Swig says construction on the all-glass tower development, whichincludes the US debut of the Nobu Hotel and Residences and a Noburestaurant, will take anywhere from 20-24 months to build, "and Iam assuming that we will be in a better market then, than we aretoday." Although Swig says he has construction cost numbers, hecannot provide them at this time. He did note that he anticipatesground-breaking in the third quarter of this year.

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He explains that it is a great time to be Downtown. "There aremore and more tenants heading there." The tower will be located inthe heart of Lower Manhattan's Financial District neighborhood at45 Broad St., across and down the street from the New York StockExchange.

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Hotel experts note that there is a lot of confidence in Downtownat the moment. Sumner Baye, president and partner of InternationalHotel Network, says, "Downtown is a very interesting situation. Alot success for projects, such as these, depends on who will remainDowntown," referring to the importance of keeping tenants such asthe banking/financial world Downtown.

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"Although we are in a tighter money market, I have no doubt inSwig's ability to get things done," he says, although he explainsthat as with any situation, there are always risks to consider. "Weare talking about looking at the future and what it's going to looklike two years from now," he says. "It's always a gamble, becauseyou never know what things are going to be like a few years fromnow, however I believe that area will be very much alive."

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Baye notes that the key to success, is to keep the people thatare down there right now, down there. "Hopefully, these largecompanies will stay downtown. Do we need condo/hotels Downtown?" hequeries, "yes. There is a demand and there will be a need for morehotel rooms as current projects such as the WTC get completed. Ifeel positive about the future here."

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DanielLesser, senior managing director of CB Richard Ellis'Valuation & Advisory Services and Hospitality and Gaming Group,notes that that Downtown continues undergo major change anddevelopment with significant office, residential, tourist andtransportation projects expected to be completed over the next fiveyears. "The area is increasingly evolving into a 24/7 full serviceneighborhood with the addition of high-end high-rise residentialapartments and condominiums as well as restaurants, retail andentertainment venues," he explains. "Diverse groups of officetenants have been migrating to lower Manhattan to take advantage oflower rents when compared to Midtown. Hotels are experiencingstrong occupancy levels and increases in room rates that exceedunderlying inflation rates."

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Lesser continues that the World Trade Center site is the topvisited downtown tourist destination, with more than five millionvisitors expected annually once the memorial and museum open. "Oncecompleted, the World Trade Center Transportation hub and the FultonStreet Transit Center are anticipated to revolutionize commutingand travel patterns for the city of New York as a whole, and willposition downtown as a world class neighborhood."

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Lesser says that as with all of Manhattan, "Downtown iscurrently 'under-hoteled' with a variety of new lodging projects invarious stages of development. Given the increased corporate andleisure/transient demand expected during the foreseeable future,occupancy levels should remain strong coupled with continued growthin room rates above inflationary levels."

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Stuart Saft, a partner with Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, says thisis the perfect time to start working on a new development or rehabproject "because of the time it takes to bring a new building tocomplete and bring it to market. A typical building beginningconstruction today will not be ready for occupancy until 2011,which is after the economy has recovered from its presenttribulations. By that time the older buildings will have beenabsorbed and the new building will hit a marketplace that looksentirely different than today." Saft explains that this isparticularly true of the New York City market, which is "still aninternational financial and tourist center where the shrinkingdollar is a great lure for foreign buyers and renters."

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This is an interesting time and an interesting project, explainsDeborah Jackson, executive managing director of Weiser RealtyAdvisors LLC. "This area is one where many of the luxury retailershave gone, which is positive for the project--both as it enhancesthe area and probably makes leasing the retail space in theproperty a little easier."

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One question has to be in the residential component, she says."The market remains relatively strong in Manhattan but one mightquestion the ease in marketing this number of units in thissubmarket. Still, we have seen a lot of interest in luxuryresidential units from foreigners--who find the weak dollar totheir advantage."

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Natalie Dolce

Natalie Dolce, editor-in-chief of GlobeSt.com and GlobeSt. Real Estate Forum, is responsible for working with editorial staff, freelancers and senior management to help plan the overarching vision that encompasses GlobeSt.com, including short-term and long-term goals for the website, how content integrates through the company’s other product lines and the overall quality of content. Previously she served as national executive editor and editor of the West Coast region for GlobeSt.com and Real Estate Forum, and was responsible for coverage of news and information pertaining to that vital real estate region. Prior to moving out to the Southern California office, she was Northeast bureau chief, covering New York City for GlobeSt.com. Her background includes a stint at InStyle Magazine, and as managing editor with New York Press, an alternative weekly New York City paper. In her career, she has also covered a variety of beats for M magazine, Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel, FashionLedge.com, and Co-Ed magazine. Dolce has also freelanced for a number of publications, including MSNBC.com and Museums New York magazine.