Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Two commercial real estate firms, the MTA, and inevitable Forest City Ratner ties

The 2/7/06 Brooklyn Eagle, in an article headlined MTA Names Real Estate Firm Advisors (registration required) reports:
Two real estate firms active in the Brooklyn commercial property market have been retained by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to assess the MTA’s real estate portfolio and create and execute a program to maximize the properties’ revenue potential. Massey Knakal Realty Services and CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) have been retained as part of the MTA’s efforts to generate additional revenue for essential capital improvements and operational needs. The portfolio is expected to include more than 14,000 properties. The selection of Massey Knakal and CBRE was made following a Request For Proposals process that began in 2004.

Could the MTA, in an effort to maximize its properties' revenue potential, consider reopening the bid for the Vanderbilt Yard? Remember, the agency accepted Forest City Ratner's $100 million offer for the site, a key part of the Atlantic Yards project, even though an appraiser said the land was worth $214.5 million and rival bidder Extell offered $150 million. MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow dismissed the agency's own appraiser as "some guy."

It's doubtful that the two real estate agencies would offer that advice. Both have business relationships with Forest City Ratner--probably inevitable with such a major developer--and one has a particularly close relationship.

Massey Knakal brokered a deal to sell a residential development site at 585 Dean Street "in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights" to Forest City Ratner as part of the Atlantic Yards project, according to the firm's newsletter.

Ratner, the Times, and CBRE

The business relationship with CB Richard Ellis, and especially CEO Mary Ann Tighe, is closer. CBRE is the exclusive leasing agent for the office portion of the proposed Ridge Hill Village development in Yonkers, NY.

Tighe served as agent for Forest City Ratner on leasing of the Bank of New York tower at Forest City Ratner’s Atlantic Terminal mall in Brooklyn. Also, representing the New York Times Company, Tighe, according to the firm web site, "arranged a network of joint ventures enabling the construction of a new 1.5 million square foot tower at 8th Avenue and 41st Street...The transaction included a joint venture between NYTC and developer Forest City Ratner (FCR), which becomes 2 condominium interests upon construction completion..."

As noted in Chapter 8 of my report, in a 1/22/04 profile of Bruce Ratner, the New York Times quoted praise of Ratner from Tighe but did not mention the real estate agent's connections to the Times or to Ratner. A 12/10/03 New York Sun profile noted: "After she helped pick Mr. Ratner [while working for the Times], she hopped over to his team, where she’s representing the company on the Times project, as well as some of its Brooklyn properties. Also, the Brooklyn Papers reported 8/21/04 that Tighe is a member of the investment group that Ratner assembled to buy the New Jersey Nets and move them to Brooklyn.

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