Publisher’s note: Getting it right

Amir Korangy
Seven years ago this month was the release of the first issue of The Real Deal. From the very beginning, my small staff and I agreed that The Real Deal shouldn’t be influenced by anyone or any entity — that we would stick to our guns and report the news as we see it. We found real estate reporting at the time to be fluffy at best and incredibly influenced by advertisers at worst. As the second-richest industry in New York City, I felt that the real estate community deserved better.

Things are quite different today. For starters, we’re no longer headquartered in my two-bedroom Brooklyn co-op. Our magazine subscriptions have increased with each passing issue and currently we get north of 400,000 unique visitors on our Web site monthly. I take this as a testament that our philosophy of journalistic independence was the right one. Not only that, but it’s also the right thing to do.

Over the years we’ve become a trusted source, and not only for the real estate community. The banking and investment industries use our content to understand New York City’s nearly trillion-dollar real estate market.

Through the years I’ve also realized that as the front person for The Real Deal, it’s nearly impossible for me to have friends within this community. I am constantly meeting with people at all levels of the real estate industry, either for their support in the form of advertising or to get their feedback, story ideas and tips. Of course, we couldn’t survive without the support of our advertisers, but our responsibility has been, and always will be, to our readers. I truly believe that is why advertising in the magazine is effective: because people actually read us. It’s not information that people can afford to ignore.

With advertising down, our philosophy is tested on a regular basis. We are approached by developers and other real estate firms who ask us to pull stories because they don’t agree with the story angle. But if the focus of a story interests our readers and provides more market transparency, we are often left with no choice but to pursue the story and hope that the advertisers understand. The smart ones do. Sometimes advertisers respond by pulling their ad campaigns, even though we believe that independent reporting will create a stronger market for everyone. Consider, for example, how much of the 2008 crash could have been avoided with better reporting beforehand from the financial media.

With that said, we are not perfect. We make mistakes and we are the first to admit to them, which is the reason I’m writing this column this month. Our February 2010 cover story examined the increasing number of resale listings in recent condo developments. We felt that the information was vital to the market, because it provided a sense of which buildings have a high number of units owned by investors and because it looked at the buildings where the most owners were trying to get out of units bought during the boom.

The data for this piece came from, a source we and other news outlets have used in the past. After an inquiry from Allen Goldman from SJP Properties, whose building was mentioned on the cover, we discovered problems with the numbers. It turned out that Mr. Goldman was right, and we were happy he brought it to our attention. The correction should read as follows:

In the story “Condo fallout, take two,” in the February issue, the number of units listed for resale in 2009 cited by The Real Deal for each building was incorrect due to a problem with the data provided by StreetEasy. The correct numbers were recalculated by SteetEasy and should read:

Platinum: 7 resale units (the story originally mentioned 30 units)

Atelier: 102 resale units (story had 117 units)

20 Pine: 44 resale units (story had 62 units)

Orion: 91 resale units (story had 96 units)

15 CPW: 34 resale units (story had 38 units)

The Plaza: 51 resale units (story had 58 units)

Additionally, SJP Properties, the developer of the Platinum, said the number of resale units was lower than StreetEasy’s revised numbers, with the total number of resale units at 4. The number of closings at the Platinum was also incorrect. According to public property records on ACRIS, there were 169 closed units as of Jan. 25, The Real Deal‘s deadline (the story originally mentioned 162 closings). The number of closings at the building has since increased. SJP said there were 180 closings at the building as of Feb. 12, after the deadline for the story.

Setbacks aside, I remain committed to the mission we set out years ago in my co-op apartment: to provide independent information for an industry sorely in need of it.

Enjoy the issue.

Amir Korangy