Banking on uncertainty, tensions are high in real estate
First Republic Bank’s sale to JP Morgan Chase added to industry angst
Another week, another bank failure.
On Monday, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation seized First Republic Bank and sold it to JPMorgan Chase, ending weeks of tumult that saw the institution’s stock plunge nearly 90 percent the past two months.
The sale to JPMorgan, the country’s largest bank, likely includes $103 billion in residential mortgages, some $23 billion in multifamily loans and close to $11 billion in other commercial real estate obligations.
First Republic was known for providing mortgages to an elite clientele and was also a prominent lender to landlords, serving as San Francisco’s top multifamily lender in the first quarter of 2023, according to Colliers.
“They are going to leave a gaping hole in this market in the short-term,” Brad Lagomarsino, a Colliers multifamily broker in San Francisco, said. “You’re seeing people gravitate towards the Chases of the world.”
Barry Sternlicht, the Starwood Property Trust chairman, had some choice words for the Federal Reserve’s decision to hike interest rates another 0.25 percent.
“The government is completely screwed up,” he said on the REIT’s first-quarter earnings call Thursday.
Sternlicht called the move — which pushed rates to over 5 percent for the first time in over 15 years — “bordering on idiotic,” as regional banks are becoming “the biggest victims” of the government’s “stupidity.”
Billionaire real estate developer Ben Ashkenazy also didn’t hold back his emotions in a series of text messages he sent to Raymond Gindi. The duo have been engaged in an ongoing feud over a refinancing and capital calls on their co-owned Cross County Mall in Yonkers, New York.
“No wonder you lost and bankrupted your $2 bil business that your dad left you with no debt,” Ashkenazy wrote, according to court papers. “You will lose much more with your destruction and business harassment. More than you know. …
“I’m going to crush you for damages you have caused me.”
This came on top of Ashkenazy calling Gindi a “schmuck” whom he “can’t wait to punish.”
Speaking of nasty texts, Manny Chamizo, a Coral Gables commercial broker with One Sotheby’s International Realty, is accused of having sent several threatening messages and letters to a married couple who Sotheby’s claims in a lawsuit owes Chamizo commission on a sale.
Chamizo allegedly ordered Eddy Fernandez and his wife, Adriana Fernandez, to pay the commission and that they “can’t hide” from Chamizo, according to county records. A letter, sent in August 2020, allegedly included a matchbox with a single burnt match and a note reading “We can get to you.”
Chamizo also allegedly threatened, among other things, to beat up Eddy Fernandez the next time he saw him.
A criminal complaint has been filed.