For Maverick Real Estate Investors: Time Horizon Matters
Introduction (Via NYT)
At the height of the boom, the Dursts, the Rudins, the Roses, the LeFraks and other members of New York’s royal real estate families were treated like slow-moving dinosaurs on the verge of extinction.
Although they had spent more than five decades carving their names into the New York skyline, the families were outbid and sometimes outmaneuvered by the newer, flashier speculators and investors who swaggered down Manhattan streets buying one skyscraper after another at record-setting prices.
But now that some of the record-breakers are desperately trying to fend off lenders or teetering at the edge of bankruptcy, these families are looking like wise veterans. They are in relatively healthy financial shape and eager to do deals. They do not necessarily take pleasure in the downfall of the upstarts, but they do relish the fact that, as one scion said with a bit of exaggeration, “Now, we’re the only ones breathing.”
A group led by the LeFraks is interested in buying Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, a complex of 11,227 apartments near the East River whose current owner defaulted on $4.4 billion in loans. The Rudins and other families are looking at the Carlton House, an apartment-hotel building on Madison Avenue that is for sale. The Dursts, who like the Rudins and the LeFraks are in their fourth generation in New York real estate, are looking to buy a stake in the $3 billion skyscraper under construction at 1 World Trade Center.
“What the families have a claim to is that they never go away,” said Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York. “When this economic crisis goes away, they’ll still be here. We’ll see about the other guys.”