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February 5, 2009 
Monday Properties



Retirement’s for wimps, joked Henry Gallin of new national consulting firm Gallin Glick Sullivan O’Keefe when we visited its Madison Avenue office. If you’re in market distress, be glad he and partners Mike Glick, Frank Sullivan, and Ray O’Keefe formed an alliance: the group has a combined 160 years of real estate experience during four upturns and downturns.


They’ve worked with each other for years—Ray and Frank go back to freshmen at Boston College. When the market began its turn, they decided to put their collective consulting experience together to guide owners out of the morass. Their services cover distressed assets; foreclosed properties; vacancy and leasing issues; acquisition and disposition of properties; and capital markets issues, among others. Mike says to call them the ultimate real estate department for hire.


They’ve been busy since their fall inception, especially as investors raise distress funds (they’ve already identified 65 going from $100M to several billion.) Downsizing corps will also provide consulting opportunities. But they still make time for fun: Mike’s off to Thailand with his family this month; Frank’s awaiting the birth of two grandchildren; Henry’s working on his golf handicap (but says his real estate negotiation handicap is lower). Unfortunately, Ray rooted for the Cards on Sunday.


Here’s a number you don’t see often now: $36M, the recent sale price of the 132k-SF Voice Road Plaza retail center in Carle Place, Long Island. Sperry Van Ness advisors Joseph French and Neil Golub tell us that wasn’t an easy sell; a competitor previously marketing it had been unable to achieve a number acceptable to the seller. SVN’s White Plains office took on the listing in April, marketing it to a wider investor and brokerage base, resulting in 15 offers—most of whom couldn’t pay the cash needed. But Florida’s Double-Click Realty referred the buyer: a Bronx apartment owner who wanted out and had the right amount for a 1031.


Maybe they’re lucky, but don't discount the market. There’s 5M SF of retail within two miles, including Roosevelt Field, they say. Nassau is the 10th-richest county in the US, with a $100k average household income. And most retail investors are long-term holders, so the barriers to entry are high. But Joseph and Neil still can’t breathe easy: their company recently created SVN ART, an asset recovery team focusing on distress. They don’t get much sleep, but we hear their new Westchester Financial Center office is comfy.


What we’re reading about the economy is sobering—and sometimes downright depressing. But seeds of opportunity are being planted; historic lows allow firms to expand or buy at the best rates in 25 years, says Grubb & Ellis New York Region prez David Arena (second from right, with Meister Seelig’s Stephen Meister and Grubb’s Vincent Carrega and Jason Meister at the REBNY banquet). His advice, when we recently chatted: have a good team with skills and experience in crises like this; look for distressed asset opportunities; and have a realistic, yet optimistic, attitude. He encourages his team to broaden their perspective and dig deeply into each client's world to see how they can help, whether lowering operating expenses or acquiring top-shelf properties at bargain prices.

We think ‘09’s theme song should be “I Will Survive.” Have a better song suggestion or story idea? Send ‘em to Amanda@bisnow.com

Monday Properties
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