The Real Deal New York

Editor's note: Our stupefying times

September 01, 2016
By Stuart Elliott

Stuart Elliott

Stuart Elliott

It used to be the economy, stupid.

The fate of the nation’s economic health seems to have taken a backseat in presidential politics this time around more than in any recent election.

While Bill Clinton used the phrase, “It’s the economy, stupid,” about our monetary woes to great effect in the 1992 presidential race to defeat George H.W. Bush, this election cycle — featuring another Clinton — could be characterized more like, “It’s the democracy, stupid.”

The candidacy of billionaire businessman Donald Trump, may have, ironically, turned some attention away from the business world and where we are at in the current economic cycle. There has been more concern about issues like the nuclear codes, the prospect of mass deportations and disbanding NATO.

Don’t fret though, we have you covered. One of our main stories this month is about the prospect of a recession and how some New York City developers are switching their strategies to beat the clock. We have pretty visibly passed the high-water mark of this real estate cycle, but where will things go next? And can industry players still time the market? Turn to page 38 to find out.

Of course, we have plenty of coverage on the main preoccupation of our age, too — Trump’s outlandish antics. Our story on page 52 takes a look at how some of the Donald’s staunchest early supporters in the New York City real estate industry are now turning their backs on the candidate. We’ve also got a profile of the young mogul in the making Jared Kushner, examining the tension between his role as Trump’s son-in-law and de facto campaign manager on one hand, and his business dealings in real estate and media, as well as his family’s history, on the other. See page 56.

Meanwhile, our ranking of the most active condo developers of all-time (the first time such a ranking has been done) is definitely worth a read. We went back to 1965, when condos first started to emerge as a housing type, to pull the data. Did Donald Trump make the list? Check out the story on page 96.

Elsewhere in the issue, we have an article looking at what residential brokerages are worth. With brokerage-slash-tech-startup Compass valued at more than $1 billion (based on recent funding rounds), it has thrown into disarray thoughts about what traditional brokerages such as Douglas Elliman and the Corcoran Group should be valued at. See page 46.

While Compass has been assessed at a high valuation, it’s surprising how many companies at the intersection of real estate and technology are not living up to their early promise. The luddite tendencies of the real estate industry may be partly to blame, and as a result, more venture capital investors are placing their bets on companies that are seen as “cockroaches” rather than “unicorns.” In other words, those investors are looking for start-ups that will have resiliency during the blast of a recession even if they grow slowly, as opposed to start-ups that might achieve a rare billion-dollar valuation but will much more likely flame out.

Also this month, The Real Deal is coming out with its inaugural Los Angeles Market Report, nearly 70 pages of the latest real estate news and happenings from our West Coast outpost. The new issue follows our website launch in La La Land earlier this year. We already have quite a following there, since there is nothing else like TRD locally — we are told that some national and foreign investors shy away from the LA market because there is so little transparency about deals there. So check it out.

Finally, back in New York, TRD has moved offices, and is now located right near Hudson Yards, at 450 West 31st Street. We’re directly across the street from 10 Hudson Yards, the first office building to rise at the massive redevelopment project, and next to Manhattan West, where more steel skeletons are rising. It’s beyond exciting to be in the center of these billion dollar projects we write about every day and to see the emergence of an entire new neighborhood. (For a look at the enormous amount of financing that has gone into Hudson Yards, click here.) 

Pay us a visit! And enjoy the issue.