The Lower East Side: Real Estate.

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As a Lower East Side Resident, and real estate broker, I have observed the shift in the architectural landscape. What once used to be the Matzo Factory, is now a new condominium development. Adorning the corners of  the high foot traffic Clinton Street – an array of new boutique shops selling art, good food, and love in a cup of gourmet hot chocolate.  It makes sense that developers hedged on the steady growth of the LES. A romantic landscape , with vibrant flavor and history, where a developer could build and make a profit, while not surpassing the average 2k a foot psqf,  in surrounding neighborhoods.  As a resident, and broker, I do feel that it is positive that our community continues to dynamically move forward, while still keeping aspects of the history that has made the LES what it is. Among the fancy  new boutique shops, one can still find the little mom and pop spaces, art, music, galleries, Orchard Street. The architectural design does not take away from the skyline; featuring small walk-ups, and charming buildings. From a buyer’s standpoint, this would be the place to invest at the moment, while prices are relatively low, and the product new, in a wonderful location.  GO LES!!!!

Data sharing IS shrinking.

I love New York City, because it is a dramatic space with fluid and dynamic energy and an artistic underlying climate.  Being a real estate broker, is challenging, but it is also exciting. Throughout the years, open source players and creative programmers have tried to find a way to democratize data in the real estate landscape. After acknowledging that New York City’s real estate data has mostly operated in closed, non cybernetic systems prior to listing aggregators – they realized that  it would behoove them, to mostly create tools that brokers can use to facilitate a transaction, or create spaces where brokers and prospective buyers and leasees could try to find real time data to negotiate a transaction based on a macro, contextually relevant comparisons.  With aggregators, they welcomed the real estate industry’s willingness to share data and create an overall market place for all.  Thus, consumers became locally familiar with the marketplaces, and brokers were able to find  direct customers/clients. That is, until every new aggregator, or provider of real estate data, decides, that they are more interested in the classical brokerage model  for controlling data and turning profit. Thus, democratizing of information is great, but then, they want to be compensated for the service that they provide, and what better way than to use the content already provided by the real estate players who kept the information in closed systems and by default control the market. A conflict of interest is born, and regardless of how many new tools are used to democratize this particular data, the content providers will  pull back because it affects their profits. Data sharing is shrinking because of the push and pull that technocratization of this particular type of information purports, and the landscape is not ready to lose power or control of extremely valuable data with fancy profits.  New York City’s real estate landscape is interesting because it contains different types of properties, and for each, a unique process. Furthermore, there  are laws dictating how each property can operate within the macro landscape. Brokers are needed; technology is useful – what will the future bring for this complex landscape? will owners accept that an agent would not want to list their property in a given space, because this will mean having to share the commission? Will that owner receive the highest bid? will that owner still be paying the same commission amount if the buyer comes directly to the listing agent vs having to co broke it with a buyer’s agent representing a customer? Do buyers even care who represents them, and rather go directly to the seller’s agent because this will guarantee them getting the property that they want?  If a buyer’s agent doesn’t know a property, his/her job is to conduct due diligence, and by default the understanding is that the professional has experience and knowledge in reference to the process, pricing and market movement. Will  owners even care or understand how this paradigm shift  impacts the bottom line? will the brokerage system change? Only time will tell.

Around Town. Precious metals or precious properties?

Everything seems brighter in New York City today; the sun is bursting over the fabulous skyscrapers populating the radiant and inviting blue sky. Aside from the warm climate, the sales market is leading with a healthy uptick in movement and pricing. While there are factors that can contribute to the shift in pricing each quarter, in 2014 there seems to be a trend – inventory is low and prices are in the upswing. There are factors that contribute the market conditions, and there is an underlying cycle to the degree that eventually prices will reach a stasis. Subsequently, there is still technically a window of “opportunity” for real estate players. Cash is king, and that is true for buyers who do not need financing. What may be “too expensive” for some, can be an opportunity for others in our global economic landscape. Additionally, in Manhattan, the complexity of zoning and air rights, price for the land, as well as historic landmark allocation in some areas will continue to generate demand for land where development can occur. There is a nice segment of new construction, but in the high-end market, because the incentives to build “affordable” housing have diminished. Companies spend millions trying to crunch numbers and data to hedge identify the exact time, space and mobility of an asset– not even for a solid rock of gold  do we know the trajectory, or do we?. The NYC real estate market is fascinating, dynamic, and the exact future of its peak or lack there of, somewhat evasive, but while in the moment – just a slice of the macro dynamics here in NYC.Image

Moscow 57 in the LES

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What makes a restaurant/artistic venue successful in a competitive environment? I do not know. What I do know, however, is that globalization and the continuous erosion of borders, gives an infusion to a contextual and rich multi-layered diaspora in New York City.

I believe that the Lower East will continue to see a dramatic shift in its socioeconomic and artistic position in the coming years. Recent real estate news announced commercial and residential plans for the area. Property owners of small buildings have seen a sharp increase in the resale returns of their assets in the past two years. Transformation is inevitable at a local and global level.  Thus, we just have to artistically incorporate the history of each space – the old with the new. We have to test the boundaries by allowing and supporting the opening of venues that might push the limits of what is already in the neighborhood.

What does all of this have to do with Moscow 57? It is a new, and vibrant restaurant/entertainment venue that recently opened in the Lower East Side on Delancey Street.  As a local resident, passionate about my neighborhood, I decided to visit the venue. I wondered how I would feel at Moscow 57 – what they had to offer me. Words do not suffice to describe not only the remarkable interior design, but also the people that make the venue. It encapsulates with it, part of the Lower East Side’s rich history and culture, while bringing with it a post-modern and magnificent energy to our neighborhood. Moscow 57 is a not only a host for art, music, and interpersonal expression, but it pours eclectic joy over my beloved Delancey Street. I was able to personally speak to the owners, Ellen Kaye and Seth Goldman – who had time for a little local like me. Peter and Jahad behind the bar, made my world go around, with the infused vodkas and beyond this world martinis; to top the whole enchilada (ok no enchiladas) but the mouth watering Baklava – was a heart felt and outstanding performance by Ms. Ellen Kaye hosting and preforming with the M57 Band that includes Ethan Fein and Benjamin Franklin Brown. This is what dreams are made of, and this is the type of venue that I want to stay forever open in the LES.

Visit Moscow 57 at 168 ½ Delancey Street, New York, NY www.moscow57.com

The importance of listening and communication

We are all busy it seems. New York City is a very fast-paced city. Recently, I have noticed, that people are constantly so distracted, they do not listen, they do not take time to respond properly. We are heading towards a speech style that is going to sound more like text. That is, short chopped up sentences that leaves us confused as to the intended meaning of the message. Imagine what would it be like if people paused in the first contact of interaction to say: “hello, how are you today?” pause, and then go on. It is something to think about…..

Colombia, South America, Real Estate Investment

It looks like some real estate investment is occurring in Colombia. Sam Zell, owner of a Chicago International Investment company, was one of the real estate leaders who took this important step. Colombia is a beautiful country, with glorious vacation locales like Cartagena. The clear beaches, breezy climate, wonderful food and rich history – will continue to develop as a vacation destination for some in some areas of Colombia. Additionally, Bogota, the capital, also continues to foster opportunities for new corporations to establish, and old corporations to expand into and continue to grow and enjoy new and affordable commercial spaces. This is an exciting transaction and business relationship to keep an eye for. As globalization continues to prominently affect our globe, the need to establish cross- cultural relationships in the real estate landscape will be more pronounced and feel less disconnected.