Two real estate publications get resurrected

Real estate software company to take the reins
By Amy Tennery | December 08, 2009 06:33PM

While the media and real estate industries have been decimated by the recession, two real estate publications are seeing new signs of life.

Nearly two months after one-time parent company Nielsen Business Media announced the closure of Multi-Housing News and Commercial Property Executive, the publications are back in business.

The announcement comes on the heels of last week’s news that another media company, Real Estate Media Group, was slashing its staff by a third and closing its regional real estate publications, including Real Estate New York and Real Estate New Jersey. Three separate representatives from the company, including publisher Michael Desiato, editorial director John Salustri and a spokesperson, declined to comment.

But Yardi Systems, which develops asset and property management software, has acquired MHN and CPE, and plans to relaunch operations — both print and online — in February 2010. The company declined to reveal how much was spent to purchase the publications, which were founded in 1966 and 1987, respectively.

But while the publications are under new ownership, many of the original staff members will remain, Gordon Morrell, COO of Yardi Systems, told The Real Deal in a telephone interview, including the editors-in-chief of the two publications and other veteran staff members.

Morrell said that he plans to yield full editorial control to the current staff.

“The staff that Nielsen [hired] is terrific,” Morrell said, adding that he’s unsure why the company chose to shut down the two publications. “My understanding is that they have divested a few of their print brands,” he said.

Calls to Nielsen were not immediately returned.

Morrell acknowledges that his company’s status as an asset and property management software group may raise a few eyebrows in the journalistic community. Even so, he’s adamant that there is no conflict of interest. As far as credibility goes, he expects the publication will earn it, despite its parent company’s fiscal interests.

“What I would [say to] people,” Morrell said, “[is that] the proof will be in the reading.”

The Real Deal was not able to locate staff members from either CPE or MHN.

Yardi, however, is not the only outlet that is optimistic about real estate news media. This autumn, despite publication-wide layoffs earlier in the year, the New York Observer launched a commercial real estate publication.