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Thursday's Real Estate Headlines October 6, 2011

Thursday's Headlines

October 6, 2011


NY Times

Details of Home Sale Emerge in Consultant’s Trial for Theft
It was December 2008 when John F. Haggerty Jr. agreed to buy out his brother’s stake in their dead father’s home in Queens.

Freddie and Fannie Reject Debt Relief
Home values have fallen so much in Arizona that almost half the people with mortgages there owe more than their homes are worth. So when federal money became available to help stem the tide of foreclosures, the state flagged that group for help.

Land Deal Is Announced to Allow New U.N. Tower and Esplanade
City and state officials on Wednesday agreed to a $73 million plan that would unlock an underutilized chunk of the Manhattan waterfront between East 38th and East 60th Streets, paving the way for a new United Nations office tower and esplanade along the East River.

Giuliani Ads to Promote Safety of Indian Pt.
10 p.m. | Updated The operator of the Indian Point nuclear power complex has hired former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani to vouch for the plant’s safety in a new advertising campaign scheduled to begin next week.

Daily News

Frances Bean Cobain buys $1.825 million L.A. home of her own
Frances Bean Cobain, the 19-year-old daughter of late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, purchased a home of her own in Los Angeles for $1.825 million through a trust, according to The Real Estalker.

NY Post

Lady’s man
Nicola Formichetti, Lady Gaga’s style guru, has rented a two-story SoHo building on Greene Street for $20,000 a month. It’s a 6,000-square-foot space with a 2,000-square-foot, upper-floor residence and a private rooftop.

LICin’ good!
Just about as fast as they hit Long Island City, Hugue Dufour and Sarah Obraitis -- the Quebecois-American duo behind one of the most celebrated new restaurants in the city, M. Wells -- recently announced that they were closing shop because they couldn’t work out a lease with their landlord.

The joy of deRoy
It was 1991, and Jamie deRoy was getting restless. DeRoy, who juggles several careers -- singer, cabaret performer, cable TV host, Broadway show producer (“The Motherf--ker With the Hat,” “The Addams Family,” among them) -- had been living in the same West 72nd Street rent-stabilized apartment for 25 years and was ready for a change.

Just sold!
300 Rector Place
Two-bedroom, three-bath condo, 1,600 square feet, with dining area, windowed kitchen, marble bath, library and city and harbor views; building features doorman, elevator, roof deck, gym, garden, nursery, laundry and storage. Common charges $2,079, taxes $1,552. Asking price $1,399,000, on market 39 weeks. Brokers: Cheryl Greenberg and Greg Olson, A.C. Lawrence

Marvelous Milford
John Berendt, the author of “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” calls Milford, Pa., a “very surprising little town.”
The bestselling writer elaborates: “The 19th-century period architecture is grand, the air is simply marvelous, the views are terrific, and, of course, the Hotel Fauchere adds a lot of class.”

Vroom with a view: Mike on 9/11 bike
Born to ride! Mayor Bloomberg yesterday straddles a massive, custom-made motorcycle built as a tribute to the reconstruction of the World Trade Center.

Mtge. fraudster
Thomas Kontogiannis, serving prison time for his role in laundering bribe money for former US Representative Randy “Duke” Cunningham, was sentenced yesterday to 12 years and 10 months in a $92 million real-estate scheme.


US apartment vacancies drop to five-year low
The U.S. apartment vacancy rate dropped to 5.6% in the third quarter, according to a report released Thursday by Reis Inc. In New York, effective rents grew by 3.7%

US mortgage rates hits record low
The average rate for a 30-year fixed loan dropped to 3.94%, the lowest in Freddie Mac's records. This comes as stricter standards and a slow economy restrict a housing rebound.

St. Vinnie's hospital compromise clears key hurdle
Plan by North Shore-LIJ and Lenox Hill Hospital for a $125 million emergency department on site of bankrupt medical center gets thumbs up from a state committee. “People will die,” activists shout. Final state approval still needed.

Residential foreclosures plummet in NYC
Steep drops seen in all boroughs except Manhattan, but experts caution that those declines stem from pressure on banks from state and federal officials. Defaults are still rising.

Surprising building boom seen on West Side
Over the last decade, development has added 35 new residential buildings, 14 office towers, 30 hotels and 10 retail properties. Hudson Yards is seen as a key spur.

Park hero is ex-villain
Maybe Greece cannot be saved. Maybe a default is inevitable, and many banks holding its debt will have to be rescued; but those who believe miracles can still happen can take heart in a minor one that occurred right here in New York on Wednesday. Overcoming terrifically long odds, city and state officials agreed to a wildly complex $73 million plan that had seemed unlikely, at best, just a few months ago. It will create a thin ribbon of park land running up from 38th Street to 60th Street, according to Crain’s, filling in the last major piece of the 32-mile greenway around Manhattan.


On the Market: Rents Creeping Up, Economy Be Damned; Two Synagogue-Loving Artists; Milford as Seventh Boro?
The real estate contract at the heart of the John Haggerty case. [NY Times] Priced out of Brooklyn and Philly? Try Milford, Penn.! [NY Post]

Where’s All the Art Gone? Inside the Chelsea Hotel Renovations
When Joseph Chetrit bought the Chelsea Hotel, there was widespread fear of what would become to the grand old dame. Would she lose her quirks and charm, the characteristics that made this The Chelsea? The Real Deal got a look around the redbrick behemoth on 23rd Street recently, and it looks like the answer is a definite yes.

Yoko Ono Comes to Soho for John Lennon’s 71st Birthday
Well, well, well. Look who’s leaving the Dakota for Soho.Yoko Ono has leased 10,000 square feet along the cobblestone streets where she will exhibit her late husband’s artwork for four days this weekend. 76 Wooster Street, a four-story brick building between Spring and Broome, will house Gimme Some Truth, a “visual tribute for John Lennon’s 71st birthday,” on view October 7-10.

Staten Island’s Godfather House Goes to the Mattresses
The so-called Godfather house in Staten Island has received not one, but two offers, the Post reported yesterday. The sprawling 6,248-square-foot mansion in the Todt Hill neighborhood was used as the Corleone family’s main digs when the The Godfather was filmed back in 1972.

After Occupy Wall Street, Big Real Estate Would Like to See More Restrictions on Private ‘Parks’
Privately owned public spaces, or POPS, have been largely ignored by New Yorkers, even as they have reshaped the city over the past 50 years. Plazas, passageways and pocket parks have been carved out of giant new office and apartment buildings in exchange for considerable development bonuses (a few hundred thousand square feet here or there). This has led a band of urban activists to fight for awareness of and activity in POPS across the city.

David Shak Gambled on Gold, Lost It All, Made It Back on Fifth Avenue Apartment
While David Shak didn’t play his cards right in recent investments, it looks like he made made a safe bet when he decided to sell his condo at 1049 Fifth Avenue.

Law Journal

James v. National Arts Club

Wall Street Journal

Landlords Push Up Apartment Rents
Landlords in Northern California, New York, Washington, D.C., and a few other major markets were able to pass along hefty rent increases to tenants during the third quarter, despite signs of a weakening economy that could pinch future gains.

Numbers Up, But Mortgage-Relief Effort Still Falters
It’s pretty obvious that the Obama administration’s main mortgage-assistance effort has been inadequate to deal with the massive repercussions of the housing market’s collapse.

Commentary: To Fix Housing, Fix Housing Finance
Martin Neil Baily is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers during the Clinton administration (1999–‘01). He is the editor of the new book, “The Future of Housing Finance,” which features papers by former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan; David Scharfstein and Adi Sunderam of Harvard Business School; Peter Wallison, fellow at the American Enterprise Institute; and others.

Mortgage Rates Fall Below 4%
What if the 30-year mortgage rate fell below 4% and few people cared? We may not have to wonder much longer. The average 30-year mortgage dropped to 3.94% for the week ending Wednesday, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly rate survey released on Thursday.

Reason to Pull REITs from the Wreckage
What will investors abandon next? The first bout of jitters in July hit stocks. Then gold took its licks. The latest target: companies that own government-backed mortgages.

Greenway Plan Gets 'Missing Link'
New York City and state agreed to the development a mile-long stretch of East Side waterfront using $73 million derived from an expected expansion of the United Nations campus, officials said Wednesday.

Read My Lips: A Refi Plan Is Coming
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Thursday he expects a U.S. housing regulator in the coming weeks to detail mortgage refinance programs that could help the battered housing market.

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