Archive for category: Real Estate News

10-year high record for Brooklyn home prices

We weren’t kidding when we said its time to buy. :

John “Jellybean” Benitez to list his Gramercy Park Brownstone for $32K / mnth

Source: The Real Deal

John “Jellybean” Benitez, a NY-based bassist, producer and a remixer known for working with music legends such as Madonna, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Billy Idol and Talking Heads is listing his triplex brownstone property, located at 11 Gramercy Park, for rent this week with Luis Ortiz of Keller Williams NYC. The three-story, property was first listed for sale in 2011. John’s former listing agency, The Modlin Group,  was attempting to sell the triplex for $18 Million. Since then, the price was decreased several times, from $25 million in May of 2012, to $22 million in February of 2013, and, finally, to $18 million in June.

John and his wife Carolyn, a former model who now owns a coffee shop in Union Square, purchased the property back in 1992.

John “Jellybean” Benitez is very well known in the music industry for his famous remixes of artists like Madonna, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Billy Idol, and Talking Heads.

TheRealDeal - JellyBean's Gramercy Park Property pic of Jellybean’s 33K/mnth appt

NYC Real Estate News: Smoking Banned In NYC Apartments

Smoking Banned In NYC Apartments

Related Companies, which bills themselves as the premier global residence company, banned smoking in its rental buildings. What started as a pilot program in 2009 is now live in 40,000 rental properties that Related manages and owns.

What does the ban mean? New tenants and those with expiring leases must sign a contract stating that they won’t smoke anywhere in the building – from private balconies to the actual apartments. The result if tenants to – they face eviction.

Related Companies has a number of properties in New York City such as The Lyric, One Carnegie Hill, The Tate and MiMia.

What do you think of the ban? Are they at the forefront of a trend?Stay tuned for more NYC real estate news from Ron Hershco

Department of Buildings Cracks Down on Real Estate Agents and Brokers

Ron HershcoSome interesting news came out recently. According to a recent New York Times article, the Department of Buildings has begun issuing fines to agents and brokers who advertise and show illegal apartments for rent. This is a huge deal for not only real estate agents and brokers, but the real estate industry as a whole. The fines have been issued to agents and the companies that they work for and start at $3,600 and can reach as high as 5 times that amount depending on the type of violation.

Here is an excerpt from the article with some further background.

From January to March, inspectors combed through listing Web sites like craigslist, and then, posing as curious potential renters, went to see 50 apartments they considered suspicious. (Telltale signs of an apartment without the proper certificate of occupancy might be a listing that says all utilities are included, for example.)

The department issued fines to 10 agents, including agents at Douglas Elliman and Halstead Property, for listing apartments in a variety of neighborhoods and boroughs, including Park Slope and Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, and Hamilton Heights in Upper Manhattan. All of the apartments were in the basement or the cellar, and most did not have the required two means of egress, the department said. The department says the building code gives it the right to issue fines to agents; in the future, it may go after brokers who supervise the agents as well.

How far the Buildings Department will actually go to crack down and the steps that they will take in the future is still up in the air. However, if this is any indication of how things will be moving as time goes on, real estate agents, brokers and their companies alike will have to take caution in showing or advertising illegal apartments for rent.

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Israelis Continue Activity In Real Estate

Israelis worldwide continue to be very active worldwide in the real estate industry. Ron Hershco of Hershco Properties continues to search more for properties – and Africa Israel USA (AFI USA) announced that they had closed on the sale of the Rialto Building, a landmark turn-of-the-century office and retail property situated in San Francisco’s South Financial District.

They are selling the nine-story building only six weeks after placing it on the market. The Rialto Building, boasts creative, open floor plans, high ceilings and abundant light. Originally built in 1902, the H-shaped Renaissance-style Revival building was designed by architects Meyer & O’Brien. After the great earthquake of 1906, the Rialto Building’s interiors were completely rebuilt, although, the exterior structure made of steel, brick and concrete was left intact.

Located at the intersection of Mission and New Montgomery streets, the Rialto Building is situated in the heart of the South Financial District, one block from both BART and the Transbay Terminal Redevelopment.

For real estate news follow Ron Hershco on Twitter at:


Ron Hershco Comments on the Most Anticipated Real Estate IPO of the Year

Initial public offerings by real estate companies have been all the buzz in the New York City area. 2012 was a good time to turn to Wall Street to raise money from the public markets. Companies including the real estate website Trulia, the private equity firm the Carlyle Group and Realogy, and the residential brokerage Corcoran Group and Citi Habitats have all capitalized by using massive IPOs. These companies have also reaped the rewards of cash infusions as a real estate investment trust also known as  REIT.

This year is not expected to be as sizzling as 2012, resulting from multiple firms already listed on the stock exchange, and many having more luck drumming up capital without Wall Street as the cost of debt comes down.  Observers predict some real estate IPO activity. The real estate industry can expect to see IPOs from less-obvious real estate firms, including storage and outdoor billboard advertising companies.

Ron Hershco, a real estate developer in New York City agrees that IPOs can come from large to small companies. There was an element of surprise in 2012 and it will be interesting to know what 2013 will bring.

In turn the most anticipated real estate IPO of the year is a portfolio that includes Manhattan’s landmark Empire State Building.  Owner of the building’s lease Tony Malkin, President of Milkans Holdings LCC, is looking to issue an IPO for the famous Empire State Building. Last month Empire State Realty Trust investors commenced voting on the fate of the company’s IPO aimed to provide liquidity for the new REIT anchored by the world famous office tower.

The notorious cloud buster provides momentous sources of revenue through its office and retail leases, observatory operations and broadcasting licenses.  The portfolio consists of 12 total office properties reaching approximately 7.7 million rentable square feet of office space, most located in the Manhattan area.

According to filings from the Malkin family, they have offered investors a variety of options including class A shares, operating partnership units, or a combination of OP units and class B shares. This includes tax deferred options that gives investors flexibility in tax deferral. In a video released by Malkin, the argument is aimed at broader diversification and better banking terms. He said, “By putting these properties together, we believe all investors will benefit through ongoing dividends with the potential to increase through property performance, better financing, more efficient operation and beneficial acquisitions. The potential for increased distributions from dividends and stock appreciation over time offers benefit for all investors.”

With REITs holding at least 75 percent of their assets in real estate, The Malkins aren’t the only ones that will be attempting to create a REIT in 2013. The New Year rang in a booming stock market, resulted in a focus on sector-dominating companies that have assembled blue-chip portfolios of the best income-producing assets in multifamily housing, regional malls, strip centers, office buildings, and distribution facilities. In a low interest rate environment investors have flocked to the high yielding dividend of REITs.  Many companies offer yields in excess of 10 percent.  “REITs are not taxed at a corporate level, but you’re required to dish out at least 90 percent of its taxable income as dividends to investors. The improving U.S. housing market has tremendously helped boost investors’ interest for real estate investment trusts,” said Ron Hershco.


Ron Hershco – New York Legislature passed the Omnibus Bill

We all know that New York City has earned a reputation of being one of the most expensive housing markets. It’s not uncommon to see New Yorkers shelling out up to 30% of their income for housing.

But few actually know that New York City has been helping condo and coop owners address this money pressure through the NYC Condo/ Coop Tax Abatement Extensions, which costs New York City about $500 million annually in tax revenue.

The tax credits ranging from 17.5% – 25% for 2012 must be renewed every three years. The New York Legislature left many worried that the bill wouldn’t be passed due to the costs incurred from Hurricane Sandy. However, it has been confirmed that the New York Legislature recently passed an Omnibus Housing bill that renews the coop and condo tax abatement for another three years, according to The Huffington Post.

These tax credits will have a positive impact on the recovery of the New York City housing market. The Omnibus Bill has removed some of the roadblocks that would have resulted in the completion of stalled housing projects in Midtown and Downtown Manhattan. The restoration and flexibility in the completion of these construction projects will now result in new residential projects being developed in these high density areas.

Ron Hershco, a developer that specializes in residential properties in New York believes that the passing of this bill will help the New York housing marketing immensely. The impact of Hurricane Sandy was devastating, but the fact that the New York Legislature has passed the bill for the next three years means that it is committed to helping New York residents get back on their feet.

Ron Hershco – 8 years, building project in Flushing nowhere to be seen

It’s been so long and if you ask the small business owners in Queen’s business district in Flushing, what’s happening with the development project that’s suppose to revitalize the area, they don’t know what to tell you.

The $825 Flushing Commons project is nowhere near to be making progress.

Back in 2005, Flushing based TDC Development, backed by Rockerfeller Group won the rights to redevelop a five-acre city owned parking lot and build 600 apartments, plus 420,000 square retail and office space. Plus, they were going to throw in a YMCA center and an additional 1,600 spaces.

But the project is not progressing and it was only until 2010 that Flushing Commons finally won the needed city council approval. TDC’s website says that the project will be completed by 2013 or 2014, but that’s unlikely due to the construction work involved, which will take easily more than three years.

According to Mr. Rim, who heads up Union Street Small Business Association, there’s already been an impact on small business owners in the area who have been forced to close down due to lack of parking in the area.

The small business owners are not convinced and they are not optimistic as they have seen no changes to the site for years. Ron Hershco says it’s important that developers try and complete their projects on time and balance out the interests of the whole community. This is a difficult situation, but everyone must work together to get this site developed.

Ron Hershco: Redefining Long Island City with Residential Development

In 2001 thirty-seven blocks were rezoned from industrial to residential-industrial use, in Long Island City, Queens. Developers were allowed to convert various industrial buildings to residential use. Those with a vision for a brighter future, like Ron Hershco, seized the opportunity. In 2006, Hershco developed and opened the area’s first ground-up residential condominium.

With so few residential buildings, Ron Hershco helped pioneer the area with his 12-story project, named Echelon, which boasted 54 units ranging in price from $345,000 to $1,000,000. Since then Long Island City has seen unbelievable development. The amazing development of the last decade or so is fitting for an area marked by changes that have transformed it into the wonderful mix of old and hip it has become today.

The history of Long Island City is characterized by its location and distinct neighborhoods, and by its transportation resources (subway, ferry service, tunnels, and bridges), which has led to major development through the years. In the 1800s, Long Island City was known as Astoria. Wealthy New Yorkers, wanting to escape city life traveled to Astoria and built mansions in the area. In 1870, the villages and hamlets of Astoria, Ravenswood, Hunters Point, and Steinway consolidated and became known as Long Island City. Less than thirty years later, Long Island City became part of New York City as NYC expanded to include Queens. Transportation links opened the door to commercial and industrial development and soon factories lined the East River waterfront.

By the 1970s, Long Island City was experiencing the decline of manufacturing affecting the entire nation. Although it remains NYC’s major industrial area, in the 70’s, a new era of artistic and cultural awakening was begun with the opening of P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center. Artists escaping the high cost of doing business in Manhattan and Brooklyn have set up shop throughout Long Island City.

Since Ron Hershco’s Echelon project, Long Island City has continued to shed industry to make room for greater residential and commercial development. Like any area in flux, housing in Long Island City is a mixed bag, with widely ranging prices, sometimes from one block to the next.  Real estate prices and residential availability are often determined by the neighborhood.  Astoria and Hunters Point have seen great appreciation while others, such as Ravenswood and Dutch Kills, remain off the real estate radar.

The trend initiated by Mr. Hershco and his company continues today. People looking for a more peaceful way of life, away from the city, continue to flock to Long Island City’s neighborhoods where condos are still in high demand. Even in today’s market, condo prices range from about $400,000 for a studio to about $870,000 for a two-bedroom. Some three-bedrooms go for $1,000,000 or more! Although three-bedrooms are hard to come by.

Long Island City is still in the process of transformation. People like Ron Hershco have had a role to play in the changes taking place in the area. Since the official opening of Echelon, residential real estate continues to expand. Long Island City has become home to a dozen subway stations and a handful of bus lines to accommodate the many commuters. Besides the expanding waterfront park, there are many trendy restaurants, art galleries, and much more in way of entertainment and family fun.…