NYC Launches Fundraising Drive for East Harlem Explosion Victims [Updated]

The scene in East Harlem following the explosion. (Credit: Rob Bennett/NYC Mayor’s Office)

The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City is raising money for people who were adversely impacted by last week’s East Harlem gas explosion, as part of a strategic relief plan. It has already received $250,000 in pledges, First Lady Chirlane McCray, chair of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, announced yesterday at Bethel Gospel Assembly.

The financial aid will help victims cover their rent, funeral arrangements, household expenses, counseling services as well as community-based outreach focused on immigrant communities. Read More

big and tall

Audio: Bill de Blasio Promises REBNY He’ll Build Big

Mayor Bill de Blasio today. (Photo: Getty)

Mayor Bill de Blasio today praised some of the biggest names in the real estate industry and told them he has no qualms about building large in the name of affordable housing.

“I’m looking forward to building upon on a lot of the relationships that I’ve already had the honor of having with folks in this room and getting to know people more deeply in the years ahead and working together,” Mr. de Blasio told the group, according to audio from the closed-door meeting released by his office. Read More

Mayoral Meetings

De Blasio Received With ‘Open Arms’ at REBNY Meeting

Bill de Blasio arriving at this morning's REBNY meeting.

Members of the well-connected Real Estate Board of New York praised Bill de Blasio this afternoon after the mayor attended a closed-door meeting with the group.

While many in the business community had been nervous about the left-leaning mayor and his plans to up taxes on the rich and force developers to build more affordable housing, members of the group’s board left today’s sit-down offering nothing but praise. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Singer & Bassuk Secures $450 Million Starwood Property Trust Loan for 250 East 57th Street Condo

Rendering of 250 East 57th Street by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s Roger Duffy

The Singer & Bassuk Organization has closed a $450 million construction loan from Starwood Property Trust for World-Wide Group‘s $600 million luxury condo development at 250-252 East 57th Street, Mortgage Observer has exclusively learned.

The four-year loan with extension options, which closed earlier today, covers 93 condo units and 173 rental apartments as well as 33,000 square feet of retail space, said Andrew Singer, chairman and CEO of the New York-based brokerage firm and a spokesperson for the developer. The loan also covers the Whole Foods Market store that was built on the site in 2010, Mr. Singer noted. Read More

Crime & Punishment

Saparn Realty Head Charged with Stealing from Brooklyn Mitchell-Lama Facility [Updated]

Harway Terrace, at 2475 West 16 Street in Brooklyn, and Alan Gorelick

Alan Gorelick, who runs Saparn Realty along with his wife, was arrested and charged with diverting more than $600,000 from a Brooklyn complex he oversaw into his firm’s business account, according to a criminal complaint.

Between 2001 and the end of 2011, Mr. Gorelick, 68, managed Harway Terrace, a two-building Mitchell-Lama co-op complex at 2475 West 16th Street in the Gravesend area of Brooklyn, containing more than 350 apartments. Between the end of 2006 and the end of 2011, Mr. Gorelick was a signatory on Harway Terrace’s bank account. Mr. Gorelick diverted $610,914.94 from Harway Terrace and deposited it into Saparn’s business account, “either by depositing checks from third parties written to the order of Harway Terrace or by depositing checks written against two of Harway Terrace’s accounts into Saparn’s business accounts,” the complaint indicates. Read More

Real Estate and Politics

Real Estate Leaders Back Universal Pre-K Proposal

Leonard Litwin

Real estate industry leaders have joined a growing group of supporters of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to fund a universal prekindergarten program with tax increases, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Mr. de Blasio’s proposal, which would raise taxes on New York City residents with incomes over $500,000, has received backing from major political donor Leonard Litwin of Glenwood Management, Steve Witkoff of the Witkoff Group, and other business leaders.

Read More

REBNY 2014

Such Great Heights: REBNY’S Year In Review


As the city and real estate market continued its post-recession surge over the past year, a number of significant milestones played out under the watchful eyes—and in some cases careful direction—of the Real Estate Board of New York that will shape the future of the city for decades to come.  Read More

REBNY 2014

The Shape of Things to Come: REBNY’s 2014 Agenda

Grand Central

Last year ended in disappointment for the Real Estate Board of New York when the New York City Council struck down Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s sweeping Midtown east rezoning proposal. 

The plan, which would have transformed 73 blocks surrounding Grand Central Terminal, had been viewed as vital modernization of an area deemed structurally obsolete by many in the industry. 

REBNY is undeterred in 2014, however, and is as determined as ever to push through not only Midtown east rezoning but a number of other development projects and legislation it deems critical to the future of the city’s infrastructure.

Read More

The Lobby

Related Hires CBRE’s Stephen Winter


On the heels of his inclusion in The Commercial Observer’s30 Under 30” list last month, CBRE’s Stephen Winter is bouncing over to Related Companies as its new vice president of commercial leasing, overseeing leasing efforts at Hudson Yards.

Until now a rising star at CBRE – in 2012, the Real Estate Board of New Read More


Only Representative Brokers Can Hold Corporate Titles


When the New York Department of State issued a letter to the Real Estate Board of New York in April declaring that brokers could not use corporate titles that they have not been appointed to, some industry brokers expressed anger and confusion.

In response to that confusion, Neil Garfinkel, general counsel for REBNY, reached out to the Department of State seeking clarification. And last week, REBNY members received a letter answering many unanswered questions. Read More

Real Estate Legislation

Bipartisan Legislation Aims to Reform Tax Code for Foreign Property Investment


U.S. Representatives Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Joseph Crowley (D-NY) have announced bipartisan legislation aimed at removing restrictions in the U.S. tax code that discourage foreign investment in commercial real estate. The legislation, if passed, will reform the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980 in an attempt to increase capital flow into the U.S. market.

“Restriction on foreign investment in America’s commercial real estate is a relic of the past,” Rep. Brady said during a conference call yesterday. Read More