New Ventures

Corcoran to write weekly column
Barbara Corcoran, who sold her behemoth brokerage the Corcoran Group in 2001 and became a TV real estate pundit, is now a columnist as well. Corcoran has agreed to write a weekly “Ask Barbara” column for the New York Daily News home section. Corcoran, 58, founded the Corcoran Group with a $1,000 loan, and sold it for about $70 million to national conglomerate Cendant.

Radar Logic launches derivatives trading
Radar Logic started up derivatives trading last month that will allow investors to take positions on the future performance of the residential market. Prices are based on transactions in 25 metropolitan residential real estate markets and one 25-city composite. Wall Street broker-dealers licensed to trade in the residential property market include Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank Securities, Goldman Sachs and Bear Stearns.

Hotel developers team with management firm
Two hotel development companies controlled by John and Jeffrey Lam, the Lam Group and Lam Generation, have signed agreements with a hotel management firm to accelerate their projects in Manhattan. Marshall Management will provide consulting services for the developers’ back-end operations, including accounting and strategic marketing planning, and will also assist in hiring and training. In Soho, the Lam Group is developing a 150-room Four Points by Sheraton, while Lam Generation is opening a 160-room Hampton Inn.

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CIT Group exits mortgage biz with big sale
Manhattan-based CIT Group will exit the mortgage business on a positive note, Crain’s reported. Just weeks after closing its mortgage unit, it said it would sell up to $4.2 billion in mortgage-backed securities to financier Freddie Mac. The deal was expected to close by the end of last month.

Real estate Web site launches blog
Reclaimed Home (www.reclaimedhome.com) has launched a new blog that will focus on do-it-yourself renovations and period restorations, with an emphasis on sustainable building. Areas covered in the blog will include New York City as well as its suburbs, exurbs and second-home locations. The Web site will also feature a forum, a store and a listings page.

Schonbraun McCann forms new strategy consulting group
The Schonbraun McCann Group, a national real estate and finance consulting firm, has created the Strategy Group, a service that will provide specialized strategy to corporate and real estate industry clients with large real estate holdings. The new venture will be headed by Barry Barovick and Liz Kulik, who joined SMG from HelixGlobal, a business and real estate advisory firm they co-founded.