A wandering eye . . .

stock-photo--eye-with-arms-and-legs-walking-d-illustration-119238250I admit it. I’m a sucker for watching those shows where people buy properties in different places around the world. It can be in any country. Alaska, Hawaii or the Caribbean. It doesn’t matter. I’m not picky. I have to watch it. It’s not only limited to television nor does it have to be very exotic or far away. It can be another town or another block. If I am in an area that I am not familiar with, I often will take a side trip or purposely get lost, just to see houses. One of my closest friends lives in a very affluent area located on the North Shore of Long Island. The road to go to his house is very winding and passes a number of huge beautiful Victorian homes and large estates. I find myself (much to my wife Laura’s angst) drifting to one side of the road or the other to get a better look. She does’t let me drive there anymore. If there is a private road leading to some mysterious grand estate, I have to become “lost” trying to find a through street. Especially if there is a sign that says “PRIVATE”. How dare they keep me from seeing what is in there. I know, I have a problem.

It is not that I’m unhappy what I have or where I live. I am quite happy where I live and with the house I live in. Realistically, I have absolutely no use for a house with 8 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms. Nor does anyone in my family want to clean them. Whether or not I want it, my wife is a grounding force. On more than one occasion I have heard to the effect, “no Phil we do not need a house with a boat slip”. I don’t own a boat. In the back of my head I am thinking “but I might get a boat”. As I sit here writing, I am trying to figure out why I do this. I don’t get the sense I am jealous or want what other people have. I am quite happy for friends and family who may have a larger house or a more expensive car.

I think it’s what houses/homes/real estate represents. When I was younger, (not that long ago) I guess owning property represented financial security, wealth, continuity and permanency. Growing up, our family moved a lot. As a child, I daydreamed about owning office buildings and maybe even my very own island some day. . . My wife still kids me about the island. 32 As I got older, the need and desire developed a sense of urgency as I needed a home of my own to raise a family. I got the house but that need for continuity continued as I often thought about buying a building to have an office to run a law practice. While traveling, my family often heard the phrase “that building would be a great place for a law office”. Over the years, law school loans, mortgages and college tuition tempered my motivation to get that building. Now that I am planning for my golden years (very far off in the future), my thoughts have once again turned to real estate as a way in which to provide investments as a means to generate income in which to retire. There is a good chance that social security may not be a viable option when the need for it comes. I don’t see me receiving the same kinds of returns from the stock market or lotto as I could get from real estate.

I guess I practice real estate law because of what real estate means to me. That paired with the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction I feel when I put together (and close, most of the time) a complicated transaction or the purchase of a person’s first home. There is a feeling of pride that I have provided my clients (with what I hope is) a valuable service in achieving their goals and/or dreams. Very similar to the ones I’ve had throughout my life.


Save a realtor

My Mom was a real estate broker back in the 80’s. A prospective buyer, whom she met at her office, tied her up and placed her in the closet of a house she was showing after taking the ring off her finger. We later found out that there was a rash of similar robberies where the agent was shot after being tied up and robbed. My Mother was lucky. Maybe if an agent sees this video, they can avoid being robbed.

Strong Place Townhouses

bUILDING iMAGEDonald Brennan and Brennan Real Estate LLC have developed 3 historically contextual single-family townhomes on the corner of Strong Place and Kane Street in the Cobble Hill Historic District, Brooklyn, NY. The 5 bedroom / 3.5 bath homes measure approximately 3,800 sq ft each.

I plan on getting a tour to see what they look like. From the looks of the floor plans below, I believe these will go fast. If you want to look too, contact:

Betsy Hoffman
Brennan Realty Services LLC

Floor Plans

1031 Like Kind Exchanges and Flipping

Flipping A HouseInvestors cannot defer the gain resulting from the sale of a property that was purchased with the intent of rehabbing the property and reselling it. Courts look at a number of factors to determine the purpose of buying the property in order to qualify for deferral of gain under Section 1031 of the IRC. Some of these factors are the use of the property at the time of sale, the business of the property owner, improvements made to the property and how many properties the Seller has sold in the past.

Attached is an article by Marie Flavin, Esq. who is one of the most experienced attorneys when it comes to like-kind-exchanges.

Gmail – Shades of Gray in 1031 Flips

Hudson Yards Development. A long wait and walk?

I knew there was a lot of development going on the west side but not to this extent. An article in Curbed (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2014/09/08/the_definitive_guide_to_the_hudson_yards_development_boom.php) shows 33 projects in the works within the Special Hudson Yards District, which stretches roughly from 30th Street to 41st Street and from Eleventh Avenue to Eighth Avenue.

In articles (the above as well as others), it seems as the area will be served by the 7 subway line, Amtrak and a greenway.  I am curious how the city will be able to get access to this area through public transportation unless you are walking, on the 7 subway line or traveling on Amtrak. Will there be shuttle service to Time Square, Penn Station and the Grand Central Terminal? I am assuming there will be bus service into the area and of course taxi cabs but getting into the area from other subway lines may be pretty inconvenient.

I can only assume it will be a long while before the proposed projects are completed and the infrastructure is fully developed.  It will be a long walk  during the winter months.

 Hudson Yards Development Map

Hudson Yards Development Map

4 Downing Street (Broken Angel House)

Below is an article about the bright future of a much beleaguered property known as the “Broken Angel House”.  Alex Barrett and Barrett Design and Development who purchased the property and are developing the building are clients of Marcus Attorneys which represented them  ( by Guillermo Santiago, Esq.)  on the acquisition.

I can honestly say that in our years of representation they have always put out attractive and quality projects. If anyone can fix this broken angel, they can.

I can’t wait to see how it turns out. There will be future posts on the progress of the development as it becomes available.

Barret Design

News from Barrett Design & Development

Clinton Hill Development Boom
As land prices in downtown Brooklyn climb, investors
are migrating north to the area that hosts four subway lines

Barrett Design and Development, led by Alex Barrett, is reinventing one of the community’s beloved properties, 4 Downing St, formerly known as the Broken Angel House, as named by the pair of artists who lived there and turned it into a piece of art. (It also was the backdrop for the ’05 movie Dave Chappelle’s Block Party.) Barrett acquired the property for $4.1M in January. The four-story, 10k SF building will become eight 1,100 SF condos by Q1, and a vacant lot next door at 8 Downing will become a four-story, duplex condo building within 12 months.

Our friends at Honest Buildings clued us into the project, which has a storied history. Alex believes it was built in the late 1800s as an eight-unit railroad apartment building (albeit uncommonly wide at 40 feet). The previous owners, artists Arthur and Cynthia Wood, acquired it in 1979 and made it quite the single-family home. They removed floors to create a ziggurat-style interior and added artistic embellishments, including a 50-foot tower. The additions weren’t in line with building codes, and the property got the attention of the city after a fire in ’07. Arthur and a partner developer started removing the code violations, but the JV had financial troubles, and eventually the bank foreclosed.

Alex and team have finished removing the illegal additions (they’re keeping others). He expects to launch sales in the fall. His company also partnered with Groundswell, which identified a local artist – Misha Tyutyunik, who lives three blocks away – and The Urban Assembly Unison School, just half a block away, to work on the mural that covers the construction site fencing. The mural traces the site’s past as a farm, apartment building, Broken Angel House, and soon-to-be condos. When construction is complete, the mural will move to the school.

[Located just a short walk from 4 Downing St], the focal point of Clinton Hill’s residential development, says Massey Knakal’s Stephen Palmese, is the three-year-old Putnam Plaza at Fulton, Grand, and Putnam, part of the Department of Transportation’s initiatives to put unusual intersections (this one is a triangular intersection) to better use. Already, the public project has attracted trendy eateries Lox and Hill Cafe to open there.

More information on area development can be found in the original article:
Source: http://www.bisnow.com/uncategorized/2647-clinton-hill-development-boom/

To gain some perspective of what they started with, below is a video (Hugo’s Peep Box) of the building prior to development.

List of Manhattan Condo Projects

The Real Deal has put together a guide to more than Manhattan 70 new condo projects with units for sale. http://therealdeal.com/new-development-show-case-2014/

Scan a plan and save the world !!!!

Scan a plan and save the world !!!!

If anyone has copies of offering plans for any of these projects, please forward them so that they can be posted on Offering Planet (www.offeringplanet.com)  and made available to everyone. Thanks.

Commercial Purchase Quick Tip

A Fixer Upper

A Fixer Upper

A lot of sales of commercial buildings require as a condition that the Purchaser take subject to violations that have been levied on the property. While some of the searches can be undertaken on line (i.e. NYC Department of Buildings), there are other searches that cannot. The $500.00 spent on a title search will give a Purchaser a head’s up on any “unknown evils” that may be lurking in the shadows. You would think this would be obvious but some Purchasers would rather be penny wise but pound foolish by seeking to avoid paying the money for a title search prior to obligating themselves under a multi-million dollar purchase of a commercial building.

NYC’s top billing barristers

An article in The Real Deal (http://shar.es/Pai2B) listing some of the highest billing real estate attorneys in N.Y.C. charging clients $1,000 to $1,250 an hour.

Dear clients,

I’m not so bad, huh?

If anyone comes across any articles of interest, please sendmoney bag so they can be shared with others.