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NEW YORK CITY-Rents in the city are falling and hotel rooms and offices stand empty, yet rock-bottom interest rates are keeping pricing high across the board. Valuation, therefore, is a major issue these days, and Grubb & Ellis has been working on seven major consulting jobs that involve the valuation of office, hotel, retail and residential space as well as the land beneath several structures.

According to Grubb & Ellis Executive managing director of consulting services Bob VonAncken, “appraisers probably have never been so busy in eight to 10 years. The big appraisal shops are all backed up. It hasn’t been this way in a long time,” he tells GlobeSt.com.

Grubb’s client list of building owners includes the Economic Development Corp. of the City of New York, the Carlyle New York hotel and Levi Strauss & Co.

For the EDC, Grubb is assisting in renegotiating the contract for Brooklyn’s 10-building, six million-sf MetroTech Center, which is owned by Forest City Ratner Corp and sits on land leased from the city. Findings are due by the end of the month.

Grubb also helped to determine the fair market rental value of the 13 retail stores located within the famed Carlyle hotel at 76th Street and Madison Avenue. In addition, the firm assisted Levi Strauss & Co. in the rent arbitration for a 6,000-sf store at 750 Lexington Ave. “Findings have been presented and we are awaiting the final decision from the building owner, which should come momentarily,” VonAncken tells GlobeSt.com.

The firm’s land-value determination assignments include 650 Fifth Ave., a 400,000-sf, 36-story office building in which G&E repped the building owner. Findings took place in November and “were very satisfactory to the tenant,” says VonAncken.

Findings are expected this month on the value of a 17,500-sf parcel at 853 Seventh Ave. The parcel is occupied by a 12-story apartment building. Grubb represents the land owner.

The firm assisted the New York palace Hotel, Madison Avenue and 50th Street, in the rental re-determination based upon the value of the land beneath the hotel. Findings were presented in September.

Grubb also represented the land owner of 600 Fifth Ave., site of a 29-story office building. Findings were presented last spring.

According to VonAncken, trophy office properties and retail centers are giving appraisers the most business of late, largely because of the favorable interest rates available to buyers and refinancers. “Some of the high-end or very special office buildings that have long-term, quality tenants, there’s a lot of action going on with those,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “And there’s great interest in groups of shopping centers where real estate investment trusts are selling 15 centers at a cut, and they all require an appraisal. They’re selling to each other.”

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