This is our end-of-the-month recap of recent NYC news you might have missed during the last few weeks. Top of our list is this month is hotel news, park news, and news about NYC landmarks buildings. Why is it always about real estate?
Oh sheikh! Qatar buys 10% of the Empire State Building. An affiliate of the Qatar Investment Authority is buying a 9.9% stake in Empire State Realty Trust, the company that owns the Empire State Building, for $622 million. It’s not the only big and/or important building NYC that the Qataris have bought into. Real Capital Analytics reports that Qatari backers have invested more than $5 billion in Manhattan real estate in the last two years. [The Wall Street Journal]
It’s lights out for the world-famous Waldorf-Astoria, which is being converted into luxury condos by its new Chinese owners. Okay, not the entire hotel. Just most of it. Crain’s reports the new owners will convert around 1,000 of the hotel’s 1,443 rooms and suites into luxury condos. The last check-out is March one. China-based Anyang paid $1.95 Billion in late 2014 for the iconic property.
It’s also lights out for the Out Hotel, the gay-themed hotel in Midtown. The NY Times reports it’s been sold, and the new owners will rebrand it as a mainstream boutique hotel. The new name, rates, and opening date have not been announced.
Trump fined again for illegal activities in Trump Tower. Real estate developer Donald Trump got approval to build his Fifth Avenue mixed-use shopping and residential Fifth Avenue building with more floors, in return for public space. The NYPost reports that for the second time this year, Trump has been fined for violating that agreement, replacing public space with a kiosk to sell Trump-branded merchandise.
Trump doubles the rent he pays himself for his campaign headquarters. Trump campaign headquarters in Trump Tower now pay double the rent they paid just a few months ago. Vanity Fair reports that candidate Trump paid himself $72,000 rent, but GOP nominee Trump pays himself just under $170,000 for campaign headquarters space in the Trump Tower.
The live lawn mowers are back in Prospect Park. The weed-munching goats did such a good job eating invasive greenery in the Rose Garden and Vale of Cashmere that they ate their way out of a job. But as any gardener knows, weeds have a way of growing back, so four of the six original goats are back for a second helping (the two others are staying in Rhinebeck, in the Hudson Valley). NY Curbed reports the Prospect Park quartet will continue eating their way through unwanted greenery until a revitalization of the neglected northwest corner of the park begins, funded in part by the National Park Service. You wan watch the goats do their thing during the day, at a fenced-in area near the Zucker Natural Exploration Area. They spend the night in a special sleeping pens.
Axing the the tax on “the curse”. Effective Sept. 1, 2016, there is no more New York State or New York City tax on personal hygiene products, including tampons, sanitary napkins, panty liners and similar products. It is one more step towards gender equality in taxation, since condoms are not taxed. Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal also has introduced legislation to make such personal hygiene products available FREE in schools, prisons, criminal detention center and family centers statewide. Email her at [email protected] to thank her.
If there is a NYC news headline you would like to see included in next month’s report, let us know. Email us at [email protected] with tips.