In the last issue I wrote about retail and made the point that retailers should stop being about “retail” and be about “brands” that are “exclusively” sold in their stores. To refresh, my point was that “retail” is merely a place – a location – where someone with branded (or unbranded) goods sells their wares to the public. Retail is therefore a classic “middleman”. And what does the internet do to “middlemen?” It destroys them – or at least eviscerates their profit margins. To refresh, my point was that “retail” is merely a place – a location – where someone with branded (or unbranded) goods sells their wares to the public. Retail is therefore a classic “middleman”. And what does the internet do to “middlemen?” It destroys them – or at least eviscerates their profit margins.Read more
As the Managing Partner of Duval & Stachenfeld – a 70-lawyer law firm in mid-town NYC known as The Pure Play in Real Estate Law – I am inviting you to join The Real Estate Philosopher™. This will consist of my thoughts and also thoughts of friends and colleagues.
It will not be published in any traditional media – it will go only to friends of our firm. The purpose here is very simple – to put forth thoughts in the real estate world that are different, provocative, and challenging of accepted wisdom. Hopefully, nothing said here will be mainstream thinking.
You may be wondering how I am qualified to write on these topics since I am “just” a lawyer. However, I have an unusual place in the real estate world. As the managing partner of The Pure Play in Real Estate Law (one of the largest real estate law practices in NYC), I interact with an incredible number of real estate players. This ranges from small real estate shops with nothing but a gleam in their eyes, to some of the largest real estate institutions in the world, and everything in between. This gives me a unique and global perspective and allows me to act as an amateur philosopher in the real estate world. This has always been my hobby and it is what I love doing.
a.k.a The Real Estate Philosopher™
The retail world is in turmoil. That is nothing you don’t already know. I will not bore you with the 100 or so articles on retailers closing and all of the negative press in the retail and real estate worlds. Instead, I will give you my (philosophical) thoughts as follows….. I start with a question as to what, in a big picture sense, is “retail” anyway?Read more
Real estate just became its own separate asset class. However, ironically, that may have occurred just at the moment it should have been morphing more deeply into other asset classes. Don’t get me wrong, as a real estate professional I am very happy about real estate being named as its own investment class; however, it is worth taking stock of what is actually happening around us and its implications.Read more
One of the most important things for any real estate business and, indeed, any business is a successful marketing program. Of course in our hearts we want to believe that if we just do something great then everyone will figure it out and be impressed. But alas, that is just not true. Indeed, Einstein flunked physics and couldn’t land a job. And everyone has an example of a super-talented person that ends up just toiling in the trenches for someone else. Like it or not, the world belongs to the marketers. And I believe that this will increase more and more over time. Someone – but I cannot find the exact quote – said something like this:Read more
I have been watching â€“ and our firm has been participating in â€“ the co-working trend. It started with Regus when it was founded in 1989 but didnâ€™t really go anywhere until WeWork captured everyoneâ€™s imagination with its trendy platform. Since then, numerous competitors have entered the market, each with its own twist to appeal to different parties.Read more
My law firm is in NYC handling real estate transactions in the US that originate from counterparties based all over the world. A bunch of these transactions depend on money coming in from China (debt or equity or other structure). It used to be there was always a degree of uncertainty about the viability of this capital, but this uncertainty was gradually diminishing as more Chinese players developed stature and reputation in the US.Read more
Let me tell you an interesting story about a professor who teaches a course in entrepreneurship. He starts his course by reading the notes from the founding partners meeting from the original meeting of the founders (now about 70 years ago). It goes something like this:Read more
Sometimes someone tells you something that is so ridiculously obvious but so dramatic to everything you have ever thought about, that it kind of shocks the heck out of you. So here is something that just sent me for a loop. It is a certainly philosophical in nature, so that fits in well in this publication â€“ and it concerns the juxtaposition between luck and skill and how the two are intertwined.Read more