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WAITING FOR BARGAINS

WAITING  FOR BARGAINS
The end of the world has been heavily reported in the media, but real estate lawyer Stuart Saft of Dewey & LeBoeuf wants to knowwhere it is. “I haven't seen much doom yet, and prices haven't fallen,” he told us in his West 55th Street office. In fact, he has manyEuropean, Middle Eastern, Asian and American clients clamoringto put their money into U.S. real estate, but since there are no bargains yet to be had, everyone's sitting on their hands. These investors represent billions of dollars of potential investment, he says.
WAITING  FOR BARGAINS
The real question right now is not whether the market is doomed, but whether we're in a recession closer to 1989 or 2001. Many people have compared it to 1929, but Stuart points out that the governmentdidn't jump in to help back then, the global economic superpowers didn't work together, and the government really didn't fully understand monetary policy. This time around, New York City also has a lack of supply in both the office and housing markets to weather the NYC Comptroller's estimated 165k job losses. Brooklyn and Queens, which have become the immigrantand first-generation lifeblood of the city, are also expected tosoften, but not collapse.
WAITING  FOR BARGAINS
With his clients on the sidelines, Stuart put finishing touches on thethird edition of his book Commercial Real Estate Workouts, a two-volume guide to real estate challenges. This edition, justpublished, contains sections on securitized and mezzanine debtthat didn't exist in 1996's second edition, and will be supplementedshould new surprises pop up. Fun fact: Stuart did the workout forMichael Jackson's Neverland Ranch.
WAITING  FOR BARGAINS
Last Wednesday, Stuart (here with colleague Renee Ilana Covitt) was given an award for his work as chairman of the City'sWorkforce Investment Board, which oversees federally funded workforce programs. On the home front, his son recently becameengaged, and they're preparing for a March 2009 wedding. That's another thing he can do with his time.