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New York City Region, Expansions and Contractions

Expansions and Openings

Google is signing on for another 75,000 square feet at Chelsea Market, the retail and office building where the tech firm already has nearly 320,000 square feet. The deal is the third expansion for the company, which took an additional 90,000 square feet at the property in the beginning of the year and then subsequently tacked on another 18,000 square feet. Google also took a huge lease at nearby 85 10th Avenue late in 2013, signing on for about 360,000 square feet of space there.

Facebook is expanding its office in midtown south by 60%. The mega social networking firm is adding 60,000 square feet to the office it leased at 770 Broadway less than a year ago. Last May, the company took 100,000 square feet in the building. The 60,000 square foot expansion was woven in that initial lease as an option that Facebook was initially expected to exercise after two years. Instead, the company is taking the addition after less than a year in another sign of how the midtown south market continues to see dramatic growth driven largely by the city’s booming technology and media sectors.

A Brooklyn-based studio will convert a defunct Staten Island prison into a sprawling film and TV production complex, which will become the country’s second largest outside of Hollywood.  Greenpoint’s Broadway Stages won a bid from the state to buy the former Arthur Kill Correctional Facility for $7 million and spend $20 million to build five sound stages with 100,000 square feet of studio space on the 69-acre site.  According to forecasts, the plan will generate 800 jobs over the next two years and as many as 1,500 jobs over the next five years.

ADP Technology Services Inc. will invest more than $11.5 million to locate its new ‘Innovation Lab’ in New York City.  The company plans to establish a 25,000 square-foot software development facility that will create 110 jobs, including the hiring of software developers and data scientists.  Additionally, in order to secure the support of the New York City Regional Economic Development Council, ADP agreed to participate in an internship and work experience program such as Pathways in Technology Early College High School, or an analogous program that is consistent with the company’s staffing and internship plans.

Dropbox, the San Francisco-based file sharing company that recently raised $350 million in financing, is expanding into New York City. It is opening an office in temporary space near New York University, and plans to have 25 employees there by the end of the year. The company, which has 200 million users, plans to use its New York office to grow its base of business customers, which currently number around 4 million. Dropbox announced the office's opening and said it would soon hold a recruiting event. The move follows the re-launch in November of Dropbox for Business, a streamlined version of a product first introduced about a year ago. The new version includes controls for separating business files from personal ones, and has helped accelerate growth among business customers.

The Greater Jamaica Development Corp. announced that it has reached a deal to sell BRP Companies a development site near Jamaica station in Queens where the buyer will build a $225 million residential tower with retail space in its base. BRP Companies will build a 400-unit rental apartment building with 80,000 square feet of retail space in its base at the corner of Sutphin Boulevard and Archer Avenue, just steps away from the train station. BRP Companies became interested in the parcel when it lost out on a nearby site on Sutphin Boulevard and 94th Avenue. There another development firm, Able Management, won the bid to build a 24-story hotel on land that is jointly owned by Greater Jamaica Development and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Greater Jamaica Development has reached deals for other development in the neighborhood. The developer Blumenfeld Development Group is planning to build a $50 million retail project and parking garage near the corner of Jamaica Avenue and 168th Street, about a mile from the train station.

IBM announced that it's investing over $1 billion to give its Watson supercomputer its own business division and a new home in the heart of New York City. The new business unit will be dedicated to the development and commercialization of the project, including giving it new headquarters in the heart of NYC. About $100 million will go toward investing in startup companies that are building apps to be run through Watson. Eventually the business, which started out as a team of 27 people, will employ about 2,000, including several hundred at the new headquarters, IBM said.

Marriott International is opening the tallest U.S. hotel building in New York as tourism in the city reaches a record. The 68-story tower at the corner of Broadway and 54th Street houses a 378-room Courtyard hotel and a 261-room Residence Inn. The dual-brand short-/long-term stay concept is a way to appeal to different audiences and budgets and will be operated under a franchise agreement between Marriott and New York-based builder Granite Broadway Development. The property will have a shared entrance and lobby on 54th Street for both its hotels.

New York University is crossing the bridge to Brooklyn. In January, the university opened the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering—its 14th school in total—in downtown Brooklyn. The school is the culmination of NYU's merger with Polytechnic University. The engineering school has the potential to transform south Brooklyn into a hub of tech innovation that can eventually rival other parts of New York City and California. New York University has already added space in the area and has been sharing some courses with Polytechnic since the merger was announced in 2008. Katepalli Sreenivasan, the president of Polytechnic, will be the dean of NYU's new engineering school.

The first of six New York City walk-in clinics run by Cure Urgent Care will open in May 2014 on Manhattan's Upper West Side. The urgent-care facility at 2689 Broadway will take up 4,460 square feet on the ground floor of a supportive-housing building run by the West Side Federation for Senior Supportive Housing. . Cure Urgent Care is looking to "expand heavily in the city,"  with at least five more clinics opening in the next 18 months. The partners are considering relatively dense neighborhoods where hospitals have recently closed, including Greenwich Village, TriBeCa and Battery Park City. The company has another clinic set to open in Huntington, L.I., in April.

Email advertising company LiveIntent says email's actually more powerful than ever as a marketing tool. The Manhattan-based company has just raised $20 million to continue the rapid expansion of its service, which utilizes ad-tech tools to turn email newsletters into advertising platforms capable of real-time consumer targeting. All told, the company has raised nearly $33 million since its founding in 2009. In an interview, LiveIntent CEO Matt Keiser said the investment would help the company continue a growth spurt that saw revenue triple in 2013. He expects to double the number of employees this year from 85 and to expand the company's new lower Manhattan headquarters to 45,000 square feet from its current 21,000.

Home goods seller Room & Board has signed on for 60,000 square feet at West 17th St., between Seventh and Eighth avenues. The Minneapolis-based company will continue to operate its New York showroom on Wooster Street in SoHo, but the Chelsea outpost will become its main flagship. The retailer plans to open this location in early 2014.

New Jersey-based Sax Macy Fromm & Co. and Albany's Bollam Sheedy Torani & Co. joined forces and relocate to New York City, creating the region's ninth-largest accounting firm. The combined firm will have 220 employees and 49 partners who generate about $40 million in billings. Current CEOs of the two firms will serve as co-managing partners after the deal formally closed Jan. 1.

CityMD, a New York City-based urgent care provider, is bucking the long-time medical practice of leasing space on buildings' upper floors in favor of unfurling its flag at ground floor retail locations as the company expands across Manhattan and into the outer boroughs. CityMD's ambition is to bridge the gap between hospital emergency rooms and primary-care doctors by providing extended hours and last-minute access to board-certified physicians within neighborhoods. The company has plans to add up to 15 locations over the next year in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, as well as in Westchester County.

In another win for Downtown Brooklyn's once-beleaguered Fulton Street Mall, department store Nordstrom will open an off-price store at 505 Fulton St. Scheduled to debut in spring 2014, the 41,000-square-foot Nordstrom Rack will be located on the second floor of the building that houses T.J. Maxx and H&M on the ground floor.

When Whole Foods debuts its long-awaited Brooklyn location in the Gowanus neighborhood this year, it will boast another first—a commercial-scale rooftop farm. The 20,000-square-foot greenhouse facility, operated by local grower Gotham Greens, will produce the Butterhead lettuce, tomatoes and herbs that consumers will find downstairs in the vegetable aisle. The Gowanus store is expected to open in late fall. If the model proves successful, it will be repeated at other locations.

Food Cellar, a natural-foods supermarket based in Long Island City, has inked a deal for 14,500 square feet on the ground floor and basement of Linc, located at at 43-10 Crescent St., in the neighborhood's Court Square section. The store will open in the summer of 2014.

Global music streaming service Spotify announced that it would beef up its engineering team at its U.S. headquarters offices in New York City, adding 130 more technologists by the end of 2014, giving the company a total of approximately 200 engineers. Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, Spotify has been growing rapidly in the U.S. since its launch here two years ago. It is adding new features to its service while also building an advertising sales and marketing operation aimed at making the free service profitable. Engineers will be working on initiatives related to social, radio, mobile and music discovery in addition to building the advertising monetization platform.

Downtown Brooklyn has lured a new tenant. New York University is launching an interdisciplinary center to train budding game makers in the design, coding and artistic theory of the rapidly growing game industry. The center-known as the Media and Games Network is slated to open in the fall in a 40,000-square-foot space in an office building at 2 Metrotech Center. It will house programs ranging from a master's degree in game design to a doctorate in educational communications and technology. Inc. is looking to expand. The online retailer is looking for 300,000 to 500,000 square feet of office space in Manhattan, which would be a big jump from the approximately 100,000 square feet Amazon currently occupies. The search is said to be at early stages, but if it leads to a lease on the upper end of its range, it would be one of the largest expansions by a company in the city in years. A 500,000-square-foot space typically fits 2,000 to 3,000 workers.

LinkedIn, the popular social network for business professionals, is expanding its office in the Empire State Building. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company has signed a 10-year lease for 40,780 square feet of space at the tower, bringing the firm's total footprint in the building to 73,000 square feet. LinkedIn moved into the building's 25th floor last year, establishing a corporate office mainly for sales staff.

Choice Hotels International, the company behind brands like Econo Lodge, Clarion and Comfort Inn, broke ground  for two Manhattan hostelries. The activity comes less than 24 hours after the Silver Spring, Md.-based outfit began work on a hotel just north of the city in White Plains. All three hotels will be under a brand aimed at business travelers, Cambria Suites. It will be Choice's highest-end option to date, according to Steve Joyce, the company's chief executive. The Times Square location will be the first to open in the city, in the winter of 2014. The Chelsea hotel is scheduled to open in the following quarter.

After spending the past two decades scouring Manhattan for the right location and the right deal, Nordstrom, the upscale department store, has finally found a home. The chain signed a binding agreement to open New York City’s first new full-scale department store, a 7-story, 300,000-square-foot behemoth in the base of a planned skyscraper on the north side of 57th Street, east of Broadway. But if the company spent two decades looking for the right site, it will have to wait until 2018 to move in.

Online auction giant eBay is the latest tech giant to expand in New York. The company announced that it would launch a Technology Center of Excellence in the Flatiron district. The company said the center would expand to more than 200 people over the next couple of years.  eBay is following in the footsteps of Facebook. The social media giant previously announced it would establish a major engineering center in Manhattan, and has been busy staffing it. Facebook, in turn, followed Google, whose meatpacking district offices are the search giant's largest operations center outside of California.

Microsoft announced it is opening a Microsoft Research Lab in New York the 13th such lab in the country. Microsoft is in the process of hiring an initial team of 15 researchers. The lab's location, still to be determined, will be in Manhattan.

Layoffs and Closings

Intercontinental New York Barclay Hotel located in Midtown Manhattan is closing for renovation and laying off all of its 447 workers. The layoffs are scheduled to occur in the last week of June.

The Visiting Nurse Service of New York is eliminating 775 positions, one of the largest health care mass layoffs in New York City that does not involve the closing of a hospital. The organization is the largest nonprofit home care agency in the country. Those affected are a mix of clinical and administrative staffs, with less than 3% of VNSNY's total clinical workforce receiving layoff notices. Home care agencies face new legislation and regulations that have added to their costs. In addition to the layoffs, VNSNY has been overhauling the way it delivers home and community-based care. As part of the state's redesign of its Medicaid program, state health officials are shifting long-term care away from a fee-for-service model to a managed-care model. According to the Home Care Association of New York State, an industry trade group, agencies that have signed contracts with managed-care plans are getting reimbursed at Medicaid rates that are 7.45% below what they were previously paid under the fee-for-service model. The Visiting Nurse Service of New York cited "the significant, ongoing changes to home and community-based health care dictated by both federal and state reform" as the reason for the layoffs. The layoffs are on top of another 570 positions, less than 3% of its 19,000-person workforce, that were cut in October as part of an earlier corporate-wide restructuring.

Madelaine Chocolate, among the largest employers in Rockaway, has put its 5.4-acre building complex at the foot of the Crossbay Bridge up for sale.  The facility was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, causing about $50 million in property damage and lost sales.  The loss of the 65-year-old chocolatier, which at one time employed about 450 people, would be a blow to Rockaway’s economy.  Madelaine owners would only say in a statement that they could be moving to another location in or out of New York.  When the factory partially reopened in October, the owners said they were depending on lawmakers to help obtain grants and loans needed to rebuild.  At that time, the company was only able to bring about 125 employees back to work on a limited production schedule.

Loehmann's, after it's third trip into bankruptcy, is liquidating. All stores will be closed by mid-March 2014. At least 300 workers will lose their jobs.

Atlantic Bus Transportation filed a series of WARN notices after filing for bankruptcy. If they are unable to resolve their financial problems they will layoff more than 2,600 workers starting 12/31/2013.

Atlantic & Pacific Grill Associates LLC, operators of Park Avenue Cafe will close the restaurant and lay off 135 workers effective 1/1/2014.

Smithfield Associates LLC, will close it's Pastis Restaurant and lay off 200 workers on 1/1/2014.

The Bloomberg LP reorganized it's law unit laying off 17 workers on 9/30/2013. An additional 78 workers will be let go 12/31/2013.

Sky Chefs Inc, which provides meal service to airlines, will lay off 137 workers between 12/4/2013 and 3/31/2014.

ESPN is cutting its workforce, the latest Disney division to reduce staff. The company would not say how many jobs are being eliminated, but they include unfilled positions. ESPN has about 7,000 employees worldwide, with about 4,000 at its headquarters in Bristol, Conn. The vast majority work behind the scenes.

Zynga Inc., the biggest maker of online social games, said it will cut 57 jobs in NYC amid disappointing results from its titles outside the Farmville series. The cuts will be completed by August 2013.

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