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Harborside in NJ is coming out of the pandemic with a $100M upgrade

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Harborside in NJ is coming out of the pandemic with a $100M upgrade

Harborside, Mack-Cali’s once-nondescript commercial campus on Jersey City’s Hudson River waterfront, is readying for the post-pandemic era with major infrastructure upgrades and striking new lifestyle amenities for health- and wellness-conscious office tenants. 

The six-building complex is home to 4.3 million square feet of offices that account for the lion’s share of Mack-Cali’s total 6.8 million square-foot portfolio. Most are in the interlocked buildings known as Harborside 1, 2 and 3. 

Previously associated with back-office space, they’re nearing completion of more than $100 million in improvements aimed at drawing a more diverse tenant roster for headquarters use and better integrating the commercial buildings into the thriving Jersey City community around them. 

“We’ll be much more proactive in pursuing tenants from Manhattan,” said senior vice president of leasing Ed Guiltinan. Realty Check readers long knew him as top leasing honcho of Rockefeller Group, where he played a key role in repositioning that firm’s Sixth Avenue towers, including the former Time + Life Building. 

Guiltinan was recruited to Mack-Cali last October as part of the publicly traded developer’s full-court press to revitalize and re-tenant Harborside. About 40 percent of its office space is currently available. However, the figure is misleadingly high since it includes 420,000 square feet at Harborside 1, which was kept mostly vacant as it underwent a sea-change in improvements. Also on board are crack CBRE leasing teams, including a Manhattan group headed by regional CEO Mary Ann Tighe. 

Mack-Cali took the Harborside plunge in 1996 when it bought buildings 1, 2 and 3 -– 1920s structures that were the Pennsylvania Railroad’s New York terminus prior to the construction of Penn Station in Manhattan. 

Although functional, the complex soon became dated as newer properties offered better amenities and more sophisticated infrastructure. Friends who worked at Harborside years ago recalled a joyless, “nowhere” atmosphere lacking in shopping, eating and service options. 

Mack-Cali started a “cool factor” turnaround about four years ago. In 2019, it installed a high-quality, District Kitchen food hall in Harborside 3. It added attractive artwork throughout the complex, upgraded lobbies and created new pedestrian corridors. Lounges were given the industrial-aesthetic treatment in homage to the area’s past. 

A 1980s-vintage glass-roof atrium between buildings 2 and 3 is being warmed up with new seating. A big Whole Foods store –- which is also an office tenant -– will open soon at a different building at the site. 

The redevelopment of Harborside 1, which will open to tenants by year’s end, is the icing on the cake. The eight-story building has a new facade, a redesigned lobby with direct access to indoor retail chosen to support Harborside tenants, and a fourth-floor tenants’ terrace with views of Manhattan and the river. The building aims to achieve LEED-Gold certification for new, energy-conserving mechanicals. 

Guiltinan said Harborside 1’s 65,000-square-foot floor plates, high ceilings and open views should appeal especially to media and creative tenants, in contrast to the more traditional corporate appeal of 1-million square-foot Harborside 5 to the west. 

CBRE’s Tighe said the repositioning “is designed to meet this moment. The virtually column-free, large floors” and “waterfront-facing light-filled spaces” accommodate a broad range of uses.” Current Harborside tenants include Omnicom, Whole Foods’ regional offices, E*Trade, Brown Brothers Harriman and Arch Insurance. Asking rents are in the low $40s to low $50s per square foot, Guiltinan said. 

Meanwhile, Mack-Cali is making Harborside more welcoming to local residents as well as to tenants. (The company also owns apartment buildings adjacent to the office sites). Brooklyn-born open-air food market Smorgasburg will open this summer at a parking lot site. The eastern side of Hudson Street, which runs parallel to the office buildings, is being turned into a pedestrian plaza with seating, a beer garden and what Guiltinan called “fun things” starting in June. 

We reported in January 2019 that premier caterer Great Performances –- which serves the Plaza Hotel grand ballroom and Jazz at Lincoln Center -– was moving from Hudson Square to a much larger facility in the Bronx. The 41,000-square-foot commitment later swelled to 51,000 square feet. And last week, after a $7.7 million buildout, owner Liz Neumark and state and city officials cut the ribbon on the new home in the redeveloped Bruckner Building, a former factory at 2417 Third Ave. 

The facility includes a state-of-the-art, 19,000-square-foot kitchen, three times larger than the original, as well as a warehouse, offices, training space and the nonprofit Sylvia Center for educating kids in the connection between food and health. 

“It’s an exciting new chapter in our 40-year history,” Neumark said, that expresses optimism “in our future, that of the Bronx and of the city’s hospitality sector as a whole” in the pandemic’s wake. 

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Victoria’s Secret will change its name amid rebrand

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Victoria’s Secret is tweaking its name as it revamps its business

Victoria’s Secret — which has been aggressively overhauling its brand during the past year to appeal to a more diverse range of customers — likewise plans to tweak its name.

The lingerie giant said Monday it will be renamed Victoria’s Secret & Co. when it splits off from L Brands in August and becomes an independent, publicly-traded company.

The change comes amid a flurry of news around the quickly transforming business, which last week unveiled a new marketing campaign and collection — VS Collective — featuring seven women including soccer star, Megan Rapinoe, 17 year-old American skier, Eileen Gu and tech investor and actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas.

Its famous “Angels,” which over the years have included supermodels Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks and Gisele Bundchen, will be phased out of the company’s marketing after years of complaints that it excluded women with more natural looks and normal body types.

(L-R) Models Lily Aldridge, Karlie Kloss, Adriana Lima, Doutzen Kroes, Candice Swanepoel, and Behati Prinsloo walk the runway at the 2013 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Avenue Armory on November 13, 2013 in New York City.
(L-R) Models Lily Aldridge, Karlie Kloss, Adriana Lima, Doutzen Kroes, Candice Swanepoel, and Behati Prinsloo walk the runway at the 2013 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Avenue Armory on Nov. 13, 2013 in New York City.
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The company also announced last week a new board of directors, of which six of the seven directors are women.

“This is an exciting time for all of us at Victoria’s Secret,” chief executive Martin Waters said in a statement. “The progress we have made over the last year underscores our commitment to driving profitable growth, creating new opportunities for our talented associates and evolving our brand and product to reflect the diverse experiences, passions and perspectives of our our customers.”

Victoria’s Secret & Co. also will encompass the company’s Pink brand — which is focused on teens and women in their twenties.

Victoria's secret logo
Victoria’s Secret stores in recent months have been improving their profitability by slashing costs and scaling back discounts on lingerie.
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L Brands also owns Bath & Body Works, which will become an independent company in August as well. Its name will remain the same.

The Ohio-based company founded by billionaire Les Wexner, which has also been boosting profits at Victoria’s Secret by slashing costs and scaling back discounts, has seen its stock surge 69 percent year to date versus an 11-percent increase in the S&P 500.

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EEOC files lawsuit over worker fired for refusing to be fingerprinted

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EEOC files lawsuit over worker fired for refusing to be fingerprinted

A Minnesota man refused to leave fingerprints — and got fired for it.

As a result, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing a Minnesota firm on behalf of Henry Harrington, of Mound, who was sacked for refusing the company’s requirement to be fingerprinted on religious grounds, the Star Tribune reported Friday.

The EEOC suit against AscensionPoint Recovery Services, a debt recovery company, was filed this week.

AscensionPoint had requested that workers be fingerprinted as a result of a background check requirement of one of its clients, according to the EEOC.

Harrington, 37, however, told AscensionPoint in July 2017 that having his fingerprints captured was contrary to his Christian beliefs. He was fired the same day.

The suit seeks back pay for Harrington from the time he was fired, and other financial compensation for “emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life and humiliation.”

“An employee should not have to choose between his faith and his livelihood,” Gregory Gochanour, the EEOC’s regional attorney in the Chicago District Office, said in a statement.

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Goldman Sachs reportedly plans to move more than 100 bankers to Florida

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Goldman Sachs reportedly plans to move more than 100 bankers to Florida

Working from home is no longer an option at Goldman Sachs — but working from Florida might be another story.

More than 100 key Goldman Sachs employees are reportedly poised to migrate from the firm’s New York headquarters to a new office in Palm Beach, Florida.

The snub to the Big Apple — which comes as Goldman bankers reported back to the office on Monday after more than a year of working remotely — would mark a shift in Goldman’s more than 150-year-old, New York-centric strategy at the hands of Chief Executive David Solomon.

The Florida expansion is in the early stages and a few employees have made firm commitments, according to a report from Business Insider (paywall). Among those who have expressed interest in moving are partners in the firm, whose salaries start at $950,000 not including bonuses and other perks.

“High-performing managing directors or vice presidents are also being encouraged to relocate, to signal that the office won’t be considered a backwater that kneecaps their Wall Street career,” the report said, citing an unnamed source.

Staffers who move to Florida will not be expected to take a pay cut, according to the report.

Goldman executives at the global markets division, which includes the the core sales and trading operations, will select which members of the team to send, with the idea that “each cluster would be an offshoot of a larger team based in New York and made up of as many as eight or 10 people,” the report said.

Marc Nachmann, co-head of the trading division, commutes regularly from Boca Raton, which could be part of the reason behind the migration. The other head of trading, Ashok Varadhan, is based in New York.

Florida’s sunshine and low taxes made it a haven as coronavirus has shut down New York City. But it’s unclear whether CEO Solomon — who called working from home during the pandemic an “aberration” that was not a “new normal” — will be pleased with large swaths of employees moving to Florida permanently.

As reported by The Post, Goldman’s Asset Management division had been planning to expand its presence in Florida but a lack of interest has stalled those plans. When employees were polled on the cost-saving idea — with managers informally sounding out the rank-and-file, and the company even sending out an email survey — the bank was met with a notable scarcity of snowbirds, sources told The Post.

Goldman has previously dismissed the idea that the firm is planning major relocations.

“As announced at our investor day in January 2020, we are executing on the strategy of locating more jobs in high value locations throughout the US, but we have no specific plans to announce at this time,” Goldman said in a statement.

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