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Hotels, investment transform stretch of Broadway

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Meet Manhattan’s new commercial-boom corridor: Broadway from East 26th Street to West 34th. The increasingly vibrant stretch spans four micro-markets typically regarded as distinct: Nomad, Koreatown, Greeley Square and Herald Square.

But there’s growing continuity thanks to new development and investment. Even as the pandemic remains a force, glamorous new hotels are ready to open; office buildings have been repositioned and “re-imagined”; and rents are holding up in a tough market.

Even the long-shabby retail scene is on the upswing as shops like wine merchant Vin Sur Vingt and hip eateries like The Smith replace discount jewelry and electronics merchants.

Marcus & Millichap investment-sale broker Eric Anton mused, “Could Herald Square be the new Bryant Park?”

Anton is marketing the leasehold recapitalization of the bankrupt, 120-year-old Martinique hotel at 1260 Broadway at West 32nd Street. The 531-key landmark, currently closed, includes 13,000 square feet of retail. It just completed a six-year, $40 million renovation/restoration.

Sources said the leasehold’s remaining 68 years could fetch in the $70 million-$75 million range. Anton said the current owners would prefer a joint-venture arrangement. He said two JV offers have already come in, with both bidders hoping to reopen the Martinique as a Hilton Curio-flagged inn to guests later this year.

Anton is also marketing a 99-year leasehold at 1270 Broadway, a prewar office building facing Greeley Park and next door to the Martinique. Both offerings, he said, reflect a wish by longtime family owners to exploit the area’s rising fortunes. He said office building sale offerings on Broadway are asking $500 to $700 per square foot.

The rental scene south of Herald Square has held up reasonably well in today’s weakened markets. Overall asking rents including sublease space averaged $75 per square foot in the fourth quarter and vacancies 11.4 percent, according to CBRE. The latter marked a large jump over 6 percent in 2019 but compared favorably with a current overall Manhattan vacancy rate of 15 percent.

Typifying the optimistic spirit is Global Holdings Management Group’s recent $50 million redesign of 1250 Broadway. To orient the office tower to increasingly chic Nomad, they moved the entrance from the bustling, restaurant-packed block of West 32nd to West 31st Street.

But Anton believes that the Korean-food concentration is an asset. “During the worst winter in the city’s history, 32nd Street had more outdoor seats than anywhere else,” Anton said.

Ritz-Carlton in foreground and Virgin Hotel in background.
Ritz-Carlton in foreground and Virgin Hotel in background.
Steve Cuozzo

The corridor which Anton says was once known as the “perfume and socks district” is “blossoming rapidly,” agreed CBRE’s Paul Amrich, vice chairman of his firm’s New York City Advisory & Transaction Services Group. He credited the trend to excellent subway service and to the spirits-lifting effect of new hotels that will soon include a Ritz-Carlton and a huge Virgin Hotel in the West 20s.

His team is marketing 150,000 square feet of offices at 1245 Broadway, a nearly finished new building at Broadway and West 31st Street. It scored a retail coup with a lease for a “plant-based” restaurant from star chef Matthew Kenney to open in 2022.

It’s a far cry from greasy sausages that are still sold on some sidewalks — and a taste of things to come.


Union Square’s image as a vibrant, multi-use neighborhood took an unfair hit when a few popular restaurants facing the park closed last year.

To counteract the negative impression, a report just out from the Union Square Partnership found the district seething anew with commercial energy.

Thirty-three stores and restaurants have either opened or announced plans to open since January 2020. Target will open at 10 Union Square East in 2023. This year will see the arrival of a giant UrbanSpace food hall at the new, mixed-use project known as Zero Irving at 124 E. 14th St. Also coming are Café Salmagundi, Gorin Ramen, Concepts International footwear and Happy Socks.

Partnership Executive Director Jennifer Falk cited the area’s strength as a true “15-minute neighborhood” with a “wealth of amenities and resources within walking distance or a short bike ride.”

The Partnership said the influx “underscores the resiliency of the district,” which is home to businesses of all types, the Union Square Greenmarket, the New School, 73,000 residents and beloved retailers such as the Strand bookstore.

One million square feet of development and redevelopment, reflecting $850 million in investment, are also recharging the batteries. The onetime Tammany Hall building at 44 Union Square had a dramatic restoration and expansion including a multi-story glass dome, for commercial use. A hotel is due at 16 E. 16th St. Two boutique condo buildings are rising at Sixth Avenue and West 14th Street.


So, everybody’s heading for Miami, right? Well, a hugely popular Miami men’s hair salon is coming to New York.

The Spot Barbershop will soon launch its first expansion outside Florida at 332 Bowery between East Second and Third streets. Newmark’s JD Cohen and Michael Paster repped the tenant while the firm’s Brandon Eisenman and Andrew Connolly acted for the landlord.

The lease is for 4,600 square feet. “We started looking for space back in November during the height of COVID-19, as they were very bullish on expanding to the New York City market,” said Cohen.

Spot offers haircuts and grooming for men at three Miami locations among 18 in South Florida.

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Tesla more than doubles Q1 sales, delivers 185,000 vehicles

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Tesla says it delivered nearly 185,000 electric vehicles in the first quarter despite a shortage of computer chips that has hit the global auto industry.

The number was more than double the deliveries for the same period last year. And it beat Wall Street estimates of 168,000 for January through March. The company says in a statement that the Model Y small SUV in China has been well received.

Tesla lists no production figures for its older models, the S sedan and X SUV, during the quarter, but it delivered just over 2,000 of them. It says new equipment has been installed at the Fremont, California, factory and production of new versions is in the early stages.

The strong sales are a sign that demand for the company’s relatively expensive vehicles remains strong despite the pandemic. Analysts polled by data provider FactSet estimate that the average selling price of a Tesla is $49,100.

Shares of Tesla are down more than 9 percent so far this year as some of the shine wore off electric vehicle and tech stocks, which had experienced a big runup last year. The stock closed Thursday down just under 1 percent at $661.75. Markets are closed for the Good Friday holiday.

Tesla Model 3s (seen here) and its Model Y accounted for nearly all of Tesla's first-quarter sales.
Tesla Model 3s (seen here) and its Model Y accounted for nearly all of Tesla’s first-quarter sales.
Xinhua News Agency via Getty Images

Tesla sold just under 500,000 vehicles last year, barely missing a target set by CEO Elon Musk. The company hasn’t given much guidance for this year’s sales figures.

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives called the first-quarter numbers a “jaw dropper,” and a huge home run in the eyes of bullish investors. “We believe China and Europe were particularly robust this quarter as the trajectory now puts Musk & Co. to exceed 850k for the year which is well ahead of whisper expectations,” he wrote Friday.

The Model 3 small car and the Model Y accounted for nearly all of the Palo Alto, California, company’s first-quarter sales. Tesla said it sold 182,780 of both models combined.

Ives wrote that analysts expected more than 12,000 sales of Models S and X, with the miss driven by the chip shortage.

The strong sales came even though the company shut down much of its Fremont production for several weeks in late February and early March. It did not say why, but it’s likely that the company ran short of computer chips.

President Joe Biden’s announcement this week of $174 billion in spending on electric vehicle incentives and charging stations, and rising global demand for electric vehicles should shift sentiment toward Tesla stock, Ives wrote.

“It’s been a brutal sell-off for Tesla and EVs, but we believe that will now be in the rearview mirror,” he wrote.

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55 firms paid no federal income tax last year, report finds

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Dozens of America’s biggest companies paid no federal income taxes last year thanks to a range of tax breaks — including some brand-new ones, a new report says.

The 55 corporations avoided a total of $8.5 billion in taxes on more than $40 billion in pre-tax profits in their most recent fiscal year, according to the Friday report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

In fact, 52 of those firms — including household names such as Nike, FedEx and Dish Network — ended up pocketing federal tax rebates worth a collective $3.5 billion, the left-leaning think tank’s analysis found.

And 26 of them haven’t paid a penny in federal income tax in the three years since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reform bill was signed into law in 2017, the report says. That group includes shipping giant FedEx and power company Duke Energy, which reported nearly $15 billion in pre-tax income for those three years, according to the findings.

Nike sneakers
Nike is among dozens of major corporations reported to be paying little to no federal income taxes.
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“Duke Energy fully complies with federal and state tax laws as part of our efforts to make investments that will benefit our customers and communities,” company spokesperson Catherine Butler said, adding that Duke paid more than $2 billion in annual state and local taxes in 2020.

Major companies have used loopholes in federal tax law to help their bottom line for decades, the think tank’s researchers note. But they got a fresh boon from the CARES Act, the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill that aimed to help businesses weather the COVID-19 pandemic.

Big firms were able to take advantage of a provision in the bill to use losses they racked up in 2018 or 2019 to offset profits from previous years, which slashed some of their 2020 tax bills to less than zero, according to the report. That measure accounted for at least $500 million of the 55 giants’ tax breaks, the report says.

FedEx stood by the CARES Act tax breaks, saying the law helped it and other companies “navigate a rapidly changing economy and marketplace while continuing to invest in capital, hire team members, and fund employee pension plans.”

FedEx truck
FedEx is said to be among major firms pocketing federal tax rebates while avoiding federal income taxes.
Alamy Stock Photo

But many companies also used more established methods for giving themselves tax discounts.

Those include write-offs for paying executives in stock, which were used by more than a dozen companies, while at least half a dozen took federal research and experimentation credits, the report says.

The list included some companies hit hard by the pandemic, including crafts retailer Michaels, as well as companies that thrived despite the lockdowns, like Salesforce.com, the cloud computing company that announced record 2020 earnings in February.

Salesforce logo
Salesforce is reported to be among thriving firms able to take advantage of numerous write-offs.
Getty Images

By reining in tax breaks like those, “or by re-introducing some form of a ‘minimum tax’ requiring profitable companies to pay at least some tax in any profitable year, Congress and President Biden could take a major step toward a fairer and more sustainable tax system,” authors Matthew Gardner and Steve Wamhoff wrote in the report.

Salesforce, Michaels, Nike and Dish Network did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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China admonishes H&M over ‘problematic’ map on website

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Swedish retailer H&M continues to clash with Beijing, this time over how it has portrayed the region geographically.

Chinese officials admonished H&M Friday over a “problematic” map on the company’s website in the latest sign of escalating tensions after the Swedish retailer criticized China’s controversial cotton-picking region.

Shanghai government regulators summoned H&M managers to a meeting after internet users complained about the map, officials said on social media.

Chinese officials did not provide any detail about the alleged offense, which they said H&M managers quickly corrected.

But H&M got in trouble with China in 2018 for listing Taiwan as a country on the Taiwanese version of its website. China claims the democratic island country is part of its territory.

H&M was told to “bolster its awareness of the national territory, and really ensure the standardized use of the Chinese map,” the Cyberspace Administration of China’s Shanghai arm said in a post on the WeChat social network, according to The Wall Street Journal.

H&M did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

The map flap is just the latest headache H&M has faced in China, the fast-fashion retailer’s top clothing supplier and its fourth-largest market by sales.

The company was hit with boycott threats last week and had its products pulled from Chinese e-commerce platforms over a statement it made last year saying it does not source cotton from the Xinjiang region, where Beijing has been accused of forced labor practices against Uyghur Muslims.

H&M tried to tamp down the backlash Wednesday with a new statement saying it’s “dedicated to regaining the trust and confidence” of its customers, colleagues and business partners in China, where its store locations were reportedly scrubbed from digital maps last week.

The company said it wants to be “a responsible buyer, in China and elsewhere,” but did not mention Xinjiang specifically.

With Post wires

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