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Mutual of America and Munich Re, owners of 320 Park Ave., have begun to reap the benefits of the tower’s $40 million renovation and upgrading.

We reported in February that the newly formed joint venture owners (Mutual was previously the sole owner) were seeing a lot of leasing activity that left little space available.

Now, sources say, three tenant expansions have eaten up over 80,000 square feet, making the 766,000-square-foot tower virtually full. The growth was by Raymond James (which added 38,000 square feet), Audax (30,000 more square feet) and Permira Advisers (15,000 more square feet).

Asking rents are $100-$125 per square foot on lower floors and $130-$160 in the tower portion.

JLL’s Frank Doyle and David Kleiner are the leasing agents, but neither was available for comment.



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Last week’s announcement that the state green-lighted Brookfield’s and Silverstein Properties’ plan for a supertall, mostly residential tower at Five World Trade Center ignored the more compelling matter of Two World Trade Center — the office skyscraper that Larry Silverstein has tried to build for more than 15 years.

Some news reports last week absurdly claimed that 5 WTC was the “final piece” of the complex, apparently forgetting that the 2 WTC site — which would finally complete the tower quartet at “Ground Zero” — remains a small-scale art installation.

The 2 WTC saga has included a fruitless quest for an anchor tenant after News Corp, parent of the New York Post, decided not to pursue a non-binding agreement in 2016; a failed flirtation with Deutsche Bank, and several major design changes.

A Silverstein spokesman said on Friday, “We are actively looking for an anchor tenant for 2 WTC and are optimistic we will find one.”

Silverstein’s confidence is based on success at the rest of the 16-acre WTC. The developer’s 3 WTC and 4 WTC are 90 percent and 100 percent leased, respectively. The Durst Organization and the Port Authority’s 1 WTC is also nearly full.

The rep confirmed that architects Foster + Partners had redesigned 2 WTC after Silverstein brought Foster in to replace a more cutting-edge scheme by Bjarke Ingels’ firm, BIG.

Five World Trade faces its own hurdles as critics demand the residential portion of the tower be used as “affordable” housing.
KPF

In January 2020, Silverstein told us during a discussion about a possible 5 WTC, “What’s closest to my heart is Tower Two.”

Larry Silverstein
Larry Silverstein is still trying to find an anchor tenant for Two World Trade Center.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

He also said, “With the level of lease-up activity at Tower Three, my hunch is it won’t be terribly long before an announcement comes up with respect to Tower Two.”

But then the pandemic intervened.

Meanwhile, Five World Trade still faces its own hurdles. Critics, including former Mayor Bill de Blasio and several elected officials, are demanding that the entire residential portion — some 1,200 planned apartments — be used as “affordable” housing, a requirement that would be un-affordable to the developers.

The current plan calls for about 25% of the units to be set aside for lower-income tenants. The gripes will be aired at several planned public hearings.

It’s a sure bet that both new skyscrapers will rise one day. The only real question is, which one first?



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ST. LOUIS – Large containers sit in the front yards of homes in the Copperfield subdivision, full of debris and items damaged in the floods.

It’s been days since devastating floods hit the Copperfield subdivision, and residents are still cleaning up from the water damage.

“We’ve been here for 18 years and we had a lot of stuff and we threw it all away. I mean it was just..we had to throw everything away,” said Darryl Stith. Smith said his basement completely flooded, and the main floor got eight to ten inches of water on it.

“The amount of damage could be anywhere from an inch of water in the basement to a foot, six feet, full basements,” said President of the Copperfield Resident Association Steve Williams.

“We have elderly [residents], single moms, people that don’t have the manpower to pull those heavy items out of their basement,” said Vice President of the Copperfield Resident Association Stephanie Whitman.

“We were hoping, not just for us, but for all of our neighbors that FEMA or SEMA would have come by because so many of these people don’t have anything, no family,” said Debra Stith.

The subdivision’s pool turned into a makeshift command center, to help roughly 80 families get the resources they need.

“We’ve had ministries come in on their own, that we don’t even know where they came from, that are doing mold sprays and rip-outs for free for these people, which has been a blessing,” said Whitman. However, what they need the most is more manpower.

“Carpet has to come out, drywall has to come out, appliances, personal items, furniture,” said Williams.

Williams said the city started providing dumpsters starting Wednesday and has been running trucks to clear the dumpsters out every day, starting Thursday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

He shared how it’s been a huge help, but they’re not even close to being done with getting the trash out.
Items they need the most right now are cleaning and disinfecting supplies. They are also working on setting up a GoFundMe page for the neighborhood. If you’d like to help the Stith family, they’ve set up a GoFundMe page here.



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The design-and-innovation firm Huge signed a two-floors lease at Dock 72 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard — and it’s huge for Boston Properties and Rudin, the joint-venture developers of the ship-shaped waterfront building that shouts “cool factor.”

The deal for 71,000 square feet on Dock 72’s top two office floors marks a welcome advance for the project, where the pandemic slowed leasing efforts after an earlier WeWork deal for 220,000 square feet. After that, Boston and Rudin drew blanks in the tough market until digital culinary hub Food52 inked a 42,000-square-foot lease last October. The uniquely-designed waterfront building has 675,000 square feet.

Huge will move from 45 Main St. in Dumbo. The company says its new digs will serve as a “Global Experience Center offering employees and guests a complete reimagining of the traditional workplace.”

It’s exactly the kind of tenant the landlords had in mind. 

“We designed, developed and programmed Dock 72 to appeal specifically to creative companies that thrive on innovation, creativity and authenticity,” said Rudin EVP Michael Rudin.

Mat Baxter, Huge’s global chief executive officer, said its home at Dock 72 “will function more like a clubhouse” than a traditional office setup.

The uniquely-designed waterfront building has 675,000 square feet.
The uniquely-designed waterfront building has 675,000 square feet.
APSTK

Dock 72, situated at the Navy Yard’s NYC Ferry stop, boasts 35,000 square feet of amenities, including a food hall managed by FLIK Hospitality and Danny Meyer’s Union Square Events.

Huge was repped by Winter Stockwell in-house and by CBRE’s Cara Chayet, David Hollander, Liz Lash and Ken Rapp. Ownership was repped by Boston’s Andrew Levin and Rudin’s Robert Steinman, as well as by Cushman & Wakefield and CBRE teams.



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ST. LOUIS – The National Council of Jewish Women hosts the Back to School Store Sunday, July 31.

The membership organization was founded in 1895 and has always focused on creating meaningful action at the local and state levels. With economic crises, recent flood issues, and constant pandemic news, children have needed school supplies now more than ever. Vice President of Community Impact Amanda Stein shared how helping children has always been the goal, no matter the hurdles.

“This is the third year we have done the Back to School Store in this contactless model,” Stein said. “We are very determined. We have never let a pandemic or anything else really stop us from getting supplies out to kids. So between this project and our Kids Community Closet (where closets are put into schools), we are always about meeting kids’ needs.”

At least 400 volunteers prepared to grant 2,000 pre-filled backpacks to parents for their children at the Congregation Temple Israel. With help from 70 partnering agencies, the organization arranged contactless deliveries with items that include winter coats, hats, dental products, hair products, and more. For the first time ever, haircut coupons from Great Clips are also given out.

“Kids really feel better when they can look their best on the first day of school,” Stein said. “We reached out to Great Clips and they were happy to collaborate so we are giving out coupons for 10$ haircuts.”

NCJWSTL will continue to help families in need of school supplies and personal care with its fall and winter Kids Community Closet Program.

To participate in volunteer opportunities or special events, please visit NCJWSTkplrL.org or call 314-993-5181.



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Amazon is getting flooded with counterfeit versions of books, angering customers and authors alike who say the site is doing little to fight the literary fraudsters. 

Forgeries sold by third parties through Amazon range from e-books to hardcovers and fiction to non-fiction — but the issue is especially widespread for textbooks, whose sky-high sticker prices draw in scammers, publishing industry sources say. 

“The damage to authors is very real,” Matthew Hefti, a novelist and attorney who has found counterfeit versions of his own book on Amazon, told The Post. “It’s such a pervasive problem.”  

The end result is that readers are getting stuck with illegible books that bleed ink or fall apart, while authors and publishers lose revenue to the publishing pirates.

Amazon, however, takes a cut of third-party sales regardless of whether the books they ship are real or fake, giving the company no incentive to crack down on coutenterfeits, people in the publishing industry gripe. They say the site that’s typically known for speedy service is excessively slow to respond to their concerns about fakes. 

‘Pages unreadable’

Martin Kleppmann, a computer science researcher and academic, has seen one-star Amazon reviews of his data modeling textbook roll in for years, with angry customers complaining about unreadable text, missing pages and other quality issues. He blames counterfeiters, who he says have sold pirated versions.

“This book is very badly printed,” reads one angry review of Kleppmann’s book. “Ink goes everywhere after 10 minutes reading.” 

“Pages are printed overlapped,” another review reads. “About 20 pages unreadable.” 

Counterfeit book
“Pages are printed overlapped,” a reviewer said.
Counterfeit book
One the of overlapped and poorly printed pages in an alleged pirated text.

A third reviewer gripes that they had to order Kleppmann’s book from Amazon three different times before they received a usable copy. The two counterfeits had see-through paper and other defects. 

“I see lots of negative reviews complaining about print quality,” Kleppmann told The Post, adding that his publisher has asked Amazon to fix the issue but the company hasn’t done anything. 

Amazon spokesperson Julia Lee said in a statement to The Post, “We prioritize customer and author trust and continuously monitor and have measures in place to prevent prohibited products from being listed.”

Amazon spent more than $900 million globally and employed more than 12,000 people to protect customers from counterfeit, fraud and other forms of abuse, Lee said.

Amazon
One Amazon reviewer said they had to buy Kleppmann’s book three times to find a non-counterfeit copy.

But Kleppmann isn’t the only author who’s struggled with counterfeits on Amazon. Google deep learning researcher Francois Chollet complained about counterfeiters in a popular Twitter thread earlier in July, accusing Amazon of doing “nothing” to crack down on widespread counterfeit versions of his textbook. 

“Anyone who has bought my book from Amazon in the past few months hasn’t bought a genuine copy, but a lower-quality counterfeit copy printed by various fraudulent sellers,” Chollet wrote. “We’ve notified [Amazon] multiple times, nothing happened. The fraudulent sellers have been in activity for years.” 

Even The Post’s own columnist Miranda Devine saw fake versions of her book about Hunter Biden, “Laptop from Hell,” spread on Amazon last year.

After Devine’s publishers notified Amazon about the issue, the counterfeits remained on the site for days, she said. 

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment on the specific examples of counterfeits in this story.

‘Endless game of whack-a-mole’

Amazon generally requires authors and publishers to comb the site for counterfeit versions of their own books, then fight through layers of bureaucracy to get the fakes taken down, according to intellectual property attorney Katie Sunstrom. 

“The burden is on the seller to get Amazon to stop the infringers and counterfeiters from selling on their system,” Sunstrom told The Post. “There’s no impetus on Amazon to take care of it.” 

Kleppmann’s publisher, O’Reilly Media, told The Post that it routinely files complaints with Amazon about fraudulent sellers, but that the company is often slow to address their concerns. 

“It is an endless game of whack-a-mole where accounts simply resurface days or weeks later,” O’Reilly vice president of content strategy Rachel Roumeliotis told The Post, adding that Amazon will respond to “individual symptoms as discovered by publishers” but does nothing to stop the “systemic flow” of counterfeits. 

An example of an alleged pirated book from Amazon.
An example of an alleged pirated book from Amazon.

“Amazon spends a lot of time trying to combat the perception its marketplace perpetuates fraud because it’s known that there is a problem — yet its platform and policies are built in ways that facilitate it,” Roumeliotis said. 

Counterfeits spreading unchecked can put authors’ careers at risk, according to Hefti. 

Beyond cutting into the profits authors make off books they’ve already published, counterfeit sales don’t count toward official sales figures. Lower sales figures will, in turn, make it more difficult for authors to ink future book deals, Hefti said. 

“The model is so exploitative for writers,” he said. “I don’t even know if there is any fixing it, at least not without Amazon having to spend a ton of money and lose a bunch of existing profit.” 





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ST. LOUIS – Sheriffs were at the scene of a fatal crash that led to the drowning of a man in the Lake of Ozarks.

The crash happened around 11:05 Saturday morning. Reports said that there were four occupants of a boat on the Lake that was driving too fast for conditions which led to all four being ejected from the boat.

One of the boat riders refused treatment while the other to were taken to a local hospital. The fourth rider was pronounced dead at the scene.

FOX will update this story with more information as it becomes available.



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ST. LOUIS – CBC is set to gather in prayer for upcoming graduate Matthew Nikolai after he was struck and killed Saturday night.

The prayer service will take place at the CBC High School Chapel from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Another prayer service will also be held at a later date for the Class of 2023. The CBC High School Twitter page shared a statement.

“It is with heavy hearts that we share with our CBC High School community the news of the tragic loss of rising senior Matthew Nikolai. As our community grieves together, our prayers, support, and love are with his family and close friends during this most challenging time.”

Nikolai was a third-generation CBC cadet. His father, uncle, and grandfather attended CBC. His brother is currently a student at the high school. Nikolai was involved in the Computer Science Honor Society, ESports, CBC’s Brothers In Harmony, as well as the CBC STEM Academy.





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ST. LOUIS – With ten different species of shark and four species of rays, people visiting the aquarium can touch them in the Shark and Ray Touch Pool.

Guests also can watch the sharks in the 250,000-gallon Shark canyon habitat through multiple viewing windows. A live dive show is held in Shark Canyon daily, where visitors can talk with the divers inside the habitat.

There’s a diver who wears a special mask that allows them to respond to individual questions. Visitors can talk with the guest experience team who have models of shark jaws, shark teeth, and mermaid’s purses for visitors to touch.

Kids can make a shark hat in the Kid Zone Play Area of the aquarium, and guests can take a behind-the-scenes tour at the aquarium to see how the sharks are fed and how ocean water is made. During the tour, they visit the top of the Shark Canyon and walk across a rope bridge over the habitat — so they are literally walking over the sharks.

For more information, click here.



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MADISON COUNTY, Ill. – Governor JB Pritzker announced another $15 million to support the state’s communities and tourism sites hit the hardest by the pandemic.

The grant is funded using American Rescue Plan Act money. Some of the money will go to the Madison County Historical Society, and the World Wide Technology Racetrack in Madison.

Aerie’s Resort in Grafton will use its portion to install an alpine coaster.

For more information about the $15 million grant, click here.



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