The Real Deal New York

story index

March 2010
  • Will Sam Zell’s confidence be contagious?

    Mogul's recent NYC buys create much-needed jolt -- and there may be more in the works

    It’s hard to find a real estate figure with a better reputation for timing the markets than Sam Zell. The blunt, motorcycle-riding, Chicago-based mogul is known for snapping up distressed assets when prices hit bottom. No surprise, then, that a spate of unexpected, high-profile deals involving the Zell-chaired REIT, Equity Residential, is generating a growing sense of elation among local real estate players desperate for signs of a recovery. “Does it get any better than […]… [more]

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  • Real estate’s dark side

    From stealing buildings to faking city construction documents, more fraud being detected

    When it comes to real estate scams and crimes in New York, no economic cycle is spared. As The Real Deal and other publications have documented, a number of cash-strapped industry players have turned to devious acts during the recession as finances have grown tight. But it’s not just the bad times that breed bad behavior. Many of the scams now being discovered and prosecuted have their roots in the mid-2000s era of lax underwriting […]

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  • Recession prompts more broker poaching

    Firms look to grab agents ahead of rebound

    There’s a recession. Deals are scarce. Commissions are shrinking. It’s a great time for broker rustling. Commercial services firms are aggressively poaching their competitors’ brokers and research analysts, figuring they will be better positioned to win market share once a rebound takes hold. The slow transaction volume means fewer money-making deals are tying brokers to their firms, creating ripe opportunities for rival firms to exploit the age-old tension between the lower-ranked agents and their senior […]

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  • These dollar days

    99-cent stores and other discount retailers seize opportunities during the recession

    99-cent stores are proliferating all over the city because of the down economy. Bargain retailers are having a New York City moment. Emboldened by recession-friendly rents, local 99-cent stores are spreading their wings in the outer boroughs and eyeing Manhattan. Other discount stores — from Costco to outlet store Nordstrom Rack — are also in a New York City growth spurt. “We came out of a retail climate where credit was king, and everyone traded up,” […]

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  • Still no ‘overspending’ in Hamptons, but…

    Renters coming out earlier and owners seen as less flexible on pricing

    The interior of 25 Rawson Road in Sag Harbor. The home is listed for rent with Sotheby’s International Realty for $350,000 for the season.Every year, Hamptons broker Jane Gill gets a call from the same Wall Street trader, looking for a summer rental with a fenced-in yard, an acre of property and a garage for his Ferrari. He always calls at the last minute, usually around Memorial Day, hoping to get a good deal: a […]

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  • New Manhattan condos see rise in foreclosures

    A look at the buildings with the most lis pendens in the last year

       From left: 1600 Broadway, Cipriani Club Residences and 555 West 23rd Street One in every 13 homes is in some stage of foreclosure. Half are either listed for rent or sale, some at 30 percent less than what the previous owner paid only a few years earlier. This predicament isn’t playing out in some outer-borough neighborhood. It’s happening in Manhattan, behind the Grecian stone columns and hulking bronze doors of the Financial District’s Cipriani […]

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  • Mr. Donovan goes to Washington

    After arriving in midst of financial crisis, former NYC commissioner Shaun Donovan puts out fires and sets new focus on cities as nation's top housing chief

    Shaun Donovan last month in his office at HUD headquarters in Washington, D.C. Shaun Donovan was in a car headed to a luncheon at the Marriott Marquis with three colleagues when his phone rang with the news that Barack Obama wanted him as the nation’s chief housing czar. All three coworkers were unaware that their boss, then-commissioner of the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, had met secretly with Obama in Chicago to discuss […]

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  • Asking rents for offices rise in select submarkets

    Despite boost from luxury buildings, brokers still gloomy about conditions

    Although they may be just beguiling mirages that will fade upon approach, there are some submarkets where asking rents have jumped in the past months, a trend that runs counter to the dour predictions from Manhattan leasing brokers that taking rents won’t rise for more than a year. In the Meatpacking District, for example, Charles Blaichman’s CB Developers High Line building that remains under construction at 450 West 14th Street has asking rents above $100 […]

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  • At night, the sidewalks around Steven Kamali’s office in the Meatpacking District teem with partygoers. The location seems appropriate for Kamali, whose hospitality firm helps launch restaurants and clubs in Manhattan’s trendiest neighborhoods. But his latest project is outside the familiar West Village and West Chelsea terrain: He’s searching for someone to run a supper club planned for Times Square’s Paramount Hotel. Work may take him Uptown, but don’t expect him to relocate anytime soon. “I don’t think I would get the […]

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  • The mechanics of a con job

    A behind-the-scenes look at three New York City case, with allegations of bribery, fraud and embezzlement

    Real estate scams are the crime du jour, it seems. In the 2000s, the era of easy credit and lax lending standards created a compelling motive for fraud that legal experts say is still being uncovered. Even now, with prices down from the peak, New York City real estate is pricey enough to tempt would-be criminals. “You’re going to have a big problem with this kind of fraud [when] there’s so much money to be […]

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