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As the Chairman of Duval & Stachenfeld – a law firm in mid-town NYC known as The Pure Play in Real Estate Law – I am inviting you to join The Real Estate Philosopher®. This will consist of my thoughts and also thoughts of friends and colleagues.

It will not be published in any traditional media – it will go only to friends of our firm. The purpose here is very simple – to put forth thoughts in the real estate world that are different, provocative, and challenging of accepted wisdom. Hopefully, nothing said here will be mainstream thinking.

You may be wondering how I am qualified to write on these topics since I am “just” a lawyer. However, I have an unusual place in the real estate world. As the Chairman of The Pure Play in Real Estate Law (one of the largest real estate law practices in NYC), I interact with an incredible number of real estate players. This ranges from small real estate shops with nothing but a gleam in their eyes, to some of the largest real estate institutions in the world, and everything in between. This gives me a unique and global perspective and allows me to act as an amateur philosopher in the real estate world. This has always been my hobby and it is what I love doing.

Regards,

Bruce Stachenfeld
a.k.a The Real Estate Philosopher®

Time to Look Seriously at Retail! | Announcing our Win/Win Retail HUB

Nov 19, 2020

Retail to many is a location where the retailer takes products from a producer of the products, puts them on a shelf, marks them up 50%, and customers come in and buy them at the higher price. The retailer gets the markup (less its costs). I would call that business "Old Retail." But then there is a completely different kind of Retail, a location where the owner of a brand, or something that people need or desire, has a competitive advantage. The most obvious is an Apple Store, but there are many more, and you know it when you see it since it was packed with customers (before COVID) and will be again (after COVID). Technically this kind of business is also Retail, isn't it? But it is hardly struggling. I have coined the phrase, which you have seen in my prior writings, "Power Niche" to describe businesses that derive their competitive strength from a niche that they have ownership of. I would call this business "Power Niche Retail."

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Big V Redux – Was I Right?

Nov 9, 2020

My belief was that in a general sense, a country like ours with its entrepreneurial spirit and Democratic form of government would do what it always does when things go wrong and allow the “creative destruction” of capitalism to cause the rebirth of new businesses as quickly as other businesses died off. And that has surely happened – I loved this article, by way of example: Is It Insane to Start a Business During Coronavirus? Millions of Americans Don’t Think So.

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The Office, as We Know It, Is Dead? No, it Isn’t – Not One Bit!

Sep 5, 2020

“The office is dead,” say the headlines all over the place. Seriously? That is what I am hearing. Since clients and others keep asking me what I think about this, I will weigh in. I have a few thoughts to start with: The office is not dead The office is not dead The office is not dead

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Buy New York City Now! – And Lend, Invest, Lease Here as Well!

Aug 22, 2020

Perhaps my biggest defect as a predictor of the future is that at heart, I am sometimes too optimistic. Maybe it is my natural contrarian instinct not to fall prey to the media’s irrepressible spirit to seek out and promulgate the most depressing and negative news possible. So here I go again. As a philosopher, I will do my best to be strictly analytical, albeit with a slight optimism bias……

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Possible Government Plan to Rescue Troubled Real Estate With Preferred Equity

Jul 5, 2020

No, we at Duval & Stachenfeld haven’t lost our minds. Apparently a proposal of this nature is being discussed in Congress right now and a bill could be introduced by Congressman Van Taylor (R. Texas), as soon as this coming week. The bill he would introduce would be called the “Helping Open Properties Endeavor Act of 2020,” and it would establish a “HOPE Preferred Equity Facility.” It is not finalized yet, but this is what we think “might” happen.

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Big V Recovery: Nine Predictions for the Real Estate Industry

Jun 6, 2020

About a month ago I wrote that there will be a Big V Recovery. So far I have not been getting positive reinforcement for that article. Indeed one response I got – from a fellow who has his own crystal ball – called me “clueless.” However, yesterday the employment news surprised the economists but not The Real Estate Philosopher, as so far this is exactly what I thought would happen, and I will stick to my belief that this is only the beginning of the Big V Recovery. Sorry I can’t resist a bit of humbug here.

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Distressed Debt Acquisitions? Not So Fast…

May 24, 2020

My point was that anyone could "find" a deal, and it hardly leverages your skills or talents to look at the same stuff everyone else is looking at – and do you really think you can outperform on a long-term basis when you are looking at the same screen that everyone else is seeing at the same time.

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