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This briefing paper was published after the Newman Institute's conference on Better Building, which was held at the Harvard Club in November 2013. The paper reflects topics of discussion from the event, including an introduction and overview of the subject matter; technological innovations and constructibility; best practices in construction management; better cooperation among stakeholders; current challenges facing the development sector and its partners; building better in New York through resiliency and sustainability; and recommendations and key takeaways for future action.
This paper reflects the topics of discussion from the Newman Institute's major conference on New York's Next Urban Agenda, which was held in October 2013. It includes a look at trends that are transforming New York City; a discussion about setting priorities for the next wave of development; assessment of future challenges; the role of the high-tech sector and other local growth industries; approaches to mitigating and accommodating the impacts of climate change; and ideas about political action that will place the city on a prosperous, intelligent, and sustainable course.
The aim of this white paper is to share the experience of the Australian commercial real estate community in developing new approaches to address the business risks associated with climate change. By sharing experiences, wider dialogue will be encouraged on the actions that property owners can take to minimize climate-related risks and to maximize opportunities.
To develop a comprehensive organizational change leadership program, internal individuals and groups that can influence energy efficiency outcomes, both technically and in terms of financial decisions, need to be identified and engaged in the process. One simple but important tool that practitioners have used to do this is a stakeholder analysis. This involves identifying who the key stakeholders are within the organization and the way that they can influence energy efficiency outcomes.
The inaugural version of this paper, published one year ago, observed a shift in ownership of New York office buildings from families to public real estate investment trusts (REITs). Market observers now see this trend accelerated by the possible initial public offering (IPO) of Empire State Realty Trust (ESB), a new REIT controlled by the Malkin and Wien families along with the Helmsley estate. This shift is driven by several factors which include estate taxes, division of assets among multiple heirs, and rules limiting the duration of estates.
Asset management is a well-established concept in infrastructure, utilities, and heavy industry. Asset management activities in these sectors have produced a sound set of business processes and procedures, educational programs, products, and services that can be translated to the commercial real estate sector. The development of a broad international standard will further enhance the tools and services available to all sectors. Furthermore, the ISO management systems approach provides a solid foundation for asset management, whether or not an organization decides to register under an ISO Standard. Accordingly, asset management is a permanent organizational function, which requires a life-cycle view of physical assets as well as a strategic perspective. Because most of an organization's energy use and environmental impacts flow through its physical assets, asset management also provides an ideal framework for addressing these issues, along with increasingly important security concerns.
The high level question is: how can physical assets be best used to meet organizational objectives? The answer requires a fresh look at what the organization owns, why it was acquired, what condition it is in, where it is located and what opportunities it provides or risks it entails. This process will uncover synergies among assets and among actions on these assets. It will also provide an additional method of measuring organizational performance through asset performance. This new view is well supported by advances in the breadth, depth and quality of asset data available and in the tools for data management, analysis and decision-making. It is also supported by advances in business process, control and automation, which allow for efficient implementation of asset management decisions.
As a suite of process tools, Building Information Modeling (BIM) creates a new level of transparency for project stakeholders. It enables waste reduction and improves profitability. It allows valuable project information to adhere to project objectives and creates a reporting mechanism for those who need project information. Benefits include a planning basis for planners, a go/no-go platform-assessment system for decision makers and a single collection point for all data that a project generates. Energy use, LEED compliance, facilities management, project personnel and numerous other goals can be managed effectively through an intelligent application of BIM. With a comprehensive Facilities Management (FM) package, one can quickly access project information that once required hours of searching through records. If FM involvement occurs early in a project, and its interests are coupled with the best tools on the market, BIM can play an indispensable role in improving the FM process and maximizing a project’s lifetime value.
The purpose of this white paper is to promote the continued consideration of the upper tier as a value-added attribute of New York City real estate. The High Line, which runs from Gansevoort Street at the south end near 12th Street to 30th Street at the north, will run north to 34th Street when its third and final phase is opened to the public. An upper tier offers notable features that give it a unique identity including: separation from traffic, aesthetics, security, accessibility and services integration. This white paper, in conjunction with the lessons learned from the upper tier, can encourage new urban design considerations in New York City and perhaps provide valuable inspirations for cities and towns worldwide.
Real estate is typically a privately-owned asset, making it difficult or impossible to obtain detailed information about a property’s occupancy, rents, and operating income. However, nearly 20% of Manhattan’s Class A office space is controlled by four REITs that are required to publicly disclose this information. Presented in this unique research whitepaper is an in-depth look at these REIT-controlled holdings, including estimated valuations and recent transactions. Additionally, the REIT performance is contrasted with that of the overall Manhattan office market for a comparative analysis.
As real estate prices adjust to new market conditions, including lower rents and occupancy, the commercial mortgage market is impacted by stricter underwriting standards and limited financing. When a New York office building's mortgage was sold to an investor, it shortened the life of the Commercial Mortgage Backed Security (CMBS) bond, reducing the bond’s value. In addition, foreclosed real estate also generates significant prepayment risk to bond investors. Real estate investors, bond portfolio managers, and those interested in understanding securitized financing will all benefit by reading this paper.
The zoning approval process for the Tower Verre, the latest addition of a building on the Museum of Modern Art’s complex, took place in 2009. The museum, along with the internationally renowned architect, Jean Nouvel, and the project’s developer, Hines Interests, requested project approval for the tower. The West 54-55 Street Block Association, representing residents in the West Fifties between Fifth Avenue and the Avenue of the Americas, sought a height reduction in the 1250-foot planned building. In response, Nouvel asked, "Why is Manhattan, of all places, afraid of heights?"
The Banking on the Future conference served as a platform to bring together notable experts and thought leaders to broadly examine concepts related to national, regional and state infrastructure banks. This report summarizes conference proceedings, reviews selected infrastructure bank and finance models that have already been implemented in areas around the world, and sets forth several solution-oriented recommendations to help continue the conversation on rebuilding and expanding infrastructure in New York City, New York State and the United States.
Brooklyn has evolved like many older industrialized areas within and outside of New York City. To prepare for the future, it needs to continue to evaluate the deployment of its infrastructure and existing land use in an effort to understand if it is prepared to support current and future development. The area definitely has components of its economic capacity and urban design that are significantly underutilized, as well as regions with high levels of congestion, activity and growth. Some existing levels of activity are linked to actual competitive advantages, such as location, weather or access to labor. The state of the waterfront in Brooklyn has much to teach us about the structural transformations that occur in modern urban regions.