National Cheat Sheet: The story behind the Trump Soho criminal probe, retail sector holds steady in Q3 … & more

Oct.October 05, 2017 04:50 PM

Clockwise from left: Douglas Elliman expands to Boston, a residential project in Boca Raton that could fetch over $125 million, and President Trump and his children Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump.

The criminal investigation into Ivanka and Donald Jr. that was dropped

A new investigation published this week by by ProPublica, the New Yorker and WNYC brings to light how a criminal investigation into Donald Trump’s children was squashed in 2012. It involves buyers at the Trump Soho condo-hotel project, which was under construction at the time. They alleged they had been lied to about sales figures to entice them into buying and subsequently filed suit against the developers, which included Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, the Sapir Organization, Bayrock Group and others. The new report reveals that Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz made a campaign contribution to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. before attempting to persuade him to drop the investigation (Vance reimbursed the funds). [TRD]

US retail real estate vacancy rate holds steady in Q3

There’s finally a bit of good news on the retail front: a new report from real estate research firm Reis revealed that the overall retail vacancy rate for the third quarter remained flat at 10 percent, compared to the second quarter, while asking rents went up by 0.4 percent, according to the Wall Street Journal. And while shopping center vacancy rates went up in 34 of 77 metro areas during the third quarter, this was a better showing than the second quarter, when vacancy rates went up in 39 areas. Vacancies did rise slightly in regional malls, going up from 8.1 percent in the second quarter to 8.3 percent in the third quarter, but stayed lower than 2011’s record vacancy rate of 9.4 percent. [WSJ]

CompStak to offer crowdsourced intel on investment sales

The real estate information firm CompStak, which disrupted the office leasing industry with its crowd-sourced comps, is now taking aim at the investment-sales space. CompStak is going to crowd source key metrics such as net operating income (NOI) and cap rates from brokers, as well as aggregating and analyzing information from public records, Michael Mandel, CEO, told The Real Deal. As a result, the firm will compete with Real Capital Analytics, CoStar and Reis. [TRD]


Los Angeles rents halted their seven-month climb in September

Los Angeles rents, after climbing for seven months, leveled off in September. Median rent was $1,350 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,740 for a two-bedroom, according to a Curbed, which cited a report from Apartment List. Rent rose 4.5 percent year-over-year, exceeding the statewide increase of 4.3 percent and the national average of 2.8 percent. [TRD]

Elliman zeroes in on Boston’s new development condo market with new acquisition

Manhattan’s Douglas Elliman continues to branch out. Just after scooping up Teles Properties in California, the firm acquired independent Boston brokerage Otis & Ahearn, the Boston Globe reported. Financial terms were not revealed. Otis & Ahearn will continue to operate its three offices in the city and a fourth office in Charlestown, according to the report. Elliman chairman Howard Lorber said the acquisition helps Elliman get into Boston’s new development condominium market given that the 39-year-old firm has marketed at least 25 new development condo projects in the city. According to an Elliman spokesman, 30 agents will come aboard and Kevin Ahearn, the firm’s co-founder, will stay on as the chief executive of the Boston-area offices. [TRD]

Steve Croman, landlord of more than 140 NYC buildings, to serve one year in jail

New York City landlord Steve Croman was sentenced to one year in jail this week on criminal mortgage and tax fraud charges. Croman pleaded guilty in June. The plea agreement includes a $5 million tax settlement, of which Croman has already paid $3 million. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman charged Croman with lying about the rental income of rent-stabilized apartments to obtain $45 million in financing, among other misdeeds. Croman, who had been accused by tenants of harassment at his lower Manhattan buildings, owns more than 140 buildings in New York City. [TRD]

Miami Worldcenter lands $33 million in financing from Bank of the Ozarks

Developers Nitin Motwani and Art Falcone closed on nearly $33 million in financing for the Miami Worldcenter development site, a 27-acre mixed-use project. Construction is underway on the $1.2 billion project, including the Paramount Miami Worldcenter, a 360,000-square-foot retail component and the Seventh Street Apartments. Property records show Bank of the Ozarks provided a $9.42 million loan for the southeast block of Northeast First Avenue and Northeast 11th Street; a $7.5 million loan for 80 Northeast 10th Street; and a $15.71 million loan for 725 Northeast Miami Avenue. [TRD]

New multifamily residential project in Boca Raton could nab over $125M

A 370-unit apartment complex in Boca Raton called 850 Boca has hit the market unpriced, and industry sources said it could go for more than $125 million. This is one of the first residential projects to be developed at The Park at Broken Sound, a 700-acre planned mixed-use community at 5100 Broken Sound Boulevard Northwest. CC Residential developed the complex and Robert Given, Zachary Sackley, Troy Ballard and Neal Victor of Cushman & Wakefield are marketing the project. [TRD]

Mayor of San Francisco pushes agencies to meet goal of 5,000 new homes

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is taking aim at the delays that hinder housing development in that city. Last week he ordered city agencies to reduce permit processing times by half, in an effort to meet a goal of creating 5,000 new housing units per year, according to Curbed. U.S. Census data shows 2,600 units were added from 2015 to 2016, and 3,500 units were added the year before. Under his new executive directive, housing approvals in San Francisco would take no more than 22 months going forward. [Curbed]

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