Real estate’s “Nixon in China” moment

Aug.August 01, 2015 10:04 AM
Stuart Elliott

Stuart Elliott

It’s the New York City real estate version of President Nixon visiting China, opening up East-West relations during his historic visit to the Communist country in the 1970s.

Maybe that’s a slightly lofty comparison, but that’s how excited we are about The Real Deal’s inaugural U.S. Real Estate Showcase & Forum in Shanghai next month.

And with good reason. The two-day expo is the first-ever showcase of U.S. properties in China’s largest city, with a focus on New York (of course), Miami and Los Angeles. More than 5,000 Chinese investors and wealthy homebuyers hungry for access to U.S. markets are expected for 10 panels on residential and commercial real estate.

And the delegation of speakers we’ve lined up are an impressive bunch: former Governor-turned-developer Eliot Spitzer, Greenland USA President and CEO I-Fei Chang, Kuafu CEO Shang Dai, Andrew Farkas, Stan Gale, Bruce Mosler, Fredrik Eklund, Steve Witkoff, Miki Naftali, Andrew Heiberger, Jonathan Miller and Nicholas Mastroianni II of the U.S. Immigration Fund — to name just a few. In addition to that roster, we also have big-time developers and brokers from Miami and Los Angeles. Get more details about the event, which runs from Sept. 10 to 12, at TheRealDeal.com/Shanghai.

Of course, we planned the event because of the massive amount of investment coming into the U.S. from China.

To give you a sense of things, more than $10 billion left China last year to invest in real estate globally, with nearly $3 billion of it heading to New York. And the role of Chinese money in the real estate market here is only getting bigger. So getting educated and making connections are no longer a side hobby for those in the industry. A modern-day trade route is being built for the flow of capital, and its not too late to book a flight.

There are, of course, a slew of other major stories that we’ve been closely following. As part of our never-ending mission to shine a light on the real estate industry (and on the mechanics of how power and money in New York work), we’ve had some nice scoops in the past month or so on our website, that go beyond our China coverage.

We broke news on the biggest condo sale ever in the works in the city (for $250 million) at 220 Central Park South. We wrote a story about the Attorney General’s office and its ruling to limit access to public records, which they later overturned after our reporting. We also did a data dive debunking the conventional wisdom that nearly all purchases over $5 million are all-cash deals. And we had another first-ever story tallying up the amount of super-wealthy buyers out there relative to the supply of super-pricey condos. Finally, we had a fun story that revealed how 432 Park — the tallest residential tower in the city — was modeled after a trash basket.

Those stories and others are being driven by our talented and expanding reporting staff, as well as by our growing research team (now at four people), which allows us to dive into records and data in new and more sophisticated ways. Look out for our new research section, which will be launching in the fall.

There is plenty to feast on in the issue, too.

Our cover story zeros in on the connection between art and real estate, looking at some of the biggest industry moguls with the largest collections. In a companion story, we look at how the art and real estate markets work in tandem as asset classes for the wealthy, and bear striking similarities. It makes sense: Just like there are only so many Rothkos or Basquiats, there are only so many views from 1,500 square feet in the air inside the supertall towers on “Billionaire’s Row.”

We also take a look at New York’s heralded real estate dynasties working to stay relevant and reinvent themselves in the face of REITs and private equity money (go to page 32 to find out which one is looking to get into the medical marijuana business).

We also examine how effective social media is for the bottom line, surveying the residential firms leading the way on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. And finally, in the waning days of summer, we take a look at property in the small beachside town of Deal on the Jersey Shore, where more than one-third of the homes are owned by members of New York City real estate families. Deal is certainly the appropriate name.

Enjoy the rest of the summer. Will we see you in China?


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