|Legal Bisnow recently visited Pryor Cashman real estate co-chairs Wayne Heicklen and Ron Kremnitzer to find out what’s cooking in the improving real estate market. Ron says that clients are again looking at big package acquisitions, a familiar transaction to him. In the past dozen years, he’s repped Pinnacle Realty and The Praedium Group in the acquisition of over 800 properties, including 100 in a single day in ’05. (Same thing happened to us after falling asleep on the keyboard while surfing eBay.) Multifamily has slowed down, but retail leasing has stabilized and is starting to increase, driven by increasing confidence. But in his high-end residential practice (which includes multi-million dollar apartment and townhouse purchases for Tommy Mottola, Sean Parker, Dan Akroyd, and Martha Stewart), he’s sees a resurgence in the market of $5M to $10M apartments, including multiple bidders for the first time in a couple of years.
|Ron’s also cultivated a strong niche with some of the city’s elite food retailers, recently repping Mario Batali and Joe and Lidia Bastianich in their 44k SF lease for foodie-paradise Eataly, and Scott Conant in lease negotiations that expanded Scarpetta. We snapped Ron, an avid wine drinker and empty bottle collector (with bottles dating back to the 1800s... maybe he has one of Napoleon's empty bottles), standing next to an espresso maker gifted by Joe Bastianich with a legendary ’47 Petrus. The collection above came from Daniel Boulud’s 50th birthday party at his eponymous restaurant and includes Petrus, Haut-Brion, Mouton Rothschild, La Mission Haut-Brion, and a rare bottle of ’21 d’Yquem. Just last month, Ron says he returned from a 50-course lunch at El Bulli (it closes for good July 30) discussing deal prospects with clients at Ferran Adriá’s gastronomy kingdom in Spain. (The restaurant, considered by many to be the best in the world, is said to fill its 6,000 annual seating capacity from over two million requests booked in a single day.)
|Wayne, who's spent over 20 years advising NYC’s renowned owners and developers (Trump, Helmsley, etc), says over the last three years he's been doing more workouts and providing advice for sponsors and funds looking to invest in distressed assets. He’s seeing lots of money chase very few deals in NYC, while activity is still slow in NJ. He says he thinks condo developers will be sitting pretty in two years (because of low mortgage rates, the benefit of mortgage tax deductions, and property value appreciation). His practice is eclectic: he's also corporate and business counsel to Briad Group, the largest Friday's franchisor in the US. Wayne, a recent golfer and former tenacious Forest Hills basketball player, is just back from Pinehurst No. 2, host of the '05 US Open, following its grand reopening after a major restoration. He tells us he played well, but the basketball stroke remains a more natural motion.