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Category Archives: RE News

The Closing: Barry Sternlicht

Barry Sternlicht, who has amassed an estimated net worth of $3 billion over the years, is co-founder, chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital Group. The investment firm manages more than $60 billion in assets, and Sternlicht is launching a public company focused on special acquisitions that will hold a $600 million IPO in May. Sternlicht is now on the hunt for discounted properties, including distressed hotels. The Brown University and Harvard Business School graduate got

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City measure to bar landlords from targeting retailers’ assets could face legal challenge

City legislation that temporarily bars landlords from going after restaurant and retailers’ personal assets may face another legal hurdle. Last week, the City Council passed a bill that suspends the enforcement of personal liability provisions in commercial leases or rental agreements for a default that occurs between March 7 and Sept. 30. The measure is aimed at shielding owners of restaurants, bars and nonessential retailers and businesses from financial ruin due to Covid-19. Under the

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Real estate asks city for property tax mercy

Developers and landlords are asking the city to freeze property taxes, slash late fees and allow monthly payment plans. The groups calling for the immediate action include the Real Estate Board of New York, the Community Housing Improvement Program and the New York State Conference of the NAACP. The Rent Stabilization Association, while not listed in the sign-ons, has also repeatedly called for a break on property taxes. Among the requests for relief, the groups

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No Covid break for big properties with unpaid taxes

A lot has changed since 1991, when the city set the interest penalty at 18 percent for unpaid taxes on large properties. Inflation and interest rates are at historic lows and a pandemic is pounding the economy, but that steep rate for late payers remains — to the dismay of the real estate industry. “No one is saying the penalty should be waived,” said Paimaan Lodhi, a senior vice president at the Real Estate Board

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States Title raises $123M to digitize title, mortgage and escrow

A San Francisco startup that’s digitizing mortgage, title and escrow said it raised $123 million — sinking another nail into the coffin of time-consuming and cumbersome real estate closings. The funding round brings States Title Inc. valuation to $623 million, according to Bloomberg. The round was led by Greenspring Associates, with participation from Foundation Capital and FifthWall Ventures. Greenspring’s Jim Lim said that stay-at-home orders meant to curb the coronavirus pandemic have “highlighted the fact

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Convene’s top design exec steps down

Convene’s top design executive is stepping down after more than 10 years with the firm, the company announced Thursday. Joyce Bromberg, Convene’s chief design officer, is resigning, just as the flex-space company braces for a gradual reopening of its 30-plus locations. The reason for her departure was not immediately clear, but according to a press release, she described her time at Convene as “the best part of my career and truly a privilege for me

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Facebook, Mastercard rethink office footprint

Facebook and Mastercard are the latest major employers to rethink their office needs as remote work grows in appeal. Mark Zuckerberg informed Facebook’s 45,000 workers on Thursday that the tech giant would shift toward more working from home, the Wall Street Journal reported. Over the next decade, the Facebook chief expects that nearly half of the company’s employees will no longer be working in offices. Mastercard, too, is reassessing its physical footprint and mulling a

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Eastern Union cut its fees. That didn’t go over well with brokers

Mortgage brokerage Eastern Union Funding recently decided to cut brokers’ fees in order to gain more business. But that didn’t sit well with some, and the company is now dealing with the fallout. Eastern Union’s plan involved slashing its fees on Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and CMBS refinancing deals from 1 percent to .25 percent. In response, a group of nine brokers at Eastern’s office in Howell, New Jersey, left last week and formed a

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Rent law dented property values – but not tax assessments

Last year’s rent reforms were a gut punch for multifamily market values in New York. But don’t expect that to be reflected in lower property tax bills just yet. That’s because property taxes due July 1 will reflect 2018 rental income, mostly collected before the power dynamic in Albany was upended and legislators ushered in some of the most aggressive rent reforms in decades, including the abolishment of the vacancy bonus, luxury decontrol and rent

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Sharif El-Gamal threatening to deconstruct condo tower, lender claims

Sharif El-Gamal built a 667-foot condo tower in Tribeca. Now he’s threatening to rip the top of it down, his lender says. The developer is playing hardball, according to the lender, warning that if a foreclosure proceeds, he will make the project much less valuable. The seeds of the strategy were sown in 2016 when El-Gamal, the head of Soho Properties, merged two zoning lots at the former so-called “Ground Zero mosque” site, where he

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