Mortgage Observer

Experts: Commercial Real Estate Has Returned to 2007

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It is hard to believe that it was just a few years ago—specifically in 2007—when a perfect storm of positive events was taking place in the financial and real estate markets. The S&P 500 reached record highs, CMBS transactions grew to nearly $770 billion, the Blackstone Group completed its $39 billion purchase of Equity Office Properties Trust and then sold eight buildings in the Equity Office portfolio to Harry Macklowe for $7 billion, foreign investors were purchasing commercial real estate at record levels and everyone was purchasing residential condominiums. In short, happy days were here again.

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The Sit-Down

Large & In Charge: Eastern Consolidated’s Peter Hauspurg

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He’s a horse-riding, tennis-playing, mountain-biking, party-throwing philanthropist. But it’s his three decades of tireless deal-making at the helm of the firm he and wife Daun Paris built from the ground up that makes Peter Hauspurg a true industry mainstay. “Deal-making is my passion,” he told The Commercial Observer last week, later admitting that he earned Read More

On the Market

Former ‘Mercantile Library’ Building Hits the Block, First Time in Eight Decades

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Non-profit group The Center for Fiction has put its eight-story, 18,200-square-foot building it at 17 East 47th Street on the market for the first time in 80 years for $19.5 million, The Commercial Observer has learned.

The 25-foot-wide, historic commercial building offers immediate redevelopment possibilities, with 20,375 square feet of unused air rights, said Eastern Consolidated, the firm marketing the property. Read More

Power Broker

The Rabbi of Realty: Lipa Lieberman of Eastern Consolidated on Balancing Religion with Real Estate

Lipa Lieberman (Photo: Darcy Rogers)

Growing up in the Hasidic community of Midwood, Brooklyn, Lipa Lieberman noticed early on that his most successful neighbors owned real estate.

“Real estate was always in the back of my mind,” said Mr. Lieberman, 33, a senior director at Eastern Consolidated. But before he entered the industry, Mr. Lieberman earned a bachelor’s degree in Jewish studies at Rabbinical College of America and attended the Central Tomchei Temimim Lubavitch, where he was ordained as a rabbi.

“You’re ordained because you study Jewish law in college and then take the rabbinical equivalent of the bar exam,” Mr. Lieberman said. “You don’t necessarily do it to practice in a synagogue.” Although he never led a congregation, Mr. Lieberman’s religious background—he’s a member of the Chabad sect and spent time abroad at a Chabad center in Venice, Italy—did inform his secular career choice. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Duly Noted: Despite Q4 2011 Drop in Distress, Schechtman, Knakal and Others Rack Up Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in the Deals

Haupsburg and Schechtman.

Even as commercial real estate prices have improved and banks have swiftly moved troubled loans from their books, the phenomenon of distressed note sales has continued unabated.

According to data from Real Capital Analytics, the volume of newly distressed commercial properties dropped to $12.4 billion for the fourth quarter of 2011—a figure that, as the firm pointed out in its February 2012 Troubled Assets Radar report, is the second lowest level seen in two years. Read More

Investment Sales 2012

Peter Hauspurg on Mastering the Middle

Peter Hauspurg. (Illustration by Joao Maio Pinto)

The investment sales market, most brokers agree, has been heating up over the past 12 months. Approximately $25.8 billion in commercial properties changed hands last year, a turnaround that represented an 88 percent increase over 2010. But while the positive uptick is easily verifiable, what happens next for Manhattan’s investment sales market is still up in the air.

Accordingly, The Commercial Observer set out to speak with the real estate industry’s most accomplished capital markets and sales practitioners to learn what’s in store for 2012. Over the next several days, we’ll post interviews with heavy hitters like Richard Baxter of Jones Lang LaSalle, J.D. Parker of Marcus & Millichap, Woody Heller of Studley and Darcy Stacom and William Shanahan of CBRE. But, first, after the jump, none other than Peter Hauspurg of Eastern Consolidated. Read More

Commercial Observer

An Evening at the Liar’s Ball: Raucous Behavior! Bottles of Colgin at the 21 Club! Talking Over the Cardinal?

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It was a typical evening at the Real Estate Board of New York’s annual gala as John Cardinal O’Connor stepped up to the dais to address a crowd of several thousand of the city’s most ambitious commercial real estate brokers and owners.

But in a ritual repeated more or less each year, the archbishop of the New York archdiocese’s 2.37 million Catholics and one of the Vatican’s most forceful spokesmen in the United States during the 1980s, was summarily ignored by a brokerage community far more interested in making deals than in hearing the Gospel. Read More

Commercial Observer

Reeling in the Years With the Real Estate Board of New York: In their own words, brokers and owners tell the tale of REBNY’s past half century

Bernard Resnick, Sheldon Silver and Steven Spinola, circa 1996.

Since it started with a roll call of 27 members in 1896 with the goal of “facilitating transactions in real estate,” the Real Estate Board of New York has indisputably been the city’s most influential real estate organization, with its annual gala being to brokers what the Vanity Fair Oscar party is for Hollywood: If you’re there, it means you’re somebody.

Sure, some may lovingly write it off as a veritable men’s club (men are thought to outnumber women five to one), chide it as “The Liar’s Ball” (each year is a broker’s best year, no matter how wretched the marketplace) and speak ill of the food (nearly everyone avoids the chicken and filet mignon).

But the REBNY gala is as essential to a real estate person’s reputation and status as the buildings and bricks he works with. A dozen of the city’s most legendary players spoke to The Commercial Observer about the blurry nights and boom years that helped make the event what it is today. Read More

Wired

The Commercial Observer:

Last year, Eastern expanded its loan sales group. How has the response been?

Mr. Hauspurg: We actually started in 2005, which was a bit early, but we could see what was coming. The values were getting out of hand and we knew at some point the banks were going Read More