The Real Deal New York

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September 2009
  • Cracking down on bailing buyers

    As buyers attempt to shed contracts, builders try 'stepped' deposits and 'within reason' clauses

    In this weak real estate market, new condo developers possess relatively little in their arsenals to arm themselves against the onslaught of purchasers seeking to back out of contracts. But there are a few measures developers can take to protect themselves without scaring off potentially legitimate buyers. Some developers, for instance, are using new clauses designed to prohibit buyers from litigating their way out of deals. Real estate attorney Adam Leitman Bailey pointed to clauses […]… [more]

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  • Shuttered firms put more properties in play

    What happens to listings when a brokerage folds or an agent jumps ship?

    When a broker switches firms, mailing out glossy announcement cards is the easy part. What’s not so simple is wresting listings away from the old firm to bring them to the new one. The armor-plated contracts that govern exclusive listings threaten sellers with punitive fees or lawsuits if they try to pick up and follow a relocating broker. But the recent shuttering of several New York firms has shaken loose hundreds of listings, in a […]

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  • Mastering the market

    During tough times, brokers turn to new strategies

    In the summer of 2008, no one could have foreseen how much the real estate industry would change in only a year. Prices that once accelerated at a dizzying pace are now declining. Sales volume and rental transactions have been cut in half. Commissions are smaller and brokers’ fees paid by renters are largely a thing of the past. New developments, once the city’s most sought-after properties, are now nearly impossible to sell amid a […]

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  • The king of contrarians

    Behind George Comfort's $590 million buy, the biggest since Wall Street's fall

      Peter Duncan, the president of George Comfort & Sons, would probably not be faulted by many in the real estate community for whooping it up with a big “I told you so” to all those who predicted he would never seal the deal on the purchase of Worldwide Plaza. But unlike many of his contemporaries, Duncan refuses to take a victory lap to celebrate the deal, or boast about his prowess in timing the […]

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  • New York’s biggest managing agents

    A look at who controls the most buildings, units

    Managing buildings — a job that often encompasses everything from fixing toilets to making sure a property is up-to-date on its permits — is not exactly the most glamorous sector of the real estate market in New York. But it does provide essential grease that helps keep the market moving smoothly. And in these strained economic times, good management can play a crucial role in retaining rental tenants and making co-ops or condos attractive to […]

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  • Breaking the co-op barrier

    Choosiness or discrimination? In tight economic environment, board turndowns get more scrutiny

    No one knows exactly why Jeff Blau, the 41-year-old president of the Related Companies, was denied a co-op board interview this spring at exclusive 820 Fifth Avenue. In what would have been one of the biggest deals of the year, Blau reportedly planned to pay $31 million for a fourth-floor spread at the limestone building between 63rd and 64th streets, where each apartment takes up a floor. Many possible explanations for the high-profile turndown have […]

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  • Flying under the radar

    The mysteries behind F.M. Ring and other press-shy players

    In the West 20s, the name “F.M. Ring Associates” is emblazoned on the sides of numerous buildings. The fading mural-like advertisements look like relics from a bygone era. Brokers say much of Ring’s valuable portfolio, most of which is in the prime neighborhoods of Gramercy, Chelsea and Flatiron, sits strangely empty. This month, The Real Deal looks at the mystery of the Ring family and profiles a host of big under-the-radar players in New York. […]

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  • New York’s new call to ARMs

    A culprit of the bust, adjustable-rate mortgages make a comeback

    When the subprime mortgage crisis hit, adjustable-rate mortgages morphed from a widely popular loan option to a widely derided culprit in the residential real estate meltdown. However, now these variable loans, known as ARMs, are making a major comeback in New York City. Since June, they have spiked to 20 percent of the business at Equity Now, a Manhattan-based direct mortgage lender, from zero throughout 2008 and the beginning of this year. Brokers at a […]

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  • Ring, Ring: Is anybody home?

    F.M. Ring hides in plain sight, with many valuable and empty properties in prime Chelsea and Gramercy

    In the West 20s, the name “F.M. Ring Associates” is emblazoned on the sides of numerous buildings. The large, fading mural-like advertisements look like mysterious relics from a previous incarnation of the city. And to many in the real estate industry, F.M. Ring Associates, a firm that owns or has an ownership stake in 15 office buildings, most of them in Chelsea and Gramercy, is itself a mysterious relic of a bygone era. Brokers say […]

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  • Office leasing sees Cash for Clunkers-type spike

    As incentives get sweeter, tenants sign more deals

    Strong leasing velocity is beginning to remove the fear that the Manhattan leasing market will go into freefall, as landlords continue to provide aggressive incentives — such as rent reduction clauses and offers to buy out expiring leases — to get contracts signed, brokers said. Incentives that were completely unheard of a year ago, or at least difficult to get put in a deal, are now being offered regularly, said Robert Stella, executive vice president […]

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