August 2015 Issue

The Collectors

From Macklowe to Minskoff, the industry moguls who have amassed the biggest art portfolios

Whenever Edward Minskoff sees the iconic image of a leather-clad Marlon Brando on a motorcycle, he thinks of the one that got away. Minskoff offered nearly $1 million in the late 1990s for Andy Warhol’s 1966 silkscreen, “Marlon,” which is based on a still from the biker film “The Wild One.” He was stunned when his offer wasn’t accepted. Minskoff claims that the art dealer misrepresented the situation and was… [more]

Saturating social

Residential firms are flooding social media, but how effective is it to
the bottom line?

The day after mega brokerage Douglas Elliman launched its new 300-plus-page magazine this spring, its top executives and brokers took to social media.  Top producer Frances Katzen posted a photo… [more]

For family dynasties:
Adapt or die

Real estate families are shaking up strategies and battling forces, like REITs and private equity,
to stay relevant

Family real estate dynasties — from the Rockefellers to the Zeckendorfs — have been building up the Manhattan… [more]

Rufrano’s repositioning

American Realty Capital’s new CEO begins executing his game plan to turn around the scandal-plagued firm

Glenn Rufrano has a long to-do list. Rufrano, who was tapped to take over the scandal-plagued American Realty Capital Properties – now renamed VEREIT – in April, is now in… [more]

The Closing: Joshua Muss

The outer borough mega developer on being born into the business, gambling and venturing over the wrong bridge

Joshua Muss is the principal of Queens-based Muss Development, a family company founded by his grandfather Isaac in 1906. The firm has developed more than 15 million square feet of… [more]

Painted with the same brush

Art and real estate are growing increasingly similar as asset classes while global wealth continues to rise

Art and real estate — like wine and cheese — have long gone hand-in-hand. So it’s no coincidence that many of New York City’s most successful real estate… [more]

For the love of art

Residential developers increasingly
add art to buildings to boost cache — and prices

Opening night at Fortis Property Group’s new condo project, 212 North 9th Street in Williamsburg, got an added boost from an unlikely source: A piece of abstract art. The building,… [more]

Who hashtagged it best?

The victories and fails of some of the residential world’s most active Instagrammers

If a picture is worth a thousand words, New York City residential brokers on Instagram, the photo-centric social platform, are a wordy bunch. This month, The Real Deal paged through… [more]

Too much money creates its own problems

Funds and REITs may be hauling huge sums of cash, but are struggling to find investments with big upsides

In the years following the 2008 crash, Barry Sternlicht was dubbed “the real estate bargain hunter” by the New York Times for buying up loan portfolios and properties at depressed… [more]

The latest target for activist investors? REITs

Tactics used to shake up broader market get deployed more often against publicly traded real estate companies

Corporate raiders like Carl Icahn and Nelson Peltz made CEOs’ pulses race in the 1980s, when they were providing inspiration for the “Wall Street” movie character … [more]

Residential brokers playing both sides of the business

Top teams see up to one-third of their business from commercial sales

When Cheerland Investments plunked down $50 million for an Upper West Side parochial school last year, residential broker Austin Schuster of Sotheby’s International Realty found himself at the center of… [more]

Win now, decide later

More buyers bid on (and win) apartments that they don’t want, robbing sellers of their crucial debut period

Call it a buyer’s security blanket. Frustrated by a lack of inventory on the market in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, and, perhaps, burned by one-too-many losses, some buyers are… [more]

New Council zoning chair
sees post as platform

Donovan Richards plans to be a neighborhood advocate as
he leads key panel

The new chair of the City Council’s subcommittee on zoning and franchises plans to use the position to advocate for affordable housing,… [more]

Dominating Deal

Mapping out just how many properties NYC’s Syrian Jewish real estate moguls own in this Jersey Shore hamlet

It’s not news in this industry that the tiny Jersey Shore hamlet of Deal is a magnet for Syrian Jewish real estate moguls. But just how much of Deal they… [more]

Spitzer’s first development foray ‘socks’ the waterfront

The ex-governor returns to his real estate roots with three bulky towers just south of the Williamsburg Bridge

Three hulking, deconstructed and robotic monsters — I mean that in a good way — will soon rise over the Williamsburg waterfront. And if the renderings … [more]

The ‘forgotten borough’
gets noticed

Four mega-projects promise a new beginning for Staten Island’s waterfront

The idea that Staten Island’s North Shore will be the city’s next hot market may invoke a few chuckles, given the borough’s backwater reputation. But there’s no doubt that change… [more]

Aurora’s ascent

The under-the-radar company has quietly built up one of the largest retail-development pipelines in the city

The Meatpacking District is, of course, one of the city’s most buzzed-about neighborhoods. Now, one of the most buzzed-about new additions to the area is on its way: a 70,000-square-foot… [more]

CMBS borrowing up sharply

Half of top 10 commercial loans
over past 12 months did not
come from banks

Top commercial owners on the hunt for low-cost financing are increasingly turning to the more restrictive terms of securitized loans over more flexible options, fueling a sharp rise in commercial… [more]

Lenders go high-tech to
spot borrowers’ lies

More agents are limiting information about homes to make quick,
full-price sales

It’s one of the most common lies that home buyers tell mortgage lenders, and it may be on the upswing: In order to get a lower interest rate and down… [more]

Real estate’s “Nixon in China” moment

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… [more]


Outdoor space goes from exclusive to ubiquitous as more landlords open up rooftops
A roundup of news and data on the residential and commercial markets
The legal eagle on the latest rent-regulation law, wind-up toys and his ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ habit
A roundup of real estate-related happenings from last month
Tim Davis
The Hamptons’ super broker on his budding spec building business, his five pets and his 30-plus listings
Insights from the desks of Elizabeth Ann Stribling-Kivlan, Rob Lehman and Aaron Shmulewitz

Comings and Goings

JLL brought aboard Steven Robinson as a vice president of retail brokerage. He will handle new business development, retail tenant representation and agency leasing services. He spent the prior 10… [more]

We Heard

It’s not to hard to envision Josh Brolin and Gene Hackman deep in negotiations on one of the most talked about real estate transactions in New York City history. Or… [more]

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