Hello, real estate friends. Welcome to 2021. I am guessing you might feel a sense of relief that 2020 is over with. COVID is still circulating and as awful as ever – and actually worse than ever - but at the same time, 2021 looms up ahead of us with the hope of better times to come. Here are my thoughts as a mixture of trends I am seeing plus some predictions for this year:Read more
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It will not be published in any traditional media – it will go only to friends of our firm.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.
a.k.a The Real Estate Philosopher®
Retail to many is a location where the retailer takes products from a producer of the products, puts them on a shelf, marks them up 50%, and customers come in and buy them at the higher price. The retailer gets the markup (less its costs). I would call that business "Old Retail." But then there is a completely different kind of Retail, a location where the owner of a brand, or something that people need or desire, has a competitive advantage. The most obvious is an Apple Store, but there are many more, and you know it when you see it since it was packed with customers (before COVID) and will be again (after COVID). Technically this kind of business is also Retail, isn't it? But it is hardly struggling. I have coined the phrase, which you have seen in my prior writings, "Power Niche" to describe businesses that derive their competitive strength from a niche that they have ownership of. I would call this business "Power Niche Retail."Read more
My belief was that in a general sense, a country like ours with its entrepreneurial spirit and Democratic form of government would do what it always does when things go wrong and allow the “creative destruction” of capitalism to cause the rebirth of new businesses as quickly as other businesses died off. And that has surely happened – I loved this article, by way of example: Is It Insane to Start a Business During Coronavirus? Millions of Americans Don’t Think So.Read more
“The office is dead,” say the headlines all over the place. Seriously? That is what I am hearing. Since clients and others keep asking me what I think about this, I will weigh in. I have a few thoughts to start with: The office is not dead The office is not dead The office is not deadRead more
Perhaps my biggest defect as a predictor of the future is that at heart, I am sometimes too optimistic. Maybe it is my natural contrarian instinct not to fall prey to the media’s irrepressible spirit to seek out and promulgate the most depressing and negative news possible. So here I go again. As a philosopher, I will do my best to be strictly analytical, albeit with a slight optimism bias……Read more
It is obvious. We are in a mega bubble right now. There is a wall of capital heading towards real estate that makes the tidal wave in the movie Deep Impact look like a ripple – I will call it The Wall of Capital.Read more
No, we at Duval & Stachenfeld haven’t lost our minds. Apparently a proposal of this nature is being discussed in Congress right now and a bill could be introduced by Congressman Van Taylor (R. Texas), as soon as this coming week. The bill he would introduce would be called the “Helping Open Properties Endeavor Act of 2020,” and it would establish a “HOPE Preferred Equity Facility.” It is not finalized yet, but this is what we think “might” happen.Read more