Sunday Summary: Big Changes Coming


We must admit, we couldn’t fully focus this week. Maybe it was the long, endless, seriously-I’d-rather-be-having-a-root-canal election night that stretched into election week.

But, as of yesterday, it finally came into focus. Joe Biden was elected President of the United States.

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Of course, the reason we were so transfixed is because who is president has a huge impact on real estate….

Or does it?

Actually, a Cushman & Wakefield report said that it would probably make zero difference as far as bricks and mortar is concerned. Real estate investment has historically done well under both GOP and Democratic administrations. So there’s that.

However, there are quite a few policies that an incoming Biden administration will institute that real estate professionals will probably want to know about. (CO took a look in late September.)

And a lot of New York City property owners have very definite opinions about the political race. In our annual owners survey, we asked whether owners were supporting Biden or Trump, and we got a much better response rate than we anticipated, with most owners probably happy with the way things are shaking out. Only 6 percent supported President Trump (who, it was also reported this week, might be losing his critical relationship with Deutsche Bank when he returns to private life), while 45 percent announced their support for Joe Biden.

Ah, owners!

Those who have not yet looked at our 2020 Owners Magazine would be well advised to do so.

In addition to the nearly three dozen top owners who told us their quarantine weight gain stats, their binge-worthy Netflix picks, fears about retail, and the enemies they’ve made during the pandemic, the issue was packed with stories, including ones about the real estate legends who saw Gotham when it was similarly precariously poised in the 1970s and tried to fix it; the permanent changes to office design due to COVID-19; those who have used the pandemic to improve the quality of their buildings; and why every owner’s answer to everything is: “Amazon!”

Speaking of Amazon (AMZN)

There’s good reason everybody is talking about Amazon. They’re making massive real estate deals.

They signed a whopping 20-year, 311,796-square-foot lease at Thor’s 280 Richards Street warehouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

On the West Coast, they shelled out $63 million for the Orange County Register‘s former printing site, which they’re planning on demolishing and turning into a 112,465-square-foot last-mile distribution hub.

Not everything has to do with Amazon!

Back to the election, for a second. The eyes of the country were on Florida on Tuesday night. Ultimate purple state. Lots of urban centers. Lots of rural parts. Lots of interesting real estate.

Even though COVID-19 has battered it as badly as any state in the union, Florida has been seeing real estate deals happening and more companies planning on moving there, a topic that CO delved into this week.

We also looked into what buying properties in the middle of a pandemic has done to due diligence. Is it possible to buy a property worth tens or hundreds of millions of dollars without actually walking it first?

The death of a legend

On an extremely unfortunate note, it was with great sadness (and incredible shock) that we learned last week that Peter Hauspurg, the co-founder of Eastern Consolidated with his wife Daun Paris, died on Tuesday of a heart attack at the far too young age of 67.

Hauspurg was the son of Consolidated Edison chairman Arthur Hausburg and grew up in Rye, N.Y. (For those wondering, no, the “Consolidated” part did not play a role in naming the company Eastern Consolidated. “We get that question all the time,” Hauspurg previously told Commercial Observer. “At the time we were trying to sound larger than we were.”)

After Duke University and Fordham Law School, Hauspurg ditched being a lawyer for a brokerage job at Whitbread-Nolan, where he met Paris. The two decided to strike out on their own when they formed Eastern in 1981, and got married two years later.

“Peter was beloved by all,” Paris said. “He was a man of enormous heart, integrity, kindness and brilliance.”

Rest in peace.