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National Cheat Sheet: Online RE investment platform scores funding from Steven Cohen, Florida suspends construction rules to rebuild post-Irma … & more

By James Klatell | September 23, 2017 09:00AM

Clockwise from left: Janet Yellen, Nile Niami’s “Opus,” Ray Sturm and Steve Cohen

From TRD New York: AlphaFlow scores investment from Steven Cohen’s VC fund
Online real estate investment platform AlphaFlow raised $4.1 million in a seed funding round this week. The investors were led by Steve Cohen’s Point72 Ventures and Resolute Ventures and included other big name tech funds. AlphaFlow buys residential bridge loans from crowdfunding companies and hard-money lenders and puts them on “an automated investment platform,” which allows institutions to invest in them. [TRD]

Interest rates hold steady as Fed begins to sell bonds
The Federal Reserve’s policy of so-called quantitative easing is coming to an end as the Fed announced this week it will begin selling the bonds acquired in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The Fed left interest rates unchanged, but officials said they expect one more increase in short-term rates this year. [TRD]

Agents tell TRD how they do business safely
Meeting strangers in empty homes is how real estate agents get the job done. The National Association of Realtors found that while just 4 percent reported actually being the victims of a crime, 38 percent of respondents said they felt unsafe in the last year. Agents told The Real Deal that personal safety is a major factor in how they conduct business. “There are multiple times where you are standing there and someone is intimidating,” said Justine Bray, a broker with Brown Harris Stevens. [TRD]

MAJOR MARKET HIGHLIGHTS

Florida suspends some construction rules to hasten post-Irma recovery
The state of Florida will suspend certain regulations to speed up repairs at properties damaged by Hurricane Irma. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation issued an emergency order to “suspend certain regulations and fees that may prevent, hinder or delay” construction work, including roof repairs and installations. [TRD]

Brokers try to polish the image of South Florida’s coastal homes
South Florida’s luxury market made it through Hurricane Irma mostly intact, but now agents and brokers are trying to polish the appeal of storm-prone coastal communities. Cervera Real Estate, for example, posted photos of sunny, dry streets and clean, pristine beaches on social media, using the hashtags #MiamiOpenForBusiness and #CondosWithPower. [TRD]

Kushner’s 666 Fifth Avenue benefited from a highly unusual appraisal
Kushner Companies’ record $1.8 billion acquisition of 666 Fifth Avenue in 2007 didn’t look that risky to the bond investors who funded it, because of a highly unusual appraisal. Appraisers valued the property’s office portion alone at $2 billion, making the entire property worth up to $3 billion — about 70 percent more than Kushner paid. [TRD]

NYC attorneys discuss how landlords can maximize collections
The message real estate attorneys have for New York landlords fighting with their tenants is simple: don’t go to court. “If you go to court, you’re really a loser to begin with,” Cory Weiss, a partner at Ingram Yuzek, told the audience at the New York Multifamily Summit. “Because the courts are so tenant-oriented that a tenant could spend months in court not having to pay any rent and then sign a stipulation giving him or her six months to pay the rent,” he said. “The judge won’t impose legal fees on tenants.” [TRD]

Sex doesn’t sell for $100 million: LA’s “Opus” gets $15M price chop
Developer Nile Niami’s trophy spec mansion “Opus” was introduced with a racy listing video featuring half-naked women painted gold and a $100 million price tag, but the 20,500-square-foot Beverly Hills mansion just got a $15 million price cut. Three Damien Hirst paintings, a gold Rolls-Royce Dawn and Lamborghini Aventador Roadster are reportedly no longer part of the sale price. [TRD]

Developers vying for property $20M in tax breaks in Atlanta
Invest Atlanta, the city’s Economic Development Authority, is set to approve development projects for property tax breaks that could be worth more than $20 million over the next decade. Among the biggest potential winners is North American Properties, which submitted a plan to redevelop Colony Square into a 200,000-square-feet of office space and a retail component including a food hall and movie theater. [Bisnow]

Third time’s a charm: Chicago approves revised Uptown development
The Chicago Plan Commission gave approval for a 12-story development in Uptown after changes to the design. Developer Clayco and architect Forum Studio plan to include ground floor retail, 150 rental units and just 29 parking spaces, which met reductions sought under Chicago’s Transit-Oriented Development Ordinance. Clayco’s first design was for an eight-story building, and the second was a 12-story building with a brick-like facade. [Curbed]