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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It will not be published in any traditional media – it will go only to friends of our firm.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®

A Non-Obvious and Undiscovered Opportunity in Real Estate Tech

Sep 14, 2022

I hear every day – with the drumbeat growing louder – how RE tech companies are struggling – and severely so. The money spigot where rapidly propagating unicorns – indirectly birthed by the governmental printing press, low-interest rates, and intrepid VC investors – roamed the forests has been turned off. And instead of a plethora of capital, there is a paucity.

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Now is the Exact Wrong Moment to Press Pause on Deals

Aug 2, 2022

All over the markets, I am hearing – and seeing – purchasers, investors, lenders, and other parties worried about doing deals in ‘this uncertain market.’ Some are putting a pause on their activities. I have some thoughts about that as follows:

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The Best Idea I Have Had Yet

Jul 18, 2022

He mentioned the idea of thinking of what your business would be like in ten years – one hundred years – and (even) one thousand years. This seemed a bit far-fetched, but I paid attention when he referenced one company that had been in business for almost 1500 years. No, that is not a typo. It did indeed last for close to 1500 years. At this point, I stopped reading the Mind Power book and tried to imagine what this company could have done. What could last so long? What could it be? I knew as I was reading that this information would likely be exceptionally valuable, as what this company did would give me insights into what would make my law firm last (maybe) or what would make your real estate business last (maybe).

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Amazon's Travails a Long-Awaited Boost for Retail?

Jul 6, 2022

On June 29, 2017 – almost exactly five years ago – I wrote an article about how to beat Amazon – if you are a retailer. My thesis was then – and is now – that Amazon was a distortion of the retail landscape brought on by Wall Street, giving it a free pass on not having to make money. Amazon was making essentially zilch – i.e., zero dollars – when one subtracted stock-based compensation – but still had a $450B market cap at that time. Its base online retail business model as the Everything Store had never made money and possibly never would. I also mentioned that I thought the Whole Foods acquisition would be a major disaster for Amazon.

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Office Apocalypse - Really?

Jun 8, 2022

They say that "As remote work becomes a more permanent fixture — despite the edicts of a few billionaires on returning to the office — the values of office buildings are headed south, researchers predict. Office values in New York City will drop 28% by 2029, representing value destruction of $49B, according to a new study by academics at New York University and Columbia University, as lease revenue and the total number of leases drop."

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This Time it (Might Be) Different for Real Estate?

May 10, 2022

When the stock market goes down, we assume people ‘lost’ money. And sometimes that is true, of course – if you bought high and sold low -- but if you take a step back, if a stock falls, it means that someone bought and someone sold, albeit at a lower price. A result is that when the market gyrates wildly – up or down – someone (the seller) ends up with a pile of cash from whatever was sold. Only a few months ago – which seems like another lifetime – the name of the game was trying to figure out what a Snoop Dog Avatar was – yes, I know that doesn’t quite make sense – and idly muse whether the NFT you just bought would double, triple or quadruple in value in the next month.

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Rent Control of MARKET RENT MULTIFAMILY is (Only Temporarily) Off the Table in Albany

Apr 28, 2022

Shame on me. I wasn’t paying attention to the words: Good Cause Eviction - I wrongly assumed it was something to do with rent-stabilized properties, which Albany already decimated a couple of years ago. My bad. However, I just learned – to my incredible surprise – that Good Cause Eviction, if enacted, will mean that a form of rent control will apply to market rent housing in New York State.

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