Private equity investors get back into market

June 10, 2009 09:10AM

Real estate executives say there is anecdotal evidence that private equity investors are returning to the commercial market. Robert Knakal, chairman of Massey Knakal Realty Services, said more than 200 people have requested information about a note underwriting the Warehouse 11 residential development in Williamsburg he is marketing. “A number of those are people who have been relatively inactive for the past year or two who are starting to look again,” Knakal said. The city’s big real estate families, including the Dursts, LeFraks and Resnicks, are rumored to be looking to expand. Richard LeFrak, president and CEO of the LeFrak Organization, told the Observer that he is starting to look at properties. “Would I buy something? Yes, I would. Am I prepared to put up substantial equity? Yes, we are. When prices got very high, did I think people weren’t thinking clearly? Yes, I did,” LeFrak said, adding that there are still obstacles in buying properties, including the lack of credit and not knowing what prices are since there are so few transactions.