City official warns against “overcorrecting” on office conversions

As developers and commercial landlords look to fast-track office-to-residential conversions, a senior City Hall official raised a caution flag Thursday. Maria Torres-Springer, deputy mayor of economic development, said the city must ensure conversions of languishing office space does not undermine the economic diversity of certain neighborhoods, Crain’s reported. “We have to make sure we are not overcorrecting in any of the districts that are hubs of activity but are really planning for the long term,”

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Watch: Related’s billionaires break up

The partnership between megadevelopers Jorge Pérez and Steve Ross has come to an end. Ross, whose New York-based Related Companies has been expanding in South Florida, this week dropped the bombshell that it has split with Pérez’s Related Group. The Real Deal‘s Katherine Kallergis, who broke the news, spoke with Hiten Samtani about the factors that might have led to the separation. “You could tell they were competing, which had not happened before,” Kallergis said,

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Schwarzman brushes off BREIT fears as “a bit baffling”

After pumping the brakes on redemptions from Blackstone’s real estate investment trust, the firm’s chairman is attempting to do the same for investor fears. Blackstone chairman Stephen Schwarzman spoke publicly on Wednesday for the first time since the Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust restricted investor withdrawals last week. In comments at an industry conference reported by the Financial Times, Schwarzman said the fears were “a bit baffling,” calling REIT “some of our best work.” “The

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Congress probes Jared Kushner’s dealings amid 666 Fifth Avenue sale

Congress is upping the ante in a probe of Jared Kushner’s diplomatic dealings around the time of his family firm’s sale of a prominent office building in Manhattan. Two committees sent letters to the State Department and Department of Defense this week, requesting material regarding a potential “financial conflict of interest” by Kushner during the sale of 666 Fifth Avenue, the Washington Post reported. The Senate Finance Committee and House Oversight Committee, prodded by new

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NYPD raids Koeppel’s Midtown building after brothel probe

The New York Police Department raided a Midtown East building belonging to William Koeppel after an undercover investigation into a brothel in the property’s commercial space. Authorities raided the property at 346 East 52nd Street and shut down massage parlor, Beauty Plus, Crain’s reported. Police in July ran an undercover sting operation at the parlor, where they were offered sexual favors in exchange for money three separate times, according to complaint filed by the city.

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Can private clubs bring New York workers back to the office?

The return to office has been slow and uneven, but some New York developers of high-end buildings are hoping elite private clubs can lure workers back, Forbes reports. ”The future of workspace design is about creating a destination,” Tom Vecchione, principal at the architecture and interior design firm Vocon, said to Forbes. “We can see the line between traditional workplaces and classic residential development blurring. The design for work needs to include wellness and that

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SEC sues Kent Swig’s cryptocurrency partner

All that glitters isn’t gold in Kent Swig’s adventures in cryptocurrency venture, which is facing more problems due to a lawsuit targeting top executive Stephen Braverman. The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit against Braverman, accusing him of perpetrating a pump-and-dump scheme for a cryptocurrency predating his partnership with Swig, Insider reported. Swig is not accused of wrongdoing in the lawsuit, which was filed on Sep. 30 in the Southern District of Florida. Braverman

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Blackstone sells MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay stakes

Blackstone is folding its hand at a pair of Las Vegas hotels, selling to its stake partner at the properties. The investment firm is selling its 49.9 percent stake in the MGM Grand Las Vegas and Mandalay Bay to Vici Properties, which owns the remaining stake, the Wall Street Journal reported. Blackstone is set to receive almost $1.3 billion in cash and Vici will assume $3 Blackstone’s share in a $3 billion debt. The deal

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Fifth straight monthly decline in pending home sales

When mortgage rates rise, homebuyers tend to back off. This summer and fall have been a case study. Pending home sales dropped for the fifth consecutive month in October, Bloomberg reported. The National Association of Realtors index recorded a 4.6 percent drop in contract signings to purchase previously owned homes. In the past year, pending home sales are down 36.7 percent. Mortgage rates were drastically lower at the end of last year. After surging past

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NYCHA tenants’ rent arrears surge to $443M

Private landlords weren’t the only ones slammed by the pandemic and the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program. New York City Housing Authority tenants skipped rent too, racking up nearly half a billion dollars in arrears and limiting the authority’s ability to make critical repairs to its apartments. Unpaid rent at public housing has surged to $443 million, authority officials told The City. That’s more than four times greater than existed at the start of the

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