NYC real estate firms join Israeli bond boom

Gary Barnett and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange

Gary Barnett and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange

New York real estate firms, including Extell Development and Zarasai Group, have issued bonds totaling $436 million on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

In total, companies have sold $14.6 billion worth of bonds this year through November 20, up from $8.7 billion in the same period of 2013, according to Bloomberg News. That amount represents the largest wave of local debt issuance since 2007.

“Institutional investors and pension managers are thirsty for investment as money in the bank hardly yields anything,” Israel Shimonov, founding partner at Shimonov & Co. Advocates, told Bloomberg News. “The government does not issue enough bonds, and equity listings are limited.”

Gary Barnett’s Extell raised 1.05 billion shekels ($270 million) from the sale in June — the largest foreign debt sale this year, as The Real Deal reported. Brookland Capital, which has several development projects in Brooklyn, has also raised funds on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.  [Bloomberg News]Christopher Cameron


Inside a 19th-century Brooklyn brownstone


353 Clinton Avenue

Brooklyn brownstones are as popular as ever. But all too often, these historic homes are stripped of their period details. So here’s a look inside an archetypal fin de siècle home in Clinton Hill.

This particular home once stood at 353 Clinton Avenue in Clinton Hill and belonged to the industrialist William Henry Nichols, co-founder of G. H. Nichols and Company — a chemical company based on Newtown Creek — according to Hyperallergic.

This album of seven photos is by architectural photographer B.J. Smith from about 1876. The photos are up for auction next month at Swann Auction Galleries in New York, with a pre-sale estimate of $500–750.

Unfortunately, the home no longer stands.







353-clinton-ave-interiors-1[Hyperallergic] – Christopher Cameron

Insane pirate-themed Caribbean mansion to hit auction block

Villa Whydah in Charlotte Amalie

Villa Whydah in Charlotte Amalie

Financier Tom Hudson, founder of investment firm Pirate Capital, is auctioning off his pirate-themed villa on the island of St. Thomas.

Previously on sale for $35 million back in 2012, the island couldn’t find a buyer so it will now be auctioned off to the highest bidder, starting at the low, low price of $6 million.

“The owner has selected the luxury auction process because he is ready to start another real estate project, and wants to first know this property is off his books,” Platinum Luxury Auctions President Trayor Lesnock told Business Insider. “The date-certainty provided by the auction was very attractive to him in this regard, as opposed to continuing the traditional listing process, which can be quite lengthy for higher-priced island properties.”

Known as Villa Whydah, it’s been described by Hudson as “the retirement home of a pirate who surrounds himself with the bounty of his exploits with his wife at his side.”

Named after a pirate ship that sank in 1717, Whydah sits on the western tip of St. Thomas with views of Botany Bay, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Caribbean Sea. Not only does the 19,000-square-foot home have helipad access, two guest homes, and a caretaker house, but it’s fully-outfitted with every bell and whistle someone could dream up.

It comes with six bedrooms, eight bathrooms, and a custom-tiled pool and spa. The mansion is also outfitted with top-notch security and a Crestron System that allows you to control every aspect of the home’s electronics, lighting, and temperature from anywhere in the world on your smart phone.

According to the Wall Street Journal, it cost Hudson almost $20 million to renovate the compound.

Lee Steiner at Sotheby’s International Realty will be sharing the sale with auction house Platinum Luxury Auctions.

This is Villa Whydah in Charlotte Amalie, the capital of the Virgin Islands.


It’s located on the western tip of St. Thomas, and has incredible views of Botany Bay.


It has a large outdoor pool, spa, and hot tub.


Villa Whydah got its name from one of the most successful pirate ships that ever sailed before sinking in April of 1717.


Inside, the interior follows through on the pirate-chic theme.


There’s also a caretaker house for maintaining the ample ocean-front property.


This observation deck looks like something you’d find in a castle, not a residential house.


One last look at the ocean-front dream home.


Looking back at author Edith Wharton’s Manhattan home

 14 West 23rd Street and Edith Wharton

14 West 23rd Street and Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton spent her life chronicling the excesses and dramas of Gilded Age New York in her novels. But, alas, all that is solid melts into air: today Wharton’s childhood home at 14 West 23rd Street is a Starbucks.

As a young woman in the late 19th-centruy, the then Edith Jones lived in what was a stately new brownstone in the fashionable Madison Square neighborhood, according to Ephemeral NY.

In 1934, Wharton remembered her old Manhattan stomping grounds in “A Backward Glance,” writing:

“The little girl and her father walked up Fifth Avenue; the old Fifth Avenue with its double line of low brown-stone houses, of a desperate uniformity of style, broken only—and surprisingly—by two equally unexpected features: the fenced-in plot of ground where the old Miss Kennedys’ cows were pastured, and the truncated Egyptian pyramid which so strangely served as a reservoir for New York’s water supply.”

“The Fifth Avenue of that day was a placid and uneventful thoroughfare along which genteel landaus, broughams, and victorias, and more countrified vehicles of the ‘carryall’ and ‘surrey’ type, moved up and down at decent intervals and a decorous pace,” she added.

But by the 1870s, Wharton’s family had left the home and it was extensively remodeled, with a cast-iron front.

Still, there are a few brownstones on the block that still resemble the façade of Wharton’s famous home. [Ephemeral NY]Christopher Cameron

Tree fees prove challenge to developers, homeowners

A fallen tree in Brooklyn

A fallen tree in Brooklyn

Builders and homeowners claim they are being gouged by the Parks Department and MTA for tree removal and replacement.

Last year, the government agencies collected $2.7 million in tree fees, according to the New York Post. During that period, 275 trees were removed or damaged, averaging about $10,000 in restitution fees per tree, agency data shows.

“They’re robbing you without a gun,” said Staten Island builder Jerry Bivona, who told the Post that the Parks Department fleeced him over a rotten oak tree in Annadale last year.

Bivona said that he was quoted $58,000 to have the tree removed and replaced with numerous others. He was told that if he didn’t pay the agency he would have to plant 48 trees on his own and guarantee them for two years.

And builders who want to develop affordable housing have been hit with six-figure bills for as little as one tree, the Building Industry Association of New York City told the Post. [NYP] Christopher Cameron

New townhouses approved for Brooklyn Heights

A rendering of 295 Hicks Street

A rendering of 295 Hicks Street

With Brooklyn land prices soaring, new townhouses are a rarity. But no less than three new-construction townhouses are rising in Brooklyn Heights.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the proposal to build on a lot at 295-299 Hicks Street, between State and Joralemon streets, that has been vacant since the 1940s, according to Curbed.

The development first came under LPC review in September, but the commission considered the design too “awkward.”

The four-story, single-family townhouses are being developed by Heights Advisors and will feature four bedrooms, and front and rear terraces. [Curbed]Christopher Cameron

See which states have the most super-rich residents

California and New York topped the list of states with the most ultra-high-net-worth individuals

California and New York topped the list of states with the most ultra-high-net-worth individuals

As part of its annual World Ultra Wealth Report, wealth intelligence firm Wealth-X created a map showing which US states are home to the most super-rich people (defined as those with $30 million or more in assets).

Some states have more ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) individuals than major countries. Wealth-X found that California had more super rich people than the United Kingdom (13,445 v. 11,510); New York had more than India (9,530 v. 8,595); and Texas had more than Canada (6,510 v. 5,305).

The numbers in the grey circles show how many UHNW individuals live in each state; colors indicate change in that number from 2013.


In 2014, the world’s UHNW population grew 6% to 211,275, and that group’s collective wealth increased 7% to nearly $30 trillion, according to Wealth-X. Although these individuals account for only 0.004% of the world’s adult population, they control almost 13% of the world’s total wealth.

“Even though North America was strongly affected by the Global Financial Crisis, recovery for the region’s wealthiest was swift,” the report noted. The chart below shows how North America’s UHNW population and their wealth have grown (and are projected to grow) in this decade.