A rendering of the Falchi Building, a former warehouse converted for mixed use, in Long Island City. Jamestown

TLC Takes Space in LIC

The Falchi Building, a converted warehouse in Long Island City, is adding two new tenants to the mix.

The New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission has signed a lease to take about 42,400 square feet in the building, and the City of New York Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings will occupy about 30,000 square feet, according to landlord Jamestown LP.

"I think this is the beginning of seeing more office tenancy in the building," said Michael Phillips, chief operating officer of Jamestown. "I think people are beginning to see places like Long Island City and Brooklyn as reasonable alternatives to be centrally located to the core of their constituents."

The Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings is relocating the Taxi & Limousine Tribunal from 32-02 Queens Blvd. in Long Island City and its Queens Health Tribunal hearing office from 144-06 94th Ave. in Jamaica.

The Falchi Building was built in 1922 and used as a warehouse and distribution center for the Gimbels department store.

Jamestown bought the property in 2012. It has made a number of upgrades, including renovations to the building's facade and lobby and the addition of art installations. The renovations and the construction of tenant spaces are expected to cost about $10 million over the next two years, the company said. Asking rents at the property, located at 31-00 47th Ave., range from $25 to $45 a square foot.

Critical to the building's long-term success is its wide range of tenant types, Mr. Phillips said. The building has office, retail and industrial tenants that include the United Nations, a recently opened Juice Press store and Tourneau, which has both offices and a watch-repair facility there. Jamestown also has added a market of food vendors called the Food Box.

—Keiko Morris

A Jeweler Heads East With Fifth Avenue Lease

A designer of high-end diamond engagement rings and wedding rings is moving to Fifth Avenue from a side street in the Garment District.

Verragio Ltd. has signed a lease for 13,586 square feet in a 14-story building at 330 Fifth Ave.; asking rent was $48 a square foot.

The firm plans to use the space for executive offices and showrooms. Its current address is 132 W. 36th St.

Representing Verragio in the deal was Dan Hassett of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank and Joseph Herman of Metropolitan Realty Group. Alan Bonett of Adams & Co. Real Estate represented the landlord, Shulsky Properties.

Mr. Bonett said Shulsky Properties has owned the 1925 high-rise for the past decade, and it now has a mix of office tenants, including Kayser-Roth Corp., an intimate-apparel and hosiery manufacturer; BrightRoll Inc., a video advertising platform; and St. Giles International, a language school.

Verragio "wants an upscale avenue address, and this is a boutique building," Mr. Bonett said.

—Carmel Melouney

Lower Manhattan's Retail Rents Are on the Rise

Retail rents in lower Manhattan jumped during the second quarter, according to statistics released by Cushman & Wakefield Inc.

Average asking rent for ground-floor retail space jumped 37.8%, to $346 a square foot from $251 in the same period a year ago. The vacancy rate fell to 6.4% in the second quarter from 9.1% the previous year.

Several factors have played a role in boosting the area's allure to retailers, including the sharp growth of its residential population, said Joanne Podell, vice chairman at Cushman & Wakefield. The number of people living in lower Manhattan has grown from 24,000 in 2000 to 61,000 in 2014, according to the Alliance for Downtown New York Inc.

The organization defines lower Manhattan as roughly the area south of Chambers Street, while Cushman uses Canal Street as the area's northern border.

"It has a huge office market and you have tourists," Ms. Podell said. "So the confluence of those three things in any market guarantees within reason the growth of retail."

Retail rents in the Times Square and Madison Avenue neighborhoods, where rents have been far higher than those in lower Manhattan, also experienced second-quarter growth. Times Square notched a 13.8% increase to $2,470 a square foot. Madison
Avenue rents rose 12.4% to $1,519 a square foot.

—Keiko Morris