Happy New Year from The Real Deal!


In honor of the New Year holiday, we won’t be posting on Thursday (but we’ll keep our eyes peeled for breaking news). The Real Deal wishes you and your family a safe and happy holiday, and a joyous 2014! Be sure to check back here on Friday, starting at 7:30 a.m., for the latest in real estate news and the first magazine issue of 2015.



6 qualities your mentor should have

Real estate is an ever-changing, innovative and competitive industry – one that is filled with much uncertainty yet can lead to a wildly successful and exciting future. For me, navigating these waters as one of the youngest Realtors in Kansas City would not be possible without the help and guidance of a diverse group of mentors …


The Wrap: A peek at planned Downtown Brooklyn tower, “boutique” condo projects on the rise … and more

Renderings for 141 Willoughby Street in Downtown Brooklyn

Rendering of 141 Willoughby Street in Downtown Brooklyn

1. Tower planned for DoBro site once threatened by eminent domain [6sqft]
2. “Boutique” condo projects are on the rise [NYP]
3. Why Barbara Corcoran trusts Mark Cuban’s investment instincts [Business Insider]
4. SK Development’s Scott Shnay on über-luxury vs. affordable luxury [NYT]
5. Loveliest U.S. homes for sale in 2014 [Curbed]
6. Storefront, retail-style health clinics exploding in popularity [Bloomberg]
7. Sting examines the “Englishman in New York” experience [NYT]
8. Witness Loew’s Canal Theatre’s state of decay [Curbed]

Tess Hofmann


Paramount Homes picks up Bronx housing complex

3224 Grand Concourse in the Bronx

3224 Grand Concourse in the Bronx

Eli Bleeman’s Paramount Homes, a New Jersey-based developer specializing in building a community of houses, acquired a housing complex in the Bronx’s Bedford Park neighborhood for $16.2 million.

The eight buildings at 3224 Grand Concourse are each five-story walk-ups and span a total of 147,400 square feet. There are 112 apartments and five commercial units in the development.

The seller, 3224 Grand Concourse LLC, has owned the buildings for three years, having paid $9.8 million for the properties at the time, the New York Observer reported. [NYO]Mark Maurer


Russian billionaire selling Columbus Circle pad for $23M

From left: Oleg Baibakov and 80 Columbus Circle

From left: Oleg Baibakov and 80 Columbus Circle

Russian oligarch Oleg Baibakov is selling his three-bedroom apartment at the Mandarin Oriental Residences at Columbus Circle for $23 million.

The Russian billionaire, who is a close friend of Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, entered contract to sell the 3,168-square-foot unit, the New York Daily News reported. Baibakov bought the apartment in 2007 for $13.5 million.

Douglas Elliman’s Jacky Teplitzky had the listing.

The apartment is located on the building‘s 71st floor with panoramic views of the East River and Hudson River. The unit also comes with oak flooring and stainless steel finishes, according to the listing. [NYDN] — Claire Moses


Loan for 45 John sealed on a handshake, now in dispute


45 John Street (Photo: PropertyShark)

Investment sales deals often appear neat and ordered, certainly when announced in congratulatory messages and memorial tombstones. But a dispute over a small loan needed to buy a residential building in Lower Manhattan — a deal sealed by a handshake — reveals a different story.

A Brooklyn investment team including Chaim Miller and Samuel Sprei were closing a deal on March 7 with Josh Zegen’s Madison Realty Capital to buy 45 John Street, a former loft building that was converted to apartments, for $60 million.

The building is located between Nassau and Dutch streets in Lower Manhattan.

But Miller and Sprei needed another $1.97 million in cash to close the deal, information from a lawsuit filed this month in Manhattan State Supreme Court states.

On the day of the closing, Miller phoned Jacob Deckelbaum, a real estate investor and managing member of the Brooklyn title company Reliable Abstract, to ask for short term loan of $1.97 million, a source familiar with the conversation, said.

Deckelbaum agreed to the loan, with the understanding he would be repaid within a few days, the papers state. The deal was secured over the phone on a “handshake,” however, and not set out formally in writing.

Miller has been involved in real estate for years, but has taken a much higher profile this year. He was one of several serious bidders involved in the drawn out sale of the Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill; a player in the complex sale of the large Greenpoint development site 49 Dupont Street and an owner in the residential conversion of the St. John’s Hospital in Queens, among other deals.

Now, Deckelbaum is suing, claiming he’s only been repaid $500,000 of the money. The lawsuit, filed Dec. 16, seeks $2.5 million in monetary damages and at least $6 million in punitive damages. Deckelbaum is also seeking a 14 percent stake in the property, the court papers show. A spokesperson for Miller and Sprei said it is unclear how much money Deckelbaum is still owed.

Deckelbaum declined to comment, but his attorney, Mitchell C. Shapiro, did not believe there was any nefarious intent.

“I think at time real estate moguls like Sprei and Miller, involved in a half-dozen transactions at a time, at times sometimes forget facts and sometimes they conflate facts in different transactions, and they make mistakes,” Shapiro said.

Shapiro said the case was not yet settled. A press representative for Miller and Sprei, said the dispute has been settled.

“At all times Mr. Miller continues to honor his handshake agreement, and has made consistent periodic payments to Deckelbaum,” the representative said in a statement to The Real Deal.

While not unheard of, such unsecured, short-terms loans are not common, said Aaron Jungreis, president of the Manhattan-based brokerage Rosewood Realty Group.

“It happens, but it is rare. I think it is something that used to happen [more frequently] years ago, but not now,” Jungreis said. Jungreis says when he lends money, the transactions are memorialized in writing.

State Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich granted Deckelbaum’s request for a temporary restraining order earlier this month that protects some of his rights, Shapiro said. The next court date is set for Feb. 2, he said.