Cell ‘Safety’

Those radio waves from cell phone towers are safe…from liability. The Appellate Division, First Department, ruled in Stanley v. Amalithone Realty that health claims by tenants in a building neighboring one with an antenna were preempted by the Federal Telecommunications Act.

James Nelson of Massey Knakal treated the ABO/NRC luncheon this week to 50 pages of statistics on the investment market. Really, 50. A couple of key takeaways: There were 23,879 new condos filed with the Attorney General in 2006, and barely more than 1900 in 2011. The average rent for a studio in a new doorman development in February was $2,884. Retail rents topped $2,000 per sq. ft. on Fifth Ave and are headed to $3,000 — more than the price per sq. ft. to buy retail space in most other parts of Manhattan. Meanwhile, there is $70 billion of CMBS for New York City properties maturing in 2012. More than a third of the loans date back five years to a time of more flexible underwriting standards, Nelson noted.

The Rent Guidelines Board yesterday published its annual mortgage survey of 14 major residential lenders. According to the report, average rates on new multifamily mortgages have dropped to 4.59 percent, and 4.65 percent on refinancing. Average loan-to-value ratios are down to 72.1 percent. 709 buildings with rent stabilized apartments were sold in 2011, up from 541 the year before, and prices generally rose.

The Furman Center at NYU released a study Wednesday on City parking requirements for new construction, citing several examples of buildings that met the minimum requirement at great expense and could only rent about half the required spots to tenants. The City is supposed to be reviewing zoning and code requirements on the subject.

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