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blogs & sites: online resources reviewed

January 24, 2009

Real estate bloging goes mainstream

"...blogs devoted to the industry still have plenty to say.
These days their tone is often more serious than snarky"
SAMANTHA STOREY, NEW YORK TIMES

blogs I was delighted to pick up the New York Times this morning to find that they had finally run a cover story on blogging in the weekly real estate section. Samantha Storey's And the Blog Goes On serves as a primer on the local scene and profiles Curbed, Matrix, Brownstoner, True Gotham, UrbanDigs and PropertyGrunt. No doubt feeling the pinch in readership and advertising dollars themselves, the NY Times was quick to point out that, "For some blogs, the real estate slowdown has led to a leveling off in readership.", and noted that that brokerages had started shifting advertising resources to local blogs as a way of controlling costs and getting targeted Web based exposure. Curbed's founder Lockhart Steele is quoted in the story saying that “Traffic on Curbed has been flat”, while Noah Rosenblatt over at UrbanDigs posted his impressive growth in traffic numbers today. It's good to see the most authoritative big media outlet recognizing a NYC blogging community that has been serving an interested and engaged readership— focused on the New York market in ways that are unique, timely, informative, opinionated and personal. Congrats on the ink guys!

February 9, 2008

video: foreign buyers in Manhattan

blogs and web sitesI've been away from the keyboards this week, working with foreign investors looking for a building. It's the kind of work that takes a bit more shoe leather than condo sales, so my time has been stretched a bit thin. My assessment of the market right now is that despite the uncertainty about the economy, it has once again heated up in Manhattan. People are looking at the long term strength of New York City and deciding that this is where they want to be. The recent tic down in interest rates didn't hurt either. Investment quality buildings in the five to twenty million dollar price range are few and far between. Amidst the running, I did manage to post some recent articles this week to NewsReal, and came across a video Web log site that covers NYC Real Estate called IntoThe Box.tv, which posted the piece featured here on the strength of the Euro and how it's influencing real property sales in New York City. I'm curious to know what our readers think of the work on this site. I commented on foreign investment a couple of weeks ago when The Corcoran Report was released.

The ability to diversify into Manhattan property is something which Europeans, Asians and Middle Easterners are finding very attractive; but the deals have to work on their own merits too. The discount to the dollar is substantial, but the return is in dollars too, so the risk assessment to be made can be complex. With the dollar trading uncommonly low against foreign currencies it gives them an extra margin of comfort in their decisions. In condos, some are buying pied-a-terres for themselves, which is an easier decision based on need; while others are making traditional property investments and are seeking a return by appreciation over time, or by development. The understanding of the marketplace that a local broker can bring, and an attorney who can navigate our document heavy legal system, can be can critical to making successful acquisitions.

Updated 02.11.2008

January 24, 2008

Corcoran and Curbed at Inman Connect

professionalThis talk about the marketplace, technology and brokerage practice was one of the many highlights at the InmanConnect Conference held earlier this month in New York City. This segment featured three of the most informed people working in the world of real estate, Lockhart Steele, founder & publisher of Curbed.com, Pam Liebman, president & CEO of my affiliated brokerage The Corcoran Group; and moderated by InmanNews founder Brad Inman, who helped keep the discussion lively. I attended this session and can tell you that the audience, which came from across the country for this three day event, was riveted by this discussion whose subtext was about the vibrancy and resilience of the New York City real estate market— in sharp contrast to the downwardly trending national market.

December 5, 2007

Video: Alex Steffen on Bright Green Cities

green cityIn his July 2005 TED talk, "Inspired ideas for a sustainable future", Worldchanging.com founder Alex Steffen offers a still relevant, lightning round of answers, to some of our planet's greatest sustainability challenges. Its a wide perspective on topics which range from real estate development (green cities and buildings), to digital collaboration tools, to ingenious tools for the developing world. At his site, which he calls a "news service for the unimaginable future", Mr. Stefen states that "plenty of people are working on tools for change, but the fields in which they work remain unconnected. That the motive, means and opportunity for profound positive change are already present." It is a showcase for inspired ideas that can contribute to a greener future and a more stable planet.

related links:
TED Web site
WorldChanging.com

November 29, 2007

Video: Tribeca & Lower Manhattan development

stoler_o.jpgsitesIt's late. The television drones softly in the background. I lift my face up from the laptop, pick up the remote, and mindlessly surf right into The Stoler Report on CUNY TV causing me to pause and listen in. Suddenly, my channel surfing is not quite as mindless anymore. The show is an engaging round table conversation on property development in NYC. It's host is Michael Stoler of The Sun, NYU and a Senior Principal at Apollo Real Estate Partners. The broadcasts are available online too (RealPlayer required) at The Stoler Report Web site and has been on our recommended sites list since we launched. A couple of recent shows focused on Tribeca and Lower Manhattan development, and will be of particular interest to my readers. They cover residential and hotel developement, retail space, and office leasing in the downtown market.

The first is Developments in Lower Manhattan (30 min.) The guests include Benjamin McGrath of Edward J. Minskoff Equities, Inc., which is completing their mixed use residential/retail development at 101 Warren Street in Tribeca. I visited there Tuesday evening to preview the new Barnes and Nobel. 200,000 square feet of large scale retail space has been built and leased there; with Bed, Bath & Beyond now open too, and an even larger Whole Foods on the way, as the one million square foot building approaches completion. It has fundamentally transformed Greenwich Street on the borderline between Tribeca and Lower Manhattan. 101 Warren St., TribecaAlso on the show are Steven Witkoff of The Witkoff Organization, which did Cipriani Residences at 55 Wall Street; and Joseph Harbert from Cushman & Wakefield commenting on commercial leasing. Next, What’s Happening in Hudson Square & Tribeca (30 min.) focuses on the commercial and retail components of these neighborhoods with Elliott Ingerman, Tribeca Associates; William Rudin, Rudin Management; and Carl Weisbrod, Trinity Real Estate. Interesting talk, and a peak inside the heads of some of the players shaping the landscape of New York City.

related links:
The Stoler Report
Developments in Lower Manhattan (30 min.)
What’s Happening in Hudson Square & Tribeca (30 min.)

updated 12.5.2007

November 22, 2007

real estate purchases great and small

You've been nice, so treat yourself to that new penthouse loft you so well deserve this holiday season, or if your budget is a little tighter, get a book about decorating one. Either way, start your search here.

continued »

November 3, 2007

My first year as a real estate blogger

Today marks the first anniversary of my blogging adventure. I'd like to take a moment to thank our subscribers and frequent readers for their interest and support. It has been a lot of work, but the feed back from the public and my professional colleagues has made it really worthwhile. Web traffic analytics show that I'm being read in 103 countries globally and visitors click through and read an average of over 2 stories on each visit. I'm encouraged by that broad based, quality readership.

continued »

October 31, 2007

Spirits of New York

Down the Hudson, south of Sleepy Hollow, New York City has its own haunts and legends of restless spirits.

continued »

October 15, 2007

newsreal gets a gut rennovation

I'm happy to announce that newsreal has now grown up and leads the redesigned third column of comitini.com. The bookmarks are still hand selected, in a point and shoot style blog on real estate and New York City news.

continued »

September 21, 2007

Television: 'Open House NYC' begins a new season

There's a new weekly show on the airwaves about the local real estate. "Open House NYC" is focused on the residential market in the Tri-State area. You can sample one of their segments in this embedded video.

continued »

August 24, 2007

The SmartMoney TV interview on buying a home

The folks at SmartMoney TV asked me to comment on camera about common mistakes when buying a home. I'm captured speaking with my hands in this video titled "Avoiding Mistakes Homebuyers Make".

continued »

June 12, 2007

The transparent broker

I'm giving a short talk about brokers and blogging at Corcoran's Harlem office today. Blogging for business is a big topic, and my talk today is short, so I've decided to frame it as more of a "why do" than a "how to". Blogging is a way to engage people and spread ideas, in a way that is powerful, conversational and happens almost in real time. For me, it is all about transparency and visibility, which have similar meanings when used in this context. It offers people the chance to have a conversation with me in much wider way them ever before. I believe that in the future this will be the norm. To not have an online presence may invoke the question, "Why are you hiding?"

continued »

June 8, 2007

What's it look like there? Google introduces street views

There's an interesting thread about historical documentation running through this week's posts. From the world captured by Berenice Abbott in photos— up to today's networked world. About a week ago, Google introduced a technology that redefines what documenting the city means, in a way that is unique to our time. They quietly launched an amazing mapping technology they are calling street views, as an extension of Google maps. It is pure function on such an impressive scale that it is quite beautiful in a way that would have been difficult to imagine in Ms. Abbott's time. It shocked me.

continued »

June 4, 2007

Vintage NYC scenes and skyline, now on-line

Berenice Abbott is a photographer who documented NYC in the WPA era from 1935 to 1938. The New York Public Library site has put the entire collection online in a digital gallery. It is an amazing resource for anyone interested in seeing our city's past.

continued »

May 30, 2007

new! the real estate book shop at comitini.com

Introducing the book shop on comitini.com. As some of you who read me know, I occasionally talk about a book, and embed an amazon.com link, so that you can get more info, read reviews, and buy it too. I've expanded that idea to include a book shop here on comitini.com which I launched yesterday, this is a test flight that I hope to make permanent. A portion of all profits from the book shop will be used to support Corcoran Cares, a grassroots, charitable initiative by Corcoran's agents, to give back to the communities we serve.

continued »

May 22, 2007

Rebuilding downtown manhattan, a bird's eye view

Now appearing weekly on LowerManhattan.info is a new map which details nearly 70 downtown construction and renovation projects. The map is updated every week by the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center. The LMCCC— along with the city Department of Transportation, New York City Police Department, and other partners use the map continually to identify locations where traffic congestion, pedestrian restrictions, or other access issues may arise throughout the downtown reconstruction effort.

continued »

May 15, 2007

You get paid all that money for just 60 Minutes of work?

I wish that I could take credit for the above headline, but it was from a commenter on the CBS News Web site about a fluff piece for Redfin, the Seattle based, limited services "broker" on 60 Minutes titled "High-tech Real Estate Moves In".

continued »

May 4, 2007

Inside the architects' studio at ground zero

The Tribeca Trib is running a day in the life style cover story this month that is a look inside the architect's studios at Seven World Trade Center; "Silverstein Eyes Progress on His Towers". In a second story they cover the exodus of cultural institutions from the site's plan.

continued »

April 20, 2007

real estate rollercoaster

This is one of the more creative visualizations I've seen regarding US home prices adjusted for inflation. Richard Hodge is responsible for this animated rollercoaster model which graphs home values since 1890, based on figures developed by Yale Economist Robert Schiller. It's data as theatre, and a metaphor for the kind of fear that bubble bloggers feel compelled to promote.

continued »

February 17, 2007

the news real: this week's jumplist

My personal real estate reading list is compiled on the fly under "news real℠" in the right column. Permit me to direct your attention to a few of the original news items which caught my attention this week.

continued »

February 13, 2007

The Hungry Cabbie

It's said that it is possible to eat in a different New York City restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner, each day for the rest of one's life, and never eat in the same place twice. At the intersection of Broadway & Gourmand, a man is standing dedicated to changing all that. 'Famous Fat Dave' aka David Freedenberg, is a NYC cab driver who's blog, The Hungry Cabbie just couldn't happen anywhere else than in NYC. This is the real thing.

continued »

January 24, 2007

Baby won't you park my car

A couple of the most often asked questions that I hear when showing properties are: "Where's the closest garage?" and "Do you have any idea how much they charge?" Here's a tool that can help answer those two questions with a great level of choices and details. NYC Garages can help you to find a place to park your car on a monthly or daily basis; complete with maps and pricing.

continued »

November 3, 2006

why a broker blog?

The best clients that I have, are also the best informed. This space is built on the premise that the more you know, the more you'll understand what's special about the real estate services that I offer.

continued »

September 3, 2006

redfin spins the new york times

In his New York Times story The Last Stand of the 6-Percenters? writer Damon Darlin seems to be an advocate for Redfin, a new discount broker that reduces its fees by offering less services.

continued »

September 1, 2006

welcome to comitini.com, version 2.0

You'll love this new development for the endless city views and designer layouts. It is full-service, gut-renovated, re-wired and centrally located. It's the place that has everyone talking. No board approval! Open house 24/7

continued »