Real estate in brief

Construction company owner pleads guilty to tax evasion

New York City-based construction company owner Michael Lynch pleaded guilty today to tax evasion, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York’s office. Lynch, who owned several Queens-based construction companies, including High Tower Construction and High Tower Corporation, paid his workers in cash through under-the-table exchanges in order to avoid paying necessary taxes, such as employer and employee Medicare taxes. The illegal activity occured between 2001 and 2003, during which time Lynch reportedly withheld more than $155,729 in federal payroll taxes. Lynch could face up to five years in prison.

Connecticut housing market improving, but wavering

September single-family homes and condo sales figures in Connecticut were similar to numbers from the same time period a year ago, according to a report released this week by the Warren Group. The report comes as home prices in the region have endured month after month of declines; September median home prices dropped 8 percent from the previous month. Timothy Warren, CEO of the Warren Group, said that while Connecticut home prices are still declining, and housing sales aren’t improving as rapidly as neighboring Massachusetts, which has seen three consecutive months of increased sales, he was satisfied that housing sales have remained relatively flat month-to-month. Warren noted that the 8 percent decline is the first time that the median home prices in the state have seen a non-double-digit decline. “Down 8 percent isn’t good, but it’s better than what we saw in the first quarter,” Warren said.

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Construction begins on Columbia leased space

Construction has begun on Columbia’s newly-leased second floor space at 880 Third Avenue on the corner of 53rd Street, Jack Resnick & Sons’ 18-story office tower. The 7,300-square-foot space will be transformed into a university opthalmology center after an extensive renovation and development effort by Aragon Construction and AIA: Integrated Design Group. The cost of construction was not readily available.

Clipper aims to attract buyers at BellTel Lofts by paying closings costs

Clipper Equity, the developer of BellTel Lofts in Downtown Brooklyn, announced today that it will cover closing costs for purchases who sign contracts in the building between Nov. 1 and Nov. 25. Ilan Bracha, a broker with Prudential Douglas Elliman, is exclusively marketing BellTel Lofts, said that by removing the closing costs the developer is enhancing the value of the listings. The closing costs for BellTell residences under $1 million are around 5 percent of the overall purchase price, according to a statement from the developer. TRD

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