marcus attorneys

Another stupid meme and some info . . . .

We are expecting the book to be finalized in the next day or so and will be sending out copies shortly. If you wish to receive a free copy and have not already done so, please go to and sign up (providing us with your email). I really appreciate everyone’s support.-Thanks, Phil


Another stupid meme . . . .

Visit for a free copy of my book, “How to buy a condo in NYC” in exchange for an honest review on Amazon. – Thanks

Real Life Monopoly


Growing up, my brother, cousins, nephew and I would play Monopoly all  night. We would stay up until the wee hours of the morning playing, building our pretend empires, arguing over who was cheating (Dan . . . ).

This past week, I played Monopoly for real. A year in the making, we closed on the sale of a $21,000,000 hotel. One of the more intense projects I’ve been involved with. In the days (really months) leading up to it there were countless things that had to be accounted for, prepared and crossed off huge checklists which seemingly got longer as we got closer to the day we were working towards. Even though the deal was done and we were close to the end there were last-minute side deals that had to be thought out, negotiated and documented as parties jockeyed for position. I found myself up late the night before sitting in my dining room answering emails, proofreading documents and much like the Monopoly marathons I had as a kid, making sure no one was cheating.  The morning of the closing was bright, sunny and not as hot as it could have been for an August day on Wall Street. Surely a good sign as we arrived from that far off land called Brooklyn.We came armed with accordion files, computers and cell phone chargers, The room was filled with paper. Lots of paper. Lawyers on phone arguing with other lawyers. Others leaning over laptop spreadsheets mulling over numbers; Title closers running back and forth from a huge copy machine down the hall from this glass cubicle which seemed to hold a hundred people. Everyone in my office worked incredibly hard. It started at 10:00 in the morning and broke up at 5:30 p.m. Business finally concluded 1:00 the next day.

This (The Closing by Jimmy Dyer) is what it looked like:


There is no rest for the weary as we are on to multiple replacement deals spanning from Manhattan to the Hamptons.

As to complexity and magnitude there was a  big sense of accomplishment, satisfaction and relief that we got it done.  Still not as fun as Monopoly as a kid . . . .




Long Island’s new urban condo wave on the upswing — The Real Deal New YorkHome Page – The Real Deal New York

Watchcase in Sag Harbor From the Long Island Market Report: Older homeowners downsizing and younger couples moving from the city have fueled a recent surge in the number of Long Island condominium projects and their trend toward city-style designs and amenities, according to developers and brokers. An analysis of attorney general filings for condo projects…

via Long Island’s new urban condo wave on the upswing — The Real Deal New YorkHome Page – The Real Deal New York


The one thing I love about NYC and why I enjoy practicing as a real estate attorney there is the way the city reinvents and re-purposes itself. Multiple family and commercial buildings are commonly converted into condominiums. This can be viewed as a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that the development of these large single purpose properties into multiple single family dwellings saves many a commercial and industrial building from sitting unused or the wrecking ball. It also fills a need. It allows people a relatively affordable way to own a home of their own and still be within 30 minutes from work or or any place else in the city. It allows purchasers certain tax benefits available to homeowners and the ability to build equity over a period of time through appreciation and repayment of loans financing a purchase. The industries associated with the purchase, sale, development and financing of real estate provide jobs and financial stability to people that work and live in or near one of the greatest cities in the world (in my opinion).

Some view redevelopment and the gentrification of parts of NYC not as a blessing but a curse. The conversion of multiple family buildings into condominiums tends to reduce affordable rental housing in certain areas to people who cannot afford to purchase apartments at $500-$1000 a square foot. This is not to say people are automatically ejected from their homes. Tenants are protected by rent stabilization laws and cannot be kicked out if they are in a building that is being converted to condominiums. In some instances tenants are handsomely compensated for moving from an apartment in a converted building. Although not always comfortable or convenient, change is sometimes good. Similar to the laws of supply and demand that drive development of condominium buildings, the demand for rental buildings is prompting development of areas that previously were subject to blight. In the last 10 -15 years I have witnessed remarkable development down the Atlantic Avenue corridor from East New York to the Atlantic Avenue hub where the LIRR station resides. Former vacant lots dotted by rusting cars and abandoned boarded up buildings have given way to schools, brand new apartment buildings and hotels. Don’t get me wrong. there is still a lot that needs to get done but just like more affluent areas, a need that exists is being met making what was once stagnant and unusable into a productive part of society.

13 Greene Avenue (then)

13 Greene Avenue (then)

Fort Greene, Brooklyn where my office is located,is a prime example of an area that has undergone great changes in response to the people that live and work there. Now I have never lived there but I have had the privilege of working at Marcus Attorneys located in Fort Greene since 2000 (really my second home). In speaking with long time residents of the area, living in Fort Greene was no picnic. Gunfire and crime were common occurrences in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Mortgages were not given by banks in the area. The only way a mortgage was given in Fort Greene was securing a loan provided by a Seller. Single cigarettes were sold from behind Plexiglas windows at the corner bodega. Things sure have changed. Fort Greene is now one of the most sought after areas in Brooklyn to live. Housing prices have more than quadrupled in the last 15 years. The corner bodega is now is a Asian fusion restaurant selling a really good $15.00 hamburger. Yes I tried it. The long time fix a flat now sells coffee at a cost that rivals Starbucks in price. The hardware store across the street is now a German beer garden and the check cashing place is now a veterinarian clinic. The building where my law practice is located has worn many hats and gone through different changes before becoming the official site of Marcus Attorneys. Going back to the 1890’s, it has been the home of dentists, doctors, a millinery (hat maker), a restaurant and a bar. Coincidentally, the father of one of my clients was a long time local attorney who operated his office where I do now. That’s what makes NYC great. As one of the world’s financial focal points, everyone wants or needs to work in or near New York City. This drives the revitalization of different areas which, in turn, brings new families and businesses to serve them. You don’t always see it and you may not like it but people, places and things will and do change. Always have and always will.
13  Greene Avenue (Now)

13 Greene Avenue (Now)

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:

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

What the heck happened to Phil Lavender?

It has been a while since my last blog post. Resulting from an old sports injury, doctors told me that if I did not undergo surgery there is a good chance I would end up in a wheel chair. To say the least, this got my attention. I underwent an eight-hour surgery (actually two surgeries) to repair damage resulting from a twenty-six year old wresting accident sustained while in college. A big thank you goes out to Dr. Shuriz Hishmeh ( He was great and I highly recommend him.

I have to tell you, some pretty scary stuff. Not just for me but for my family and friends. After the operation, I started therapy and have been at it since, getting myself up to speed physically. On a day-to-day (and nightly) basis, I don’t know how I would have gotten through without the love, support and assistance of my wife, Laura and son, Ben.

I want and need to extend a special and heartfelt thank-you to Jed Marcus and the people at Marcus Attorneys. I have been with Jed and Marcus Attorneys for quite a bit of time now. Over the years, Jed has shown himself to be a caring and kind person. A true gentleman.  Everyone at Marcus Attorneys rolled up their sleeves and pulled together to pick up the slack in my absence. Thank you all.

During my recovery and especially upon my return to work, I encountered the largest outpouring of support and concern. Not only from the people in my law firm but from my clients as well. It was truly touching.

It is said by someone that the measure of a man’s life is counted by the number of people affected by his absence. Based on the amount of cards, emails, phone messages and the well wishes I received, I am a truly lucky man.

Now it is time to do something in return. One of my goals is to try to provide as much quality information about real estate as I can.

Is there anything you want me to write a blog post about?

 To be honest, a lot of the content on my blog, www.lavenderlawblog  comes directly from the emails that people have sent me asking to cover a certain topic. That’s why I wrote Selling a Cooperative-Quick Tipand Coop apartment ownership-Joint Tenancy or By-The Entirety. What’s the difference?,  just to name a couple – and they’ve become some of my top articles on my site.


 Because you asked for them! The way I see it, there’s no point in writing for myself. I should do all in my power to write for you.

 I’d really like to hear your suggestions. I’ll do my best to answer as many questions in actual blog posts as I can. I may not be able to get to all of them, but I’ll do my best.

 All you have to do is reply to this 🙂

 Thanks again for your support and I hope to hear from you soon.


 Phil Lavender