Episode 055 – Building Brilliance – From NYC Skylines to Mountain Highs

In this captivating episode, Robert Levine, the visionary founder and CEO of RAL Companies, who is renowned for transforming New York City’s skyline with iconic developments like Brooklyn’s Quay Tower, shares his extraordinary journey from launching an innovative architectural firm in 1979 to becoming a present-day real estate luminary.
Robert captivates us with tales of development in New York City, ambitious mountain and resort projects in Vail and Telluride, and the audacious conversion of a commercial barge into a luxury river cruise vessel in France, all while often navigating economic turbulence.
Don’t miss this riveting conversation filled with dramatic insights and bold strategies from one of real estate’s most dynamic leaders.

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Episode 054 – Good Cause Passes – Not Good and IAI Higher – Not High Enough

Has the recent 24/25 New York State budget brought significant changes to housing laws?
Absolutely!
Ann Korchak, President of SPONY, leads a riveting webinar, unpacking these crucial updates with attorney Craig Gambardella from Kucker Marino Winiarsky & Bittens, LLP.
Together, they dissect the latest amendments to the rent stabilization law, highlighting the increased allowances for Individual Apartment Improvements (IAIs). They also delve into the newly enacted Good Cause Eviction (GCE) legislation, exploring its far-reaching implications for non-stabilized/market-rate apartments.
But this webinar goes beyond mere explanations. Ann and Craig equip landlords with actionable strategies to navigate these legislative changes. From mastering lease renewals to efficiently managing month-to-month tenancies, they offer invaluable insights to help property owners remain compliant and sidestep legal pitfalls.

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Episode 053 – This Month and Beyond – Navigating Fair Housing Laws for Everyone

Join us in the pulsing heart of Times Square, Manhattan, for a special Fair Housing Month episode with Neil Garfinkel, a leading authority on fair housing and the managing partner at the law firm of Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson. Neil dives deep into the essential facets of fair housing laws, highlighting their pivotal role across the real estate spectrum and offering a guide to navigating these laws for the promotion of equality and fairness in housing. Explore the significant impact of these laws on real estate professionals, tenants, and property owners. Delve into the history and gain insights from Neil’s perspective on how updates to certain systems could shape the future of fair housing.
By tuning into this concise yet thorough exploration of fair housing laws, you’ll not only expand your understanding but also grasp the severe personal, professional, and financial repercussions that can arise from a lack of knowledge. This episode is a must-listen for anyone looking to deepen their comprehension of this vital topic and safeguard against the potential pitfalls of non-compliance.

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Episode 052 – The Petition to Balance the Broken Scale of Justice in Housing Court

Has the leading NYC real estate law firm Kucker, Marino, Winiarsky & Bittens taken action against NY Housing Court delays? Yes, it has!
Three of the firm’s partners, Nativ Winiarsky, Craig Gambardella, and Eric McAvey, are challenging the status quo with this groundbreaking lawsuit. Together, they offer an insider look at their fight for swift justice in NYC’s Housing Court.
Beyond dissecting systemic flaws, they share groundbreaking insights and propose reforms that promise a fairer future for all stakeholders. Don’t miss this deep dive into a battle for justice that could reshape New York’s real estate landscape

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Episode 051 – Rental Voucher Renaissance: Empowering Owners – Supporting Tenants

Delve into the inspiring journey of Anthos|Home with Laura Lazarus, as she reveals the driving force behind this mission-driven organization she co-founded with Leslie Abbey.
Their mission? To tackle the challenges faced by property owners and rental voucher holders head-on, crafting innovative solutions that can revolutionize the landscape of affordable housing.
Joined by Courtney Nelson, VP of Housing Acquisition, they debunk common myths, offering a fresh perspective on this frequently misunderstood topic.
Get ready for a transformative experience – a paradigm shift in your understanding of vouchers that will not only tug at your heartstrings but will ignite a desire in you as a building owner to be part of the Anthos|Home mission.

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Episode 050 – Freedom Plaza Manhattan – Why we need this NOW

Whether you are a NIMBY or a YIMBY, you’ll still agree that increasing the options for housing, hospitality, entertainment, historical exhibits and open space will economically stimulate a local economy.

Enter Freedom Plaza, a visionary project by the Soloviev Group, spearheaded by Stefan Soloviev, Chairman, and CEO Michael Hershman.

Just south of the United Nations on the East River in Manhattan, Freedom Plaza, would not only generate quite a pot of money for NYC and NY State but add much needed rental housing of which 38% will be affordable. Bonus? It would pay for and support itself while providing many other perks for the local community.

Enjoy this candid conversation with Michael on episode 50 of Realty Speak.

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Episode 049 – Do You Believe in Change? – Climate Change that Is

Lindsay Liu of Super Software joins Realty Speak as my co-host with City University of New York Building Performance Lab Project Manager Jim Lane as our guest.
We talk about the impending enforcement of the NYC climate laws and how this will impact all buildings across the state and city.
After listening you will have a better understanding of what to expect around your particular situation.
You’ll also know what resources are available to you and how you, as an individual, a building owner, a building manager or a member of a condominium or a cooperative board can be part of the solution to climate change.

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Episode 048 – NYC Rent Stabilization? Real Solutions by Real Owners!

After a 7 month break Realty Speak is back on air with Val, Lincoln and Irving, 3 NYC property owners, who are part of the leadership of Small Property Owners of New York aka SPONY.
Val, Lincoln and Irving discuss the last 4 years and what legislative mistakes have led up to this present day intolerable rental housing crisis in NY City. More importantly they share the needed corrections to evolve from this socially dire predicament.

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Episode 047 – NYC EDC – The Catalyst for the Future New York City

Melissa Román Burch, EVP and COO of The New York City Economic Development Corporation and I talk about the future of this great city. You’ll be surprised how much this not for profit organization is driving change and progress across so many different economic sectors. The impact the NYC EDC will have on the future of this great city and how they do it? It is a story you do not want to miss. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

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Episode 046 – Lead Laws to Heed – LEW ES Brings Us Up To Speed

Federal, State and Local Lead Laws that dictate how to deal with lead based paint and lead dust in residential rental property are often jurisdictionally inconsistent and confusing. In New York City, the ongoing changes to existing protocols create additional confusion.
Enter LEW Environmental Services where Lee Wasserman and Karrie Munoz share important details and clarify requirements. Knowledge is power and by the end of this episode of Realty Speak you will know what to do and when to do it so that you can successfully comply with the lead laws.

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Episode 045 – Protect Your Hard Earned Capital Gains – Count the Ways

If you don’t plan for the sale of real estate then you risk a big capital gain tax bill. Today Michael Burwick, Partner, Greenspoon Marder LLP and Kent Fitzpatrick, Managing Director, Asset Strategy Advisors not only review for us the many capital gain deferral strategies you have heard about before on Realty Speak but also share another strategy you’ll want to understand completely. What you will discover in this episode is how to plan in advance of a sale and keep more of what you have worked so hard for.

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Episode 044 – NYC Local Law 97 – Time to Take it off the Back Burner

As part of a series with NYARM on the NYC emissions laws; Margie Russell, Executive Director of the New York Association of Realty Managers and I moderated a webinar addressing NYC Local Law 97 which will be enforced starting in 2024.
On Tuesday 04/12/2022 we went live and asked very pointed questions to the Local Law 97 expert and Licensed Professional Engineer, Marc Karell. Then on 05/23/2022 I gave him a call to include some updates that surfaced after the original recording.
Do you want to understand Local Law 97 and how the looming fines may impact your building portfolio and bank account? That and much, much more is all right here in the podcast version of the webinar.

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Episode 043 – What is Good Cause Eviction? Nothing Good!

Margie Russell, NYARM and Anne Korchak, SPONY team up with me to chat about Good Cause Eviction; NY Senate Bill 3082/Assembly Bill A05573.
Real Estate Attorney Alexander Lycoyannis explains in detail what Good Cause Eviction is and what it is not. After listening you will clearly understand why passage of this Bill will be GOOD for nothing! You will also know how to easily voice your opposition and help ensure that the current NY Legislative session ends in June without this Bill being made law.

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Episode 042 – Shining a Light on NYC Local Law 87 – Energy Audits and Retro Commissioning

Earlier this month Margie Russell, Executive Director of the New York Association of Realty Managers (NYARM) invited me to join her in moderating a webinar addressing NY City’s Local Law 87.
On Friday, 03/18/2022, we went live and along with the audience, asked very pointed questions to the Local Law 87 expert and Licensed Professional Engineer, Marc Karell. He didn’t flinch. He knows his stuff.
Do you want to understand Local Law 87 and how it correlates with Benchmarking and the very fast approaching NYC Local Law 97 and learn how the recent change that requires a PE or RA to be part of the reporting team affects the process?
That and much, much more is all right here!

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Episode 041 – NYREJ Presents – NY Making a Big Comeback

When NYREJ radio emcee Rick Kaplan suggested Realty Speak moderate a live panel of 4 very astute investment real estate industry professionals, the answer was an emphatic, YES!
In the is episode Attorney – Michael Sahn, JLL Chairman of NY Investment Sales – Bob Knakal, Lendlease Executive General Manager – Melissa Román Burch and Attorney – Gary Meltzer shine a bright light of optimism on what otherwise could be perceived as dark days ahead.
They share actual examples of how New York is not already making a big come back, but also moving forward as we embrace new ways and ideas of how to get from here to the future..

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Episode 039 – Undermined Rental Property Rights Erodes Rental Housing – No One Wins

In June of 2019 the NY State Legislature passed the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (HSTPA). Now 2.5 years later, while the constitutional challenge to HSTPA makes it way through the courts, there exists another attempt by the Legislature to enact a “Good Cause Eviction” Bill that will further encroach on the rights or property owners.
My Co-Host Nativ Winiarsky and guests Craig Gambardella and Jim Burling, all attorneys, and I get into the weeds about the future of these draconian laws and how they will negatively impact not just property owners but the millions of people who choose to rent instead of own.
If you care about property rights and the quality of housing and whether you are an owner or a renter you’ll want to listen to this entire episode and then share with everyone you know!

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Episode 038 – Real Estate Liquidity in the City

Just when you thought you knew everything about using your real estate to create liquidity, Stuart came along with more insights for you.
Stuart Gelb, President at The Liquidity Source shares his depth of knowledge around the many options available to property owners to create liquidity from real estate assets. A timely and important episode that you won’t want to miss.

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Episode 037 – Delaware Statutory Trust to Retire Your Active Real Estate Portfolio – It’s an Option

Are you wondering about The American Families Plan, aka Biden Tax Proposals, and how it will impact real estate gains?
What are some of the things you can do now?
What if you want to liquidate a long term owned real estate portfolio but are worried about the tax on what will be a large capital gain. What if you would like to retire and no longer manage the properties?
In this episode, accountant Bob Russo, aka CPABOB and Delaware Statutory Trust (DST) expert Rob Pecha, aka 1031ROB discuss planning for the future and explain terms like stepped up basis, boot, depreciation recapture and more. This is a must listen for those considering a sale out of an existing real estate investment portfolio using the 1031 like kind exchange and also everyone else that one day may be doing the same.

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Episode 035 – Demand Response – Save Energy – Dollars and Get Paid

Happy 3rd Birthday Realty Speak!
Tina Larsson and Matt McCue share intel in this episode that looks into the future of energy consumption in New York City.
Not only will you learn how to save dollars but also how you’ll get paid dollars while doing your part to impact climate change and contribute to the campaign to mitigate global warming driven by the human emissions of greenhouse gases. And as if that was not enough, we demystify NYC Local Laws 33, 84, 87, 92 and 94.

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Episode 034 – Eviction Moratorium – What Owners, Tenants and You Need to Know Right Now

The narrative around an Eviction Moratorium communicates a false positive that amounts to no more than a strategy to boost political popularity while failing to explain or plan for what happens in the future. The accumulation of an obligation with no relief or assistance is a plan to fail all the stakeholders of rental housing. Especially when the debits far exceed the credits.
Who are the stakeholders? Far more reaching than just landlords and tenants.
Joanna Wong, my Co-Host on this episode of Realty Speak, and I are joined by Attorneys Nativ Winiarsky, Jim Marino and Lisa Faham-Selzer of Kucker Marino Winiarsky & Bittens and they expertly lead us to an understanding of what is really happening here.
Tenant, landlord or otherwise; this is a must listen that will hopefully get you talking – to each other.

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Episode 032 – The Paper and Show Must Go On – NEREJ and NYREJ Find the Way Forward

The signs were there in late February and early March. Now what?!
In this episode of Realty Speak, Rick Kaplan – Media Director, shares how the New England and New York Real Estate Journals made the pivot during the Covid-19 Pandemic and continued to publish without missing a beat. While continuing to get the news out as normal they also explored new ways to serve their readers, contributors and sponsors. Rick unravels Rolly’s story from 1963 and brings us forward to now

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Episode 030 – Family Legacy Multifamily in the Big City – Challenges and Joys

When you think of apartment buildings in New York City you imagine them owned by large Real Estate Corporations, Private Equity Companies and publicly traded Real Estate Investment Trusts. However, when you pause and look closely you will find that there is a group of dedicated families who operate legacy multifamily real estate across many celebrated communities in our big pond of a town. These individuals who represent the fabric of the diverse cultural enclaves provide much of the affordable regulated apartments and they do it with heart!
Recorded, on Juneteenth, they raised their voices and candidly shared the inequity of their contribution to housing in NYC while having to operate under a barrage of regulatory burden and a lack of social and financial recognition.
SPONY.ORG members Joanna from Soho, Jan from Chinatown and Sharon from East Flatbush are Real New Yorkers telling it like it is. Do not miss this one!

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Episode 029 – Syndication – Template for Success in a Real Estate Fund

For Tom Carroll investing in real estate while working in the financial markets was an exercise in diversification. It eventually became his journey from active limited partner to a managing general partner with a team that has scaled real estate assets under management 16x since 2014.
Strategic financial and demographic analysis around acquisitions, back office and property level efficiency along with superior management of their investor’s expectations and user experience is the basis for their success as a private equity real estate syndicator.
After listening to this episode that is jam packed with all the hows and whys – you find yourself saying – “Yes, I can try this at home.”

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Episode 028 – COVID-19 Virtual Summit – For the Landlord and Real Estate Professional

This episode is the lightly edited audio of a Virtual Summit I moderated on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. The free online event “Virtual Summit for the Landlord and Real Estate Professional of New York City and Beyond – Coronavirus & Your Rental Cash Flow” was produced by the law firm of Kucker Marino Winiarsky & Bittens, LLP.
Live attendees were able to hear and interface with thought leaders in various roles in the real estate industry addressing the pressing topic of what landlords should be expecting in relation to rent payments in the view of the ongoing pandemic and how to financially prepare for a possible significant drop in rental receipts. In additional we answered many questions around the CARES act and the financial resources available to successfully navigate this unparalleled time.

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Episode 027 – Over Regulation of Property Rights – The Real Consequences

In June of 2019 the laws that regulate rents in NY swung 180 degrees to the left.
Now after that recipe has simmered for almost a year we are experiencing the Real Consequence of its bitter brew. Not just for property owners, but all stakeholders.
Join attorneys Nativ Winiarsky and Jim Marino as they share the stories of what was, what is and what to expect as we tread down this path.
And this is NOT just a NY thing. It could come to a location near you soon!
Listen, learn and share EVERYWHERE. It’s time to stop the proliferation of this form of regulation in its tracks.

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Episode 026 – The Real Estate Data Universe – The Path to a Conclusion.

Listen and learn from Jim Costello, SVP at Real Capital Analytics as he takes us on a journey through the trends and tools available to make sense of transactional real estate data.
Jim is brilliant and we touch on everything from alternative property types, leverage, transportation infrastructure, local national and global markets, the aftermath of impactful economic events and so much more.

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Episode 025 – Placemaking – The Business Improvement District Way

What a difference a DECADE makes. In this episode – Ellen Baer, Hudson Square BID – President and CEO, will share with you the why, what and how of creating and executing a Business Improvement District!
Whether you are contemplating a BID in your community or not; you’ll want to listen to Ellen’s process for transforming a neighborhood’s vision into a reality in which all the stakeholders reap rewards.

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Episode 022 – Ensure the Insurance – Hold Harmless, Endorsements, Exclusions – Oops!

Matt Cotter, a Consultative Broker and Construction Insurance Specialist along with Michael Nucatola a Risk Consultant for the real estate industry lead you up and down the risk transfer totem pole.
Where you land; top, bottom or middle has more to do with asking questions. After listening you’ll not only know what questions to ask – but what the answers mean as well.

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Episode 021 – Development of Affordable Housing – A Mission to Expand

Goldstein Hall law partner, Matt Hall and affordable housing developer Eli Weiss of Joy Construction discuss how the supply and demand paradigm is the overarching fundamental that supports a business model of developing regulated housing.

Are you curious to know why the mission to opt in to the development of affordable, workforce and middle income housing VS developing market rate assets makes sense?
Tax exempt bond financing, tax credits in the equity stack, area median income, political will, community boards, it’s all here and more.

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Episode 020 – Multifamily Lending – Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and HUD Capital Markets

Blake Janover of Janover Ventures a Commercial Real Estate Capital Markets company and Realty Speak® host Bill Weidner talk pre and post the 2008 financial crisis while helping you count the ways you can execute the finance of new multifamily development and existing apartment housing anywhere in the USA.
This straightforward discussion will guide you along Blake’s personal entrepreneurial journey and his love affair with all things lending. Great insights and info – you do not want to miss a word.

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Episode 019 – World of EB-5 – Deep Dive and the Capital Stack

Attorney Min Chan, Managing Director of the Chan Law Firm and Allison Berman, Managing Director and General Counsel of Greystone’s EB-5 bring you deep into the world of the EB-5 Program – an Immigrant Investor Visa Program which provides a method for eligible Immigrant Investors to become lawful permanent residents of the United States.
EB-5 can be a viable alternative as part of your Capital Stack that costs US taxpayers nothing, adds to Federal Tax Revenue and best of all – requires the creation of new jobs.

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Episode 018 – Land of Opportunity IS in the O-Zone – Really!

Developer Toby Moskovits and Realty Speak® host Bill Weidner navigate through the latest guidance from Treasury/IRS on the Opportunity Zone regulations with KPMG Opportunity Zone experts Phil Marra and Demetri Yatrakis.
You will learn how the Opportunity Zone program could help defer payment of tax on those gains for up to 7 years and further eliminate capital gain tax on future profit after 10 years.
These latest clarifications on the regulations create additional latitude when forming a strategy around Qualified Opportunity Funds in Opportunity Zones for real estate and/or businesses.
This is a must listen for business owners, real estate entrepreneurs and those who have real estate and non-real estate capital gains.

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Episode 017 – Rent in THE City – More Regulation? Yup!

On June 14th 2019, subsequent to the publication of this episode, NYS Senate Bill S6458 was enacted as the “Housing Stability and Tenant Protection act of 2019”.
Much of what you will hear in this episode was passed as part of the bill in one form or another. 
To access and review the “Housing Stability and Tenant Protection act of 2019” from the NYS Senate web site go here.
https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2019/s6458
Realty Speak®, Bill Weidner and his guests do not give legal or financial advice and all decisions made by stakeholders around any topic on Realty Speak® should rely on their own appropriate legal and financial counsel for clarification of any and all information that is distributed by Realty Speak®, Bill Weidner and the podcast guests.

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Episode 016 – An Affordable Footprint – Carbon That Is

Chris Parker, Founder, Giv Group in Utah joins Bill in this episode to discuss that it’s not just technology, energy efficiency and affordability that are the foundation of his multi-family development projects.
Instead; an altered perspective drives him and his team to form and execute alternative solutions.

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Episode 014 – Gimme Shelter – Transitional Housing Part 2 – What a Story!

ORIGINAL EPISODE DESCRIPTION WHEN PUBLISHED IN JANUARY OF 2019.
The Victor Rivera backstory is a raw personal history of growing up surrounded by the nefarious influences of his South Bronx neighborhood in the 1960’s.  
Did he succumb? Did he fall? Did he subsequently triumph?
Episode 14, Part 2 is a true story of this transformational journey as Realty Speak® shifts from talking profit to exploring the spirit of the person, the power of hope and the truth that we all have the capacity to live our best life.

UPDATE – MARCH 25th 2021
On February 7th, 2021, a little more than 2 years after this episode was published here on Realty Speak, the NY Times published an investigative report that exposed accusations of sexual abuse and financial impropriety by Victor Rivera in connection with the not for profit Bronx Parent Housing Network (BPHN). It was titled ‘Nobody Tells Daddy No’: A Housing Boss’s Many Abuse Cases by Amy Julia Harris. 
Victor Rivera was summarily dismissed from BPHN and several follow up articles appeared in the NY Times along with an interview with Amy Julia Harris on the NY Times podcast The Daily. Then on March 24th, 2021 the Times published the article “Housing Boss Who Was Accused of Sexual Abuse Now Faces Bribery Charges” 
When you listen to the episode from 2 years ago, it does appear that Victor navigated an amazing transformation in his life and was providing housing for the homeless.
This story would normally serve as an inspiration to others who are trying to turn their lives around. And for 2 years, I suppose it did.
Now however, you read the articles and what he has been accused of – Victor’s good story then transforms into a disappointing example of a narrative that apparently did not match his actions. If guilty, a clear and extreme violation of trust.

May this particular sequence of events serve as a reminder that success, especially when against the odds, is a gift and certainly never a reason to abandon a moral compass and then use that success to exploit others.

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Episode 014 – Gimme Shelter – Transitional Housing Part 1 – It’s a Biz.

Juan Restrepo, Esq. and Richard Yao, COO of the not for profit Bronx Parent Housing Network discuss transitional housing and the nuances around this niche of multifamily real estate.
This episode reveals a very special opportunity for multifamily developers and owners of existing multifamily buildings to achieve revenue stabilization while helping to fill the housing gap experienced by many who find themselves homeless.

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Episode 012 – Things That Go Bump in the Transaction

Just when you thought you could sell or buy you may find out that something you thought you knew; you actually did not know.
In this episode you will hear from Susan May-McLean, owner and Sherri Zaret, partner of Horizon Land Services, a title abstract company with the story of the firm and their partnership.
Then Mario Lan, in house counsel for Horizon Land Services and Vincent Balardi, a commercial real estate attorney and counsel for the NYC law firm of Moritt Hock & Hamroff share relevant examples from their years of experience mastering title and the real estate transaction.

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Episode 008 – How FAR can you go? – Floor Area Ratio, that is.

Land use Consulting Expert Eldad Gothelf and Architect/Developer Alex Hughes are our guests this episode. They discuss how FAR (Floor Area Ratio) is sometimes not as FAR out as you think and explain why we don’t sell air in NYC but a developer can build very tall buildings by assembling development rights. Get the lowdown on New York City zoning, planning, development and process in this information packed episode of Realty Speak®.

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Realty Speak® – The Podcast

Realty Speak® has a lot to say about the many strategies you can employ around the revenue, cash flow, profit, debt, equity and the final returns of your portfolio of investment real estate.

And remember – It’s not about us but how we help YOU make the bottom line rise.


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What’s in it for you? The what, where, why and who of Realty Speak. To get the full idea of what to expect just click play. It’s only 4 minutes and will take less time than the R to Union Square.

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