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The Real Estate Philosopher


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.
 
I have heard her name before; however, I have never met her.  She was quoted in The Real Deal article, "A FOMO market: Manhattan new development sees record activity," saying:
 
“If you’re working in New York … you’re ambitious, you’re creative. That’s not for people who want to sit in sweatpants at home.”
 
I thought this was a cute sound bite at first and then said:   
 
"Oh my God.  New York City is a Power Niche!!!!!"
 
"What is a Power Niche again?", you might ask if you haven’t read my book on Power Niches.  In a nutshell, it is a niche that is created that builds on itself and gives you pricing power.
 
It is a marketing thing, to be sure, but it applies to NYC, and Ms. Olshan’s quickie quote encapsulates it perfectly.
 
Over the years, I have written about NYC’s staying power during its worst of times – i.e., during the GFC – during 9/11 – and now during COVID – always sticking to the view that NYC would be fine because the talent would stick around.  And I have never swerved from this view.
 
But Ms. Olshan’s quote takes it to a new level as in just a few words she explains – better than I did - the lure of NYC is more subtle than I have understood.
 
The subtext of her point is that what is so enticing about NYC is that when you get right down to it, the lure of NYC is that NYC is NOT for everyone!
 
There are a lot of people who do want to sit in sweatpants at home.  And you know there is nothing wrong with that.  For many people, a job is just a job.  They have other life interests, and I am in no position to judge others on what they should be doing with their lives.
 
But that is not what NYC is about.
 
For many, NYC is for those for whom their job is an adventure, where their career is exciting.  Where work and play merge into a cornucopia of excitement.  Where the bustle on the street – and in their offices – is pure adrenaline and makes their hearts race with excitement – and where they can’t wait to get to work in the morning.
 
That is how I feel.  And I know that those who I work with and deal with every day feel the same.
 
But at the same time, part of the excitement is our realization at some deep level that New York City is NOT for everyone.
 
That is a good portion of the magic of it all.  And that is what a Power Niche is all about.  It is a ‘niche’ that appeals – greatly – to some but not all.
 
This is why we pay more to live here and put up with the things we kvetch about – but no matter what bad stuff happens, we couldn’t think of leaving.  If we are the right fit for NYC, we are addicted to it.
 
So thank you, Donna Olshan, for your inspiring quote. 
 
And for everyone in the real estate world, if you have a chance to invest in, lend on, work in, develop, build in, or otherwise interact with the NYC real estate world – don’t pass up that chance.
 
Bruce Stachenfeld aka The Real Estate Philosopher™

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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™

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