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As the Chairman of Duval & Stachenfeld – a 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It will not be published in any traditional media – it will go only to friends of our firm.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 Chairman 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.

Regards,

Bruce Stachenfeld
a.k.a The Real Estate Philosopher®

Office Apocalypse - Really?

Jun 8, 2022

They say that "As remote work becomes a more permanent fixture — despite the edicts of a few billionaires on returning to the office — the values of office buildings are headed south, researchers predict. Office values in New York City will drop 28% by 2029, representing value destruction of $49B, according to a new study by academics at New York University and Columbia University, as lease revenue and the total number of leases drop."

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This Time it (Might Be) Different for Real Estate?

May 10, 2022

When the stock market goes down, we assume people ‘lost’ money. And sometimes that is true, of course – if you bought high and sold low -- but if you take a step back, if a stock falls, it means that someone bought and someone sold, albeit at a lower price. A result is that when the market gyrates wildly – up or down – someone (the seller) ends up with a pile of cash from whatever was sold. Only a few months ago – which seems like another lifetime – the name of the game was trying to figure out what a Snoop Dog Avatar was – yes, I know that doesn’t quite make sense – and idly muse whether the NFT you just bought would double, triple or quadruple in value in the next month.

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Rent Control of MARKET RENT MULTIFAMILY is (Only Temporarily) Off the Table in Albany

Apr 28, 2022

Shame on me. I wasn’t paying attention to the words: Good Cause Eviction - I wrongly assumed it was something to do with rent-stabilized properties, which Albany already decimated a couple of years ago. My bad. However, I just learned – to my incredible surprise – that Good Cause Eviction, if enacted, will mean that a form of rent control will apply to market rent housing in New York State.

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Shorting the Empire State Building? Not This Real Estate Philosopher!

Dec 14, 2021

In fact, the rebounding of NYC is already happening right before our eyes. Multifamily rents are up up up. Luxury and non-luxury condos are selling briskly, some for record prices. Anecdotally, I was in Times Square last week to get some dinner on a random Tuesday night, and it was a crazy crowd that I almost had to fight my way through. And try making a dinner reservation. New York City is already back big time. Just like Jerry Seinfeld and I predicted back in March.

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Small Sized Deals Hunt for Capital | A Hole in the Capital Stack

Dec 8, 2021

There is an almost extraordinary amount of capital available to invest in real estate deals. I don’t know if it is a trillion dollars yet, but it is in the hundreds of billions of dollars. At the same time, there is a voracious demand for this capital from various sponsors and developers.

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WFH vs. Workplace Sanity - Who Will Win?

Aug 3, 2021

My strong belief and prediction is that Work-From-Home (WFH) is a trend that started long ago and is moving forward at a moderate pace. COVID made it seem transformational, but it is not. It is just the continuation of a pre-existing trend. I make this point in my upcoming book – The Real Estate Philosopher’s Guide – coming out in October – and I have a graph in the book to illustrate my point

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Your Decision-Making Ability is Worse Than You Think

Jul 13, 2021

As an aside, a lucky break that didn’t seem lucky at the time – in the distant past now -- was many years of depressing purgatory at a couple of major law firms where I was on the ‘loser track.’ And if you are a lawyer reading this, you know what I mean. There is nothing like having some humility whipped into you when you are young enough to learn from it. Consider the most obvious decision for a law firm, namely, how many lawyers to hire. If you hire too many, you have overcapacity, and if you don’t hire enough, you have under capacity – either of which can be tragic. However, when you are making hiring decisions, you don’t know how much work will come in the door in the coming year, i.e., will it be a Global Financial Crisis year or a COVID year coming up, or a robust year. So you do the best you can. Interestingly, I have been wrong almost every year in making this kind of decision.

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