ICYMI: The Real Deal’s top stories of 2024 so far

Here’s your long weekend read

ICYMI: The Real Deal’s Top Stories of 2024 So Far

From left: Nir Meir, Bob Knakal, Abe Cohen and Don Tepman aka “StripMallGuy” (Getty, LinkedIn, The Real Deal)

Whether you’re out east in the Hamptons or trying to stay cool in the city this long weekend, there’s no better time to catch up on what you’ve missed from The Real Deal for the first few months of the year.

Here are the ten stories that drew the most new subscribers:

Why the Barry Drillman case is such a big deal

In December, little-known Brooklyn-based real estate investor Boruch Drillman pleaded guilty for his role in a $165 million fraud scheme. Drillman and his co-conspirators allegedly used fake closings with inflated sales prices to obtain larger loans than they would have received otherwise.

Real estate fraud is not unheard of in New York or New Jersey, but this particular case has had a domino effect on mid-market real estate.

Cushman in crisis: $3B in debt, leadership carousel

Cushman & Wakefield is in the midst of one of its most challenging years in its century-long history, and not just because of the wretched state of commercial real estate. There’s been a revolving door at the brokerage’s top post, along with piles of debt and questionable decisions.

The Real Deal took readers inside the company to gauge the crisis of confidence at the firm.

Abe Cohen did nearly everything right, yet multifamily deals still went bad

At first glance, it’s hard to tell why Abe Cohen’s debt on a largely free-market multifamily portfolio went into special servicing. After all, the Conway Capital leader didn’t face some of the other pitfalls seen in today’s multifamily distress environment, such as floating-rate loans or low occupancy.

We dove into the data to assess where Cohen seemingly went wrong.

Lawmakers reach sweeping housing deal with “good cause eviction,” new 421a

One of the biggest stories of the first months of the year was the budget debate unfolding in Albany and how it would affect the housing market, rental market and development. It took some time, but New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and state legislators reached a deal in mid-April, which included a pair of controversial policies.

The Real Deal highlighted the budget’s most important tenets for the real estate industry.

Meet the real guy behind anonymous “StripMallGuy” X account

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In an exclusive for The Real Deal, we took a peek behind the curtain and revealed the man behind the real estate famous X account known as “StripMallGuy,” which has amassed more than 215,000 followers. This was the first time he went public since starting the account three years ago.

Bob Knakal out at JLL

One of the biggest personnel moves of the year so far was Bob Knakal’s departure from JLL. The Real Deal was one of the first publications to break the news of Knakal’s ouster from the firm after a six-year relationship. Knakal (and his famous map room) is trying to go his own way after years as one of New York City’s top commercial sales brokers.

Tides shops for cash to prop up 30 Sun Belt properties

Tides Equities, a syndicator that pools equity to buy up apartment complexes, has made multiple headlines in recent months. In February, The Real Deal broke the news that the Los Angeles-based firm was looking to obtain $69 million in preferred equity to shore up 30 properties across the Sun Belt market.

Many of Tides’ loans on its properties have run into trouble because of the reliance on floating-rate debt.

Nir Meir, HFZ Capital and Omnibuild execs charged with grand larceny

Nir Meir’s saga came to a head multiple times this year, landing the former HFZ Capital Group executive in New York’s most notorious prison. In February, the Manhattan district attorney charged Meir and executives of both HFZ Capital Group and Omnibuild in a scheme that allegedly netted them tens of millions of dollars.

Omnibuild was the contractor for The XI, HFZ’s trophy condo project on the High Line that ultimately ended up in the hands of other developers.

Read more

Barry Drillman case led to Fannie ban of Riverside, Madison Title
Why the Barry Drillman case is such a big deal
CRE Firm Cushman & Wakefield Is In Crisis
Cushman in crisis: $3B in debt, leadership carousel
New York Landlord Abe Cohen Defaults on Market-Rate Multifamily Debt
New York
Abe Cohen did nearly everything right, yet multifamily deals still went bad

Behind the syndicator machine targeting new investors for multifamily feeder funds 

The boom in multifamily syndication has brought all types of investors into the real estate fold. Investors aim to renovate, raise rents, distribute returns and exit at a profit. Syndicators have targeted investors looking for strong returns, tax benefits and an escape from the 9-to-5 monotony.

The Real Deal profiled some of these investors, who include doctors, dentists, engineers, pilots and more.

Behind the collapse of NAR’s big vision for brokers

An existential crisis has taken hold of the National Association of Realtors. Antitrust litigation, public criticism, regulatory scrutiny and some serious internal issues have reared their head in recent months.

As NAR tries to chart its future, we took a look at whether or not a mass exodus could be ahead for the dominant trade group, and what NAR will look like going forward.