The Daily Dirt: New landlord group picks up the rent law fight

TRD New York /
Jan.January 08, 2020 06:59 PM
Cammeby’s International’s Avi Schron is spearheading the new lobby group (Credit: iStock)

Cammeby’s International’s Avi Schron is spearheading the new lobby group (Credit: iStock)

It’s a bird … it’s a plane… it’s… the Alliance for Rental Excellence NY?

Continuing the tradition of landlord organizations with confusing names (looking at you, Community Housing Improvement Program and the Rent Stabilization Association), a group of landlords has formed the Alliance for Rental Excellence NY, or ARENY. The campaign, led by Cammeby International’s Avi Schron (though his spokesperson denied that leadership role), is raising money in hopes of changing the new rent law, Georgia Kromrei reports.

It’s not clear exactly how the group hopes to accomplish this, nor if it will find legislators or candidates who will work toward landlord-friendly changes. RSA President Joseph Strasburg is thus far unimpressed by the group.

“If they’re carrying out this strategy, they’ve probably isolated a few races in Brooklyn,” he said. “But they are separate and apart from all the other groups.”

ARNY, however, has the support of some of the city’s largest landlords, including real estate investment trust Clipper Equity, according to sources. It says it is not looking to unseat legislators, but declined to reveal its plans.

Four years ago, the owners of 530 Broadway put the property on the market for $450 million. It just sold for $400 million.

Wharton Properties and Thor Equities sold the retail building to Michael Shvo, Rich Bockmann reports.

Obviously the deal comes at a not-so-great time for the retail market. According to the Real Estate Board of New York, the average asking rent for ground-floor retail on Broadway in Soho this fall was $491 per square foot. At the market’s peak (spring 2015), it was $977 per square foot.

At the same time, the city seems poised to rezone Soho sometime in the near future. Late last year, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, the Department of City Planning and Council member Margaret Chin released a report recommending that the neighborhood be rezoned to enable more retail and residential use.

What we’re thinking about: Will Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s latest plans for Penn Station actually happen? Send your guesses to [email protected].


Residential: The priciest residential closing recorded Tuesday was for a townhouse at 8 East 75th Street on the Upper East Side, at $38 million. Billionaire Israel Englander is the buyer, and the seller is connected to the Sackler family, known for Oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma.

Commercial: The most expensive commercial closing of the day was for two apartment buildings at 111-115 and 148 West 141st Street in Central Harlem, at $17.4 million.


The largest new building filing of the day was for an office and retail building at 1002 Banner Avenue in Brighton Beach. Yelena Maksumov filed the permit application.


The priciest residential listing to hit the market was for a 121 East 22nd Street in Gramercy Park, at $11 million. Toll Brothers’ Alexandra Juarez and Yana Turner have the listing. — Research by Mary Diduch

A thing we’ve learned: In New York, there’s a new political action committee called “I’m Mad PAC.” It has received one donation, for $1,000. Thank you to Georgia Kromrei, who picked up this tidbit.

Elsewhere in New York

— Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to shell out $10 million for a 60-second ad during this year’s Super Bowl. Why? Because President Trump bought a 30-second spot during the game, the New York Post reports.

— The Republican Assembly member accused of drunkenly crashing his car into a ditch allegedly tried to blame his wife for the New Year’s Eve incident. Brian Kolb, who represents Finger Lakes and areas south of Rochester, told a witness, “My wife was driving!” and “You know how women drive,” Gothamist reports. Kolb has stepped down as Assembly minority leader.

— According to a new series by Politico New York, the de Blasio administration’s biggest failing when it comes to recycling is its handling of organics. The mayor has halted expansion of a program aimed at improving the city’s recycling rate, apparently for budgetary reasons.

Correction: The Daily Dirt on Monday, January 6, 2020, misstated the broker handling the top listing of the day. Sotheby’s International Realty’s Cathy Taub has the listing for a condo unit at 885 Park Avenue on the Upper East Side, at $24.5 million.

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