March Madness arrives early for real estate Main 1

March Madness arrives early for real estate 

A different kind of March Madness tipped off a few days earlier than the NCAA tournament, with the failure of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank sending shockwaves through the banking and real estate sectors, with potential far-reaching implications.

While that was no doubt the biggest story of the week, it wasn’t the only story (and we’re not talking about Princeton’s bracket-busting win over Arizona Thursday night).  

Unfortunately, some of the other big stories weren’t all that warm and fuzzy, either.

In New York, for example, Brookfield’s One Liberty Plaza office tower saw its value slashed $500 million, with the private equity investor buying back a portion of the office tower for $1 billion. When Brookfield sold a minority stake in the building to Blackstone in 2018, the building was valued at $1.5 billion. The deal is the latest sign of stress for older office buildings, and an acknowledgement from two of the biggest players in the space of just how far values have fallen in the past few years. 

Elsewhere, Merchants Bank filed a lawsuit against developer Abraham Leifer, seeking foreclosure on a nine-story apartment conversion project following a string of forbearances at the stalled 19 West 55th Street project.

In South Florida, aging condominium stock and high costs following the deadly Surfside collapse have developers eying condominium terminations. The deals are “incredibly challenging,” according to one developer, but rising insurance premiums, expensive repairs and other costs have put many condo owners in a bind.

As if office buildings weren’t struggling enough, in San Francisco, a window cracked and popped out from the 43rd floor of 555 California Street, sending a torrent of glass shards to the sidewalk below. The incident closed surrounding streets for hours. No one was injured, though the damage could take days to repair

Not all of the news was bad, of course.

Spring is fast approaching, which means baseball season is around the corner. New York Met Brandon Nimmo put some of his recently-signed $162 million contract toward a home in Westbury, New York. The Mets leadoff man paid $5 million for a five-bedroom ranch-style home near the Old Westbury Golf & Country Club in the Nassau County village.

And while Nimmo found a new home, former major league pitcher Jason Hammel sold the unfinished mansion he was building for $3.7 million, according to the Chicago Tribune. Hammels and his wife, Elissa, lost interest in building the six-bedroom, 6,000-square-foot estate, and sold the property for its asking price. Hammels bought the property two years ago for $1.1 million.

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