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October 2009
  • The big money grab

    A look at where real estate cash is coming from as the dust from the financial crisis settles

    The past year has seen a seismic upheaval of wealth. Billions of dollars evaporated during the financial crisis, and much of what’s left is changing hands at a breathtaking clip. Developer Kent Swig — the once-moneyed son of a real estate dynasty — warned, for example, that he may soon file for personal bankruptcy protection now that his beleaguered Sheffield57 condo development has been sold at a foreclosure auction to hedge fund Fortress Investment Group. […]… [more]

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  • Funding freed up for some condos

    New array of less stringent lenders helps buyers, and gets developments moving again

    New condos — the black sheep of the real estate industry for much of 2009 — are finally beginning to move again as construction progresses and developers find ways to circumvent stiff presale requirements for mortgages. For example, the Tempo condominium in Gramercy, which sat virtually buyerless for months after it went on sale in September 2008, sold 10 units this summer. In Lower Manhattan, District on Fulton Street sold 10 units in August alone. […]

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  • ‘Vornado Tornado’ gets ready to land

    Despite sliding profits, Steven Roth builds up war chest and prepares to go shopping

    “Stupid, stupid, stupid cheap.” That’s how low prices have to fall before the commercial real estate market hits bottom, Steven Roth, the chairman of Vornado Realty Trust, predicted earlier this year. In a letter to shareholders in April, the square-jawed mogul confided, “I think we are now at the third and last stupid.” Not that he’s buying yet. But in recent months, the 67-year-old real estate titan, along with CEO Michael Fascitelli, the other half of the so-called “Vornado […]

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  • For commercial brokers, the musical chairs begins

    More office buildings to switch leasing firms in the greatest upheaval seen since early '90s

    As commercial buildings change hands and landlords seek to squeeze more profit out of their properties, full-service brokerage firms are sharpening their knives for what insiders believe will be a feeding frenzy for new office leasing opportunities. A building’s leasing agent — a firm such as CB Richard Ellis or Cushman & Wakefield — represents the landlord in leasing negotiations, and such contracts often are packaged with overall building management. Unlike the residential new development condo market, where buildings change marketing agencies […]

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  • Buyers and sellers get on the same page

    While property values down, pricing is no longer high-stakes game of roulette

    Zhann Jochinke, an associate broker at Argo Residential, put an alcove studio on the market last year for $525,000. But the offers that came in were as low as $390,000. “People were putting bids out there just to see if the person had to sell,” he recalled. More recently, however, he convinced the seller to drop the price to around $490,000. Offers began coming in at “5 percent or less off the asking price,” he said. Now, the […]

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  • Ditching a condo contract? Not easy.

    Buyers look for inches to get out of new condo contracts

    It’s often said that the devil is in the details — and for many New York City buyers and sellers, that’s increasingly become the case in the down market. New development brokers and real estate lawyers say many of the attempts they are seeing among buyers to get out of contracts are from those arguing that the measurements on their condos are different from what they were promised. They say that sometimes buyers will invoke […]

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  • Finding a bottom in Brooklyn

    A neighborhood breakdown of prime Kings County -- aka Brooklyn -- shows where prices have dropped most

    Brooklyn’s official motto may be “Fuggedaboutit,” but the borough’s real estate industry is not having an easy time shaking thoughts of double-digit price drops and troubled residential projects. Overall, the median closed sales price in Brooklyn has already fallen back to 2005 levels, dropping 19 percent over the past two years, according to StreetEasy. Rental listing prices dropped 12 percent over the past year, not including all of the concessions landlords are throwing in these […]

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  • Keeping heads in hotel beds

    NYC hotels suffer as travelers scale back and downgrade from luxury to budget rooms

    Keeping heads in beds has not been easy for New York City’s hotel industry in this economy. Not only are tourists cutting back on expenses, but companies — including those that not too long ago readily put up their employees at five-star hotels — are also massively scaling back. In this month’s Q & A, hotel experts and operators talked to The Real Deal about why the hospitality industry has fallen further here than it […]

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  • Bronx apartment building on the block A six-story multifamily property at 831 Bartholdi Street in the Bronx is on the market with an asking price of $15.75 million. Also known as Stevenson Towers, the block-through elevator building in the Williamsbridge neighborhood has 122 apartments and totals 127,629 square feet. Rents at the property, built in 1973, average $1,204 per month. Matthew Slonim of Besen & Associates is handling the assignment. Washington Heights buildings for sale […]

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  • Lender infighting on the rise

    Creditors battle it out to get paid first on faltering loans

    As the real estate industry scrambles to unwind billions of dollars in distressed inventory, a number of high-profile deals are stuck in neutral as lenders battle it out with each other to see who will get paid and who will be left holding the (empty) bag. While creditors often turn on each other during a workout, the massive number of securitized loans with multiple lenders and third-party servicing firms managing the funds is creating a […]

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