VTS expands to Canada; Sol Goldman’s daughter among donors backing far left candidates: Daily digest

A daily round up of New York real estate news, deals and more for August 12, 2019
August 12, 2019 04:00PM

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VTS is expanding in Canada with a Toronto engineering hub. The firm plans to hire at least 50 staffers for the hub by the end of next year and may expand to Montreal and Vancouver as well, according to Bloomberg. The property tech startup is based in New York and has developed software that allows commercial real estate firms to manage the leasing process from a computer or cell phone. It is now valued at more than $1 billion. [Bloomberg]

 

Amy Goldman Fowler (Credit: Getty Images)

Amy Goldman Fowler (Credit: Getty Images)

Sol Goldman’s daughter is among the group of wealthy donors supporting New York’s far-left candidates. Goldman’s daughter, Amy Goldman Fowler, donated the largest possible contribution to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez last year, according to a Crain’s article analyzing major players in finance, tech and philanthropy who have been supporting the recent wave of extremely liberal candidates in New York. Others include former Goldman Sachs employee Michael Novogratz, who donated $30,000 to Tiffany Cabán’s campaign for Queens District Attorney, and Ebury chief risk officer Enrique Diaz-Alvarez, who donated to state Sen. Julia Salazar. [Crain’s]

 

Billionaires Row group fighting homeless shelter protests de Blasio on his presidential campaign trail. A group of Billionaires Row residents who have been fighting with the mayor’s office for years over a proposed homeless shelter at the old Park Savoy Hotel protested him with fake dollar bills at the Iowa State Fair, according to the New York Post. The bills read “In Bill we trusted, in Iowa he fails New Yorkers” and mock his poor performance so far in presidential polls. [NYP]

 

An NYU professor landed more than $8 million off of a real estate deal with the school. NYU law professor Richard Stewart landed $8.3 million from selling a Charles Street townhouse where he had lived since the 1990s, according to the New York Post. He bought it for an unspecified price in 1996 from the NYU School of Law Foundation. NYU has recently drawn scrutiny for the lavish benefits it provides to its administrators and faculty. [NYP]

 

Two Trees CEO Jed Walentas

Two Trees CEO Jed Walentas

The Walentas family skirts campaign finance laws to back Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams’ bid for City Hall. Adam’s nonprofit has solicited donations from the Walentases, who have business before the city. The Walentas Foundation gave Adams’ One Brooklyn fund between $45,000 and $140,000 from April 2015 to September 2017, according to the Daily News. Two Trees Development CEO gave him $400 and bundled $5,100 more in donations, while David Walentas and his wife Jane gave Adams’ campaign $5,500 in 2018 put together. Two Trees has lobbied Adams over multiple Brooklyn projects in the past and is currently trying to change requirements on their redevelopment project at the Domino Sugar Factory site. [NYDN]

 

Joe Farrell, Donald Trump, and Stephen Ross (Credit: Getty Images)

Joe Farrell, Donald Trump, and Stephen Ross (Credit: Getty Images)

 

Here are the real estate bigwigs who went to Trump’s fundraisers in the Hamptons this weekend. President Donald Trump held two fundraisers on the famed vacation spot this weekend: one at developer Joe Farrell’s home in Bridgehampton and another hosted by Related Companies chair Stephen Ross, which had prompted a massive backlash against Equinox and SoulCycle. Guests at the fundraisers from the world of real estate included Neal Sroka, Vornado’s Steve Roth, Richard LeFrak, Cantor Fitzgerald’s Howard Lutnick, Steve Witkoff and Andrea Catsimatidis. [NYP]

 

Almost 90 percent of NYCHA apartments lost heat and hot water this winter. The public housing developments went through more than 3,500 outages impacting 339,000 residents during the winter, according to the New York Post, citing data from a Freedom of Information Law request filed by the Legal Aid Society. The outages happened at 259 of the 326 NYCHA developments, most often at the Baruch Houses on the Lower East Side. NYCHA executives stressed that the agency went through a thousand fewer outages this winter than last winter and said the average length of the outage was cut in half. [NYP]

 

Lower mortgage rates probably aren’t enough to speed up the slow housing market. The low rates might provide the market with a modest increase, but the main problem is still expensive home prices and the lack of options for starter homes in several markets, according to the Wall Street Journal. Average 30-year mortgage rates fell to 3.6 percent last week, their lowest level since November 2016, and they have been dropping throughout most of the year. [WSJ]

 

There were 10 luxury contracts totaling roughly $78.6 million signed in Manhattan last week. The number of contracts and dollar volume were both down from the week before, when the market saw 14 contracts signed for about $95.9 million. The properties spent an average of 590 days on the market and had an average discount of 19 percent from the original to the final asking price. [Olshan]

 

Brooklyn’s luxury market saw 14 contracts signed last week for a total of roughly $43.8 million. The market was up from the prior week, when 13 contracts were signed for about $38.2 million. The average contract price was about $3.1 million, and the properties spent an average of 184 days on the market. [Compass]

 

FROM THE CITY’S RECORDS:

 

New Permit Filings:
Zeckendorf Development filed an application for an 18-story building at 115 East 55th Street in Midtown. [DOB]