October 2016 Issue

NYC’s dirty money files

Behind the money-laundering web ensnaring developers and making Manhattan real estate a ground zero
for shady cash

In 2012, Joseph Chetrit , a Moroccan real estate investor known for his New York City developments, allegedly flew to Geneva to meet Nicolas Bourg, a Belgium-based real estate fund manager, to talk about raising equity for several new projects. Bourg was representing an investment fund backed with money allegedly stolen by two Kazakhstani investors — Viktor Khrapunov, the former mayor of Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan, and Mukhtar… [more]

NYC’s top legal eagles
— 2016 edition

The law firms with the biggest real estate practices see shift in caseloads as market transitions

Just as the market goes in cycles, so too does the legal world that services it. A year ago, New York’s largest real estate law practices were feeling confident —… [more]

NYC’s multibillion-
dollar enigma

A deep dive into the inner workings of the city’s Chinese immigrant real estate market

Billy Zeng left his native Taishan in southern China in 1998 and moved into a rent-stabilized apartment in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Like millions of other… [more]

The Seaport’s sea change

How Howard Hughes’ plans for the waterfront have drastically receded

For its first development project in New York City, the Howard Hughes Corporation set out to build a massive mixed-use hub in Lower Manhattan’s South Street Seaport — complete with… [more]

Real estate bigwigs
face off in court

A look at five of the most combative lawsuits so far this year

From partnership disputes to allegations of fraud, this year has seen yet another pile of messy lawsuits in almost every corner of New York City real estate. Some of the… [more]

Meet the Chinese moguls pouring money into NYC

From marrying into the political elite to soldiering in the deserts of Mongolia,
a look at the rise of China’s biggest property tycoons

When Anbang Insurance Group agreed to pay $1.95 billion for the landmark Waldorf Astoria hotel in October 2014,… [more]

False start

Can the mayor’s affordable housing plan succeed if communities won’t accept its key initiative?

When the City Council passed sweeping changes to the city’s zoning code in March, it was heralded as a major victory for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing plan. “The… [more]

The Closing: Donald Zucker

The veteran developer on marrying
his secretary, being friends with
Bill de Blasio and Leonard Litwin,
and never retiring

Donald Zucker is the founder of the Donald Zucker Company, a Midtown-based firm that builds, buys and manages apartment and retail properties. The company,… [more]

Qatar’s new NYC strategy

Why the massive Middle Eastern sovereign wealth fund has shifted gears — going from quiet investor to major Manhattan dealmaker

Speaking at a conference hosted by Euromoney Magazine in Qatar in 2014, Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani called for a moment of … [more]

The Gowanus Gamble

With a rezoning back in the cards, can the industrial neighborhood finally shed its dirty past?

Gowanus, a neighborhood teetering on the edge of gentrification, is getting a second shot at redemption. Six years after a rezoning plan was torpedoed by the federal designation of the… [more]

The cost of tragedy

As the number of construction accidents soars, building in NYC is proving riskier than ever

On a blustery morning in February,  the members of a crane crew at a Tribeca construction site could feel the enemy at their backs. By around 8 a.m., wind gusts… [more]

Say it ain’t Shvo

The developer will face tax fraud charges in court this fall

In January 1980, Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell, the founders of legendary nightclub Studio 54, stood in court to face the music. Their offense was tax evasion, and Judge Richard… [more]

Gary Barnett’s high-stakes game of real estate Tetris

The Extell chief is on a financing roll, but he’s not out of the woods yet

In March, Extell Development chief Gary Barnett went to Israel on a firefighting mission. On the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, yields on Extell’s bonds had soared to 16 percent, effectively… [more]

The next Big Short?

With the real estate market past its peak in the current cycle, cynical investing is on the rise

J. Kyle Bass is famous for predicting the U.S. housing crisis and making millions of dollars shorting subprime mortgage bonds in 2008. So when the hedge fund manager announced this February… [more]

New status, new era, new issues for REITs

Public real estate companies get boost from a reclassification on the stock market, but low interest rates make it harder for them to find deals

This September, investors who bet on the stock market’s broad indexes got a new tool. They can now invest in real estate … [more]

Resetting selling strategies

Condo developers face new round of decisions about pricing and launching as they wade into a dicey sales market

A couple of years ago, Corcoran Group CEO Pam Liebman tried to convince a developer to accept an offer for a penthouse that was a couple of million dollars shy of… [more]

Blue collar affectation in a billionaire’s realm

The Shed’s faux-humble facade fails to elevate culture — Hudson Yards

Our cultural centers, which began as palaces, have been reduced to sheds. Specifically, the Shed, an artistic zone now rising in Hudson Yards, near the northern edge of the High… [more]

His father’s son

In a posthumous autobiography, developer William Zeckendorf Jr.
writes about his passion for building
in New York City

Even after William Zeckendorf Jr. had been firmly established as a major developer in his own right, building neighborhood-altering mega-projects from the Upper… [more]

Condo pipeline set to shrink

Number of proposed units has likely plateaued as market conditions deteriorate

The number of cranes above the Manhattan skyline – the unofficial barometer of construction activity in the city – could soon start to dwindle. That’s because after a three-year climb,… [more]

Non-bank business

Direct lenders are playing a bigger role with commercial debt deals in Brooklyn and Queens

Non-bank mortgage lenders have jumped head first into the large-loan markets in Brooklyn and Queens as banks pull back, a review of city records by The Real Deal shows. San… [more]

Editor’s note:
What wouldn’t Trump do?

It’s unclear where Donald Trump stands on money laundering — whether he is for it or against it — but maybe we’ll find out during the next debate. Given the… [more]


As scrutiny on Rivington deal intensifies, a look at the hushed role of deed restrictions
A roundup of news and data on the residential market
A roundup of news and data on the commercial market
The developer on meeting Steve Jobs, his dodgeball
bachelor party and quitting rock climbing.
A roundup of real estate-related happenings from last month
The head of Engel & Völkers’ New York office on clandestine agent meetings, being plugged into the city’s Greek community and the importance of (low-fat) ice cream
Real estate pros share picks for books on Fredrik Eklund’s social media tips, intangible platforms and Edinburgh’s subterranean city
The funniest and most insightful comments
on real estate

Comings and Goings

Meringoff Properties, the management and leasing arm of Himmel + Meringoff Properties , has promoted Jason Vacker to president and chief executive. He replaces Farrell Virga, who plans to retire… [more]

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