Attorneys are behind the scenes of any real estate transaction. They counsel their clients on land use, zoning and a labyrinth of abstruse regulations. Commercial Observer felt that all of these attorneys could have found their way onto our Power 100 list, but we’ve chosen to showcase them here, since they, too, deserve to be acknowledged for their contributions to New York’s real estate ecosystem.
The owner of Lulu’s bar in Greenpoint, Brooklyn who is suing his landlord for an alleged anti-homosexual clause built into his lease may have the law on his side.
Brooklyn City Councilman David Greenfield is tired of property owners neglecting to clear their sidewalks of snow and ice this winter.
Armed with dozens of complaints, the councilman, who represents Borough Park, Midwood and parts of Bensonhurst, is proposing a new law that would increase the fine to delinquent residential and commercial property owners and use that revenue to pay for municipal workers to clear the sidewalks.
When the credit crisis hit and the real estate market all but collapsed, news of disgraced developers became commonplace, their tales more often than not layered with intrigue.
Take Kent Swig, who, after being divorced by his wife, filed an affidavit in May responding to a lawsuit filed by his ex-father-in-law, industry luminary Harry Macklowe, arguing that Mr. Macklowe embarked on a “vendetta” aimed at “starving” him of every last penny.
But as the downfalls of real estate tycoons like Mr. Macklowe, Shaya Boymelgreen, Bruce Eichner and Larry Gluck stack up like so many new developments across Manhattan’s skyline, analysts and the city’s landlords themselves have begun to wonder aloud if there’s a limit to how much real estate can be accumulated.
“A developer’s function is to develop property, and sometimes they develop and develop until they can’t develop anymore,” said appraiser Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel Inc., a real estate appraisal and consulting firm based in New York City. “Where people fell short was that the market was more powerful than them … the market is brutal, and it has no compassion.”
Adam Leitman Bailey strode into the lobby of his lower Manhattan law firm dressed in a dark blue suit and blue shirt, his extended cuffs all but dangling from his jacket. No sartorial misstep, Mr. Bailey would explain. The cuffs protruded noticeably beyond his jacket sleeves for a reason.
“It’s essential,” said Mr. Bailey, the attorney who last year garnered national attention as counselor for the Ground Zero mosque developer Sharif El-Gamal. “I’ve studied everything about the court room. It’s a subconscious thing, but this shows a jury you have nothing to hide.”
As if to prove his point, Mr. Bailey awkwardly tucked the sleeve of his shirt back inside his jacket. “See?” said the attorney, who takes the nuances of his dress code so seriously that every new associate at the law firm shops for their first suit with him so that he can personally give them a lesson in proper courtroom attire. “You’re hiding something.”