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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It will not be published in any traditional media – it will go only to friends of our firm.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®

Commercial Rent Stabilization is Possibly About to Hit NYC – If You Are in NYC Real Estate, You Need to Read This

Sep 9, 2021

Here we go again with Commercial Rent Stabilization being threatened in NYC. Just so you don’t think I am messing around, the first sentence of the proposed statute says: “This chapter applies to all commercial spaces with a lease or rental agreement that expires after July 1, 2020, whether or not such lease or rental agreement was in effect on that date.”

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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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Hedgecoin Versus Bitcoin

Jun 1, 2021

There will be a real estate point made at the end of this article, I promise. Please do enjoy the rest of it…. So let’s see if I have this right. The reason that Bitcoin is valuable is because they won’t make more of it. It is not the greater fool theory, right? If so, I want to talk about our hedgehog. For those of you that don’t know, the hedgehog at my law firm is a very powerful unifying principle. It stands for the proposition that we really care about our lawyers and our clients, and it is not just because the lawyers bill hours and the clients give us money. It is because there is something special in the relationship.

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New York City is a Power Niche

May 25, 2021

I have been positive on NYC since people started writing it off a year ago – I guess everyone knows that by now. You may find this hard to believe, but I think I missed the biggest reason for positivity. And this is a reason why I am now even more of a NYC bull than before. I give credit for this thinking to Donna Olshan, President of Olshan Realty.

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Retail, Retail, Retail

May 13, 2021

The last time I stuck my neck way out, it was to pound the table that we would have a Big V Recovery, a phrase I coined. I was dead-on accurate that time, so this means I must be right this time, right? I am just kidding, but I am sticking my neck out again right now and saying that this is the best time ever to purchase, invest in, and otherwise play in the retail space. Let me get right into it:

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What if Inflation Goes Crazy?

Apr 21, 2021

Right now, interest rates – and inflation – have been tame for so long that I wonder if we are not really considering a possible imminent outcome, which is that due to all the government spending, inflation goes kind of crazy to the upside. If so, have you considered what would happen to your investments in real estate? Would it hurt your existing deals by reducing the value of what you own? Would it cause defaults on indebtedness? Would your borrowers not be able to make their payments? Would your tenants not be able to pay their rent? Are there CPI hurdles in the documentation that would harm your investments? Would other negative outcomes ensue? To be clear, I am NOT predicting that that will happen. Trying to think ahead, I know I don’t know whether there will be inflation coming, but I am wondering if maybe we are just too used to ridiculously low-interest rates. I mean, the ten-year T-Bill getting near 2% “feels” kind of high, doesn’t it?

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