provides our portfolio with risk, product type and geographic diversification,” Chris Balestra, president and CIO of Taconic Partners, said. 

Located less than a mile from downtown Morristown, the property encompasses a 17.9-acre site and includes a 6.5-acre parking area plus a rooftop solar system. The asset was built in 1986 and today is 100 percent leased to a mix of third-party logistics companies.  

“We have been canvassing the MSA for the last couple years —  but really in earnest over the last 12 months or so — looking for an industrial deal,” Balestra told CO.  “So, when this opportunity was put onto our radar, we jumped on it.” 

A Cushman & Wakefield team arranged the sale. 

Long-time partners Nuveen and Taconic have invested more than $1.5 billion across over 2 million square feet in the New York area. Earlier this month, the partnership joined forces to acquire the office building at 309 East 94th Street for $70 million and, in July, closed a $260 million fundraising round for its jointly-sponsored value-add fund, New York City Property Fund II. This new industrial deal brings diversification to that fund, which has more than $1 billion in buying power. 

“The vehicle will have several heavy, large development deals in it, so when we were looking at portfolio construction, we thought it would be a good idea to bring in something a little less risky, with cash flow out of the gate, to diversify the portfolio,” Balestra said. “We’re happy to be able to bring in a new asset class, and a new geography, for that diversification.” 

Not that it was easy, with competition for industrial deals hotter than ever. “We chased many deals in 2021 in the industrial space — and in New Jersey — where we weren’t the winner, so it’s great to pick one up,” Balestra said.  “I think one differentiating factor was that we were able to close in all cash, and before the end of the year.” 

Nadir Settles, ​​managing director and New York regional head at Nuveen, agreed the partnership’s quick execution in cash was key, “but I also think it was our breadth and depth of experience,” he said. “The Cushman & Wakefield team has a long relationship with us on a domestic basis and the fact you had these combined sponsors coming together and closing in cash gave the seller great certainty. I think that gave us a big competitive advantage versus us being some other institutional buyer that’s not deep in the space.” 

Nuveen has amassed a significant industrial portfolio over the years, managing institutional-quality industrial and logistic assets in major distribution markets across the U.S. as well as Europe. 

Settles described the industrial sector as having “strong tailwinds” and said the 1 Cory Road deal represented a great diversification play in terms of the Nuveen-Taconic partnership. “This is Taconic’s first industrial foray but it’s not ours; we have deep experience, so that’s why we were very comfortable moving forward with it. This transaction was a diversification in terms of the opportunities that we normally look at together, which is life sciences and high-end development or repositioning of offices. Then, we predominantly buy in New York City, so this is also a diversification to that. The diversification is multifaceted — and it’s diversification to the positive.” 

While 1 Cory Road may be Taconic and Nuveen’s first industrial deal together, it won’t be the last. 

“I can certainly see us deepening our concentration as more deals become available,” Settles said, while Balestra added: “We will continue to look for additional industrial deals. It’s an asset class that we think has a lot of runway, and is only going to expand in the future.” 

Luxury Developers Ramp Up Virtual Offerings for Stir-Crazy Renters

With amenity spaces off limits, lifestyle directors and amenity-service companies are planning virtual classes, workshops and online meet-and-greets to fill the void amid coronavirus

A Date Night dinner demo was in full swing one recent Friday at 525 West 52nd Street, a luxury rental building in Manhattan.

Peter Sheehan, resident experience manager for the 392-unit complex, where rents range from $3,500 to $9,000, greeted residents as they arrived. Then he introduced the head chef from a boutique cooking school who would be teaching them how to prepare handmade ravioli with brown butter and sage.

“We’re just trying to get people engaged and connected, and hopefully doing some good cooking,” said Mr. Sheehan, a 36-year-old former hotelier. “I’ve got my dough wrapped up and my wine is flowing.”

But unlike the many events Mr. Sheehan hosted in the building in the pre-Covid-19 past—whiskey tastings, poker nights, concerts by subway musicians—this Date Night was virtual. The chef, 35 residents and Mr. Sheehan were each in their own kitchens connecting via Zoom, the videoconferencing service.

With the novel coronavirus and strict social-distancing mandates confining New York City residents to their apartments, Mr. Sheehan’s job—keeping his residents connected through a steady diet of events, activities and treats—has gotten a lot more challenging. When they are not planning virtual events, social directors like Mr. Sheehan have become a lifeline for stir-crazy renters, offering tips on which local stores have fresh fruit and short lines, and hooking up online activities for children.

“It helps them navigate trickier times, understanding that there are people here supporting them,” Mr. Sheehan said of the renters.

That Friday morning, he had set out white bags of neatly packaged ingredients in the lobby, tagged with the apartment numbers of residents who nabbed, free of charge, the 35 spots in the limited workshop. Before the lesson began, he checked in with Ken Connors, head chef of City Cooking West End, to make sure the chef’s webcams had good angles on his butcher block and stove.

Even before the pandemic, New York City’s luxury rental buildings had been going beyond fitness centers and plush lounges to offer ambitious lifestyle programs: monthly mixers, book clubs, baby boogie classes, and jaunts to museums and galleries.

For a developer with a high-price building to lease out, it was no longer enough to have a rooftop terrace, you had to have a stargazing party on that terrace with a guest astronomer and catered s’mores.

Although many developers work with amenity-service companies, others have installed in-house lifestyle directors like Mr. Sheehan—a hip reboot of Julie the cruise director from “The Love Boat,” with a bro beard.   

“Peter has been the friendly face of the building, checking in just to say, ‘Hi’ or ‘Here’s something for the kids,’ or a [virtual] exercise class, or ‘If you’re feeling alone, here is counseling they’re offering [through a Zoom workshop],’ ” said Dean Loxton, 45, a filmmaker. He lives at 525 West 52nd Street with his husband and 18-month-old daughter, Maya, in a two-bedroom apartment they rent for $8,200 a month.

Although he has his own office in the building, Mr. Sheehan is employed by LIVunLtd, an “amenity space-management and activation” company that provides a range of services to about 200 residential buildings in New York City and New Jersey—64 of which have dedicated on-site coordinators.

Thea Wittich, left, co-founder of Axiom Amenities, with amenities associate Yamilex Chavez at 50 West, a Manhattan luxury rental building.

Since the pandemic hit, LIVunLtd has developed a roster of a la carte virtual events: live-streamed yoga and Pilates classes, workshops on perfume-blending and truffle-making, and online meet-and-greets with actors from shuttered Broadway shows such as “Wicked” and “Hamilton.”

Before the pandemic, 525 West 52nd Street’s developer, Taconic Partners, was spending $50,000 to $100,000 a year on amenities programming, according to Vice President Andrew Schwartz.

Residents of the building, which opened in 2017, get access to its club programs for a monthly fee of $85, since suspended. The building’s library, fitness center, golf simulator lounge and other amenity spaces have all closed, but Mr. Sheehan is still coming in several days a week.

In mid-March, Waterline Square, a three-tower complex on Manhattan’s Upper West Side with 916 rental apartments priced from $5,230 to $35,000, was days away from opening its Waterline Club: a 100,000-square-foot amenity space with an indoor tennis court, 30-foot rock-climbing wall, bowling alley and recording studio.

“We had a robust calendar of activities, with more than 25 events planned,” said Kelly Sullivan, lifestyle director for Waterline Square, which opened last September.

Kelly Sullivan, lifestyle director for Waterline Square, creates activities for residents of the luxury complex that target various age groups.

When the pandemic shut that down, Ms. Sullivan shifted gears. “We want to give people that sense of community they’re not getting,” she said.

She asked Waterline Club fitness instructors to begin streaming their classes live on the complex’s Instagram feed, clad in club-branded baseball caps and T-shirts. (She has since provided microphones and tripods to improve sound quality.)

Weekly online events targeted different ages. Children were invited to a Zoom puppet show; adults got a Cinco de Mayo mixology class and a virtual comedy night with local talent.

Brian Feinstein, 47, a composer who was in the midst of adapting the “The Bad News Bears” for Broadway when the pandemic hit, lives in a one-bedroom apartment at Waterline Square. He participated in the comedy night and a Zoom workshop on stress-reduction led by a psychology professor.

Ms. Sullivan boxes Champagne and flutes as gifts for new residents.

“He spoke about meditation and how those of us who are carb-loading can be more mindful with food,” said Mr. Feinstein, who got his one-bedroom, ordinarily listed for about $8,250, at a reduced rate through the city’s affordable-housing lottery. “To have these events and be able to see them on the calendar is great. It gives a sense of structure.”

Other lifestyle directors are going beyond virtual events to provide some hands-on support for their residents.

“If we know they have a birthday coming up, we’ve been decorating residents’ doors with streamers and balloons,” said Thea Wittich, co-founder with her husband, Michael Wittich, 40, of Axiom Amenities. They oversee the amenities program at 50 West, a 186-unit tower in Manhattan’s Financial District.

“We’re doing one for a resident who is graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, in her school colors,” she said of the decorated doors.

Before the pandemic, Ms. Wittich, a 33-year-old former personal trainer, hosted three to five free events a month for 50 West residents, who pay between $6,200 and $65,000 a month for rental units (the building is roughly split between rentals and condos).

The building has a full-floor fitness center and an entertainment floor with its own theater, both of which are now closed. But its team of three full-time amenity staffers have remained on site throughout the pandemic.

From Mackenzie Gleason, head bartender at The Wayland, for a mixology class at 525 West 52nd Street:

1½ tablespoons lime juice
½ tablespoon fresh ginger juice (add more for a nice kick)
2 oz. vodka
½ oz. club soda
Combine all ingredients in a shaker, except for the club soda. Give a quick shake with a few ice cubes.

Strain the cocktail into an iced glass and add club soda.

Garnish with a lime wedge and candied ginger.

For more fizz, add another half-ounce of club soda, and ½ oz. less vodka.

“There is this vision that you lay off your amenity people in a pandemic, but they have responded to this in a very strong way,” said Seth Coston, director of residential operations for Time Equities, the developer of 50 West.

Along with setting up a Zoom schedule of boot camp and yoga classes, the couple put together home-fitness kits with yoga mats, rollers and bands, and then delivered them, free of charge, to any resident who wanted one.

They also started a weekly program for children, dropping off craft kits and snack packs outside residents’ doors. “We do educational packets with STEM activities. They can build things with Popsicle sticks. We try to make it time-consuming,” Ms. Wittich said, adding that a recent papier-mâché craft didn’t get many takers: “No one was up for that mess in their house.”

She also puts out a daily newsletter with recipes and brain-teasers.

“Whoever answered the most questions correctly won a salmon meal kit and we won. My husband and I are kind of geeky, so we’re looking forward to the next one,” said Stephanie Sun, 36, an e-commerce manager for Walmart who lives with her husband and 3-year-old daughter in a two-bedroom apartment they bought in 2017, for a price she didn’t disclose. Comparable rental apartments at 50 West cost about $13,000 a month.

Thea and Michael Wittich themselves live in a building with no amenities three blocks from a city hospital.

“We are very fortunate. A lot of people are very sick,” Ms. Wittich said. “It has been wonderful for us to take [our] creativity and fine-tune it so people don’t feel alone.”

What does it take to be the lifestyle director for a high-price luxury building in New York City?

“You need a unicorn for this job,” said Michael Fazio, co-founder and chief creative officer of LIVunLtd. “You’re a host, you’re a curator, you’re a customer service manager, you’re a counselor.”

Mr. Fazio, once a concierge at Manhattan’s Intercontinental Barclay Hotel, said that though a hospitality background is a plus, he rarely recruits people from the hotel industry. Instead, his team scouts out potential lifestyle directors from the Actors’ Equity Association, design schools such as Parsons and Fashion Institute of Technology, and even while shopping or dining out. “When I go to a nice store or a restaurant and there’s someone who just has the DNA, I tell them about what we do,” Mr. Fazio said.

A two-week basic training follows, in which the raw recruit learns everything from how to deal with a broken treadmill and a no-show caterer to how to greet residents at the monthly mixer. “We don’t ask, ‘Are you unmarried?’ ” said Mr. Fazio.. He shared a few of his golden rules for lifestyle directors:

• Be friendly, but not a best friend. “We have to be very careful,” he said. “People have invited my staff to dinner parties and to their weekend homes in the Hamptons. We can’t do that.” When fielding a tricky invitation, he advises lifestyle directors to say, “I would love to, but it’s company policy that I can only be here working.”

• Beware the man bun. “Even though it’s very fashionable for men to have facial hair, there are certain resident populations where it might not depict the mood,” Mr. Fazio said. “But if it’s a trendy Brooklyn building with a lot of creatives, there’s no problem if you have an armful of tattoos and a big beard and a ponytail.”

• Be a team player. “Never commiserate with residents about problems in the building. It could be the absolute worst, nearly negligent property manager, but you never say, ‘Yeah, I know, he’s such a moron.’ Instead, it’s ‘I’m so sorry you feel that way, let me report that.’ ”

• No drinking on the job. “We’re not the guests, we’re the party-starter. Even if we’re raising a glass with the residents, we need to stay focused and remember all the golden rules, which could slip our mind.”