Monthly Archives: December 2015

New York Property Values Hit Record High in 2015

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2015 was recorded as the year of big sale in the real estate industry in New York City. The year closed on a high note where a Midtown skyscraper developed by Extell Development’s One57 was listed at $100.47 million. There was another major sale in the Central Park, at 157 West 57th Street which was offer at over one million. In Manhattan, new records were made for co-ops, in addition to handsome prices that were paid for townhouses and other condos. Brooklyn was not left behind because it recorded the most expensive sale in Cobble Hill for a single residence.

220 Central Park South, 56 Leonard and 520 Park among others are expected to accommodate more billionaire bunkers on the existing lists. Current record sale will be surpassed and even double in the coming few years. Kenneth C. Griffin, a famous hedge fund manager with a net worth of about $7 billion according to Forbes’ estimate, initiated a contract last summer where he is expected to buy a triplex for $200 million at 220 Central Park South.

According to a report on New York Times, if this deal is concluded, it would be the largest sale in the city for a single residence, and it will also usurp the country’s current record of $147 million of an 18-acre property in East Hampton, NY. The deal was finalized in 2014 according to an official of an appraisal firm. This official is wondering how long will the upward trajectory remain. Real estate developers and experts are observing the trend closely, and are asking the question, “how many buyers out there who can afford $10 million and above?”

It was founded in 2010, and currently is recognized as a leading firm that specializes in luxury residential property in the area. The firm focuses on sale, leasing, marketing and developing properties in this area.

TOWN Residential relies on other industry experts like architects, designers, and contractors to achieve their goals in this ever competing industry. The marketing section of the firm is responsible for mobilizing potential property buyers interested in luxury homes and apartments. TOWN Residential created new operation standards that made it a favorite real estate firm in New York.

Highland Capital Management LP Portfolio Changes

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Highland Capital Management LP is a hedge fund based in Texas, and it was founded by James Dondero in 1993. By October 2014, it had $15.04 billion assets under its management. Currently, Jim is the president of the hedge fund; initially, he was specializing in credit investment in the firm.

Mr. Dondero experience concerning credit markets spans over three decades. Apart from being one of the original pioneers of Collateralized Loan Obligation (CLO), funds associated with Jim management have numerous awards and accolades that include 2014 Lipper Award for Floating Rate Opportunities, and Morningstar’s 5-star designation for Global Allocation 2014.

Mr. Dondero has earned certified management accountant (CMA), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), and Certified Public Accountant (CPA). In addition, Jim is a graduate of the University of Virginia with dual majors in Finance and Accounting. Jim also serves as chairman of the board of directors for Cornerstone Healthcare, NexBank, and CCS Medical Corporation. And sit on the board of trustees for both American Banknote and MGM Studios.

On December, 24th 2015, Highland Capital Management LP filed its quarterly 13F. The SEC filing shows that the fund has $3.43 billion portfolio value; this represents $1.48 billion declines from the previous Quarter. However, it is worth noting that this filling represents 22.8% exposure of the hedge fund assets which are listed in the US.

In this quarter, the hedge fund bought 69 new stocks in total; some of the biggest new position includes Spdr S&P 500 Etf Tr (Call) (SPY) for $67.07 million, Amazon Com Inc (AMZN) for $23.35 million, Eagle Pharmaceuticals Inc (EGRX) for $17.73 million, and Danaher Corp Del (DHR) for $17.24 million and Intra Cellular Therapies Inc (ITCI) for $15.90 million.

Many investment managers employs strategy of building positions gradually , as outlined by SEC filling the hedge fund increased its position in Kinder Morgan Inc Del by 173% to $5.38 million, American Airls Group Inc. (Call) (AAL) by 60% to $204.25 million, and Salesforce Com Inc. (CRM) by 213.34% to $145.22 million, among others companies.

The top 10 holding of Highland Capital Management LP according to 13F reported portfolio were approximately computing to 29.46% of its portfolio. Besides, according to SEC filing, the hedge fund upped the information sector to 18% from 16% while the finance and the health care sector were slashed by 38% and 20% respectively. The fund also holds 12% securities for the energy industry and 10% for the consumer discretionary sector. Overview of Highland Capital Management LP Stocks can be accessed through

Kennedy Center Expansion Attracts Many Generous Benefactors

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The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has recently been looking for contributions to its funds in a bid to aid the construction of a series of expansions and programming options. I have been impressed by the many large contributions made to the fund that has seen the initial target of $125 million surpassed, and has now seen the target extended by another $50 million. The fund looking for around $125 million in donations has been aided by a major contribution of a reported $1 million by the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation.

Dick DeVos may now be better known for his work as a philanthropist than for his business activities, which began with his first steps taken in the Amway business in 1984 that had been begun by his father. DeVos tripled international sales in a speedy way and led the company to even more major successes before leaving to start his own business. Working with his wife Betsy, Dick has been a major philanthropic supporter of many areas of the arts, religious groups and educational programs through the Michigan based Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation. The owner of the Orlando Magic had already made a major donation to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts totaling around $22.5 million in 2010 before making his latest donation to aid the arts based foundation.

The Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation is one of many charitable groups who have made major contributions to the expansion plans for The Kennedy Center that includes the development of three new pavilions and a walkway.

Bruce Levenson: A Philanthropist for the Sake of Philanthropy

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Bruce Levenson is a philanthropist who is passing along his passion for helping others to students at the University of Maryland. The Center for Philanthropy and Non-Profit Leadership at the University of Maryland was launched by a sizeable endowment from Bruce Levenson and his wife Karen, who is herself a University of Maryland alumni. It has been three years since the Center’s inception, and another $5.5 million gift from the Levenson family will ensure that the Center continues its rapid growth. According to an article first published by, the Center’s philanthropic focus has permeated the entire campus. Annually it sponsors an event called the “Do Good Challenge” which pushes students to bring social awareness to their cause, and the winner gets $20,000 donated to the cause that they represent. Levenson’s goal according to PRNewsWire is to foster an atmosphere where “every student attending the University of Maryland graduates as an informed and motivated philanthropist.” This year, there was a living and learning dorm added to the campus for students taking classes at the Center, which offers several courses, all of which end the semester by donating $10,000 to a worthy non-profit organization. Many of the Center’s graduates go on to become some of the most sought after by non-profit organizations, and a few have gone on to start their own non-profits with the support of the center. There are many philanthropists in the United States, but few are as dedicated to the cause as Bruce Levenson.

Coaching And Culture; The Winning Real Estate Formula

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In the real estate business coaching and culture are the two primary elements that can be the great differentiators between companies. When all other aspects of a business are equal the business with the better culture and coaching will have greater success. This is the primary message in Vince Leisey’s RISMedia article.

Coaching helps agent’s identify their strengths and weaknesses and reinforces focus on their strengths. The idea is to have the real estate agents focus on three business building strategies which ensure their focus is narrowed on achievable outcomes. These wins help agents gain momentum instead of having their attention spread between too many items which quickly become discouraging.

It has also been found that real estate agents who have been coached are naturally more likely to in turn coach others. This is akin to the rising tide raises all boats adage; the results of coaching make everyone more productive.

In Vince Leisey’s article on the importance of coaching he describes having created 12 person mastermind groups that had a tremendous impact on company culture. The agents each have an accountability partner that fosters idea sharing and maintaining focus on business growth. In this environment agents experience the benefit of working as a team to improve results faster.

The burden is on the owners and managers of the brokerages to make certain that the optimal coaching and company culture is present. There are companies that can make this affordable and manageable for any broker.

Greg was a top realtor in America for 25 years, including his top rating in the luxury home market. He became the #1 selling real estate agent in his home state after being a realtor for only 24 months. Over ten thousand of America’s top agents have trained with Greg and he has been a real estate expert for NPR and the Wall Street Journal.

Greg’s company Real Estate Mavericks has made high level real estate agent training accessible and affordable for anyone serious about a career in real estate. Greg can still be seen in live seminars but now also has video course training available through the Mavericks website. The most successful people in any industry tend to be the ones that have had mentors, and Real Estate Mavericks provides that opportunity for students to have a top industry veteran as a mentor.

The Leisey article also discusses a six to eight week class that teaches prospecting strategies. This class requires each student to have an accountability partner and specific activities must be completed on a weekly basis. Much of the coaching and culture training programs encourage agents to work together and not against one another. Agents are much more likely to have exceptional and lasting success when they work together as a team. A winning formula of mutual motivation and friendly competition creates a positive work environment for all team members and the resulting success becomes contagious. To learn more and read the Leisey article directly you can check it out here

Latest Renting Information From Town Residential

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When it comes to the very best in luxury comes and condos throughout the city of New York, Town Residential is the location people turn to. The company works with high-end clients to help deliver exactly what they are looking for. So, no matter where in town they want to live or how large they want their condo to be, Town Residential is there to assist. Of course, the real estate market in New York apartments for rent is ever changing, which is why Town Residential always wants individuals to know what way it is going and how it is changing. It is important to stay on top of what the changes are and how it is affecting prices and available properties inside the city of New York.

As Town Residential points out, the November sales numbers have changed slightly from the previous month’s numbers. In terms of Manhattan’s absorption rate, it fell slightly to 4.1 months. Midtown and Midtown East in Manhattan saw the sharpest declines in the rates. This is based on new development sales being closed on. The sales figures cover all of New York though and not just Manhattan. This includes Brooklyn, where half of all the new development properties sold, with just 550 remaining in the entire neighborhood.

As for extremely high end properties within the city of New York, sales for these properties are at the highest point since November in 2006 (before the housing crash took down the price of properties and the number of buyers throughout the United States). In fact, 70 different contracts were signed off on for properties that were priced at $4 million or more.

Multifamily homes in New York also increased, reaching a total of $1.7 billion in September alone. This is a 97 percent increase in the total value over the previous month. The early fall months is usually when most people decide to move.  This is a common trait that is seen throughout the real estate world at that time of the year. Beyond all of this though, rent for the Lower Firth Avenue increased over 14 percent per square foot to $1,244.

Sam Tabar: Far More Than an Attorney

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LinkedIn depicts Sam Tabar as a successful attorney located in New York City. Tabar attended and graduated with honors from Columbia University. Skadden, Arps, Slater, Meagher & Flom LLP was the firm where he began his law career. While working at this firm, Tabor was able to counsel clients on regulatory and compliance issues, employment matters, side letters, private placement memoranda, hedge fund formation and structure, investment management agreements, and hedge fund formation. In 2004, Tabar became a part of SPARX Group Co./ PMA Investment advisors and climbed the corporate at a rapid pace to become the company’s Managing Director & Co-Head of Business Development. Sometime later, Tabor started working at Bank of America Merrill Lynch as its Director and Head of Capital Strategy for the Asia-Pacific Region. In September 2013, Attorney Tabar, revisted his law career with Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP as a Senior Associate specializing in hedge funds, regulatory compliance matters, and fund formation and structure. Tabor left this firm in August 2014.

Tabar’s drive to help people, and share his investment advice, did not stop when he left Schulte but he has added investment in a kickstarter company, THINX, to his portfolio. THINX is a company which makes fashionable underwear which aid in supporting a woman during menstration and incontinence. For each purchase of the THINX underwear seven reusable and washable cloth sanitary pads are given to women in Africa through a program called AFRIpads. According to Tabor, “THINX helps others through their unique design. Antonia and Miki are making a difference with their product.”

On Twitter Tabar said he was not looking for an investment at the time, this business idea caught his eye. Today, THINX offers the underwear on their website and through wholesale distribution. The underwear are available in five different fashionable styles and provide comfort and assurance to women during their menstrual cycle. THINX offers a manifesto for their customers’ to sign on their website to prove to and prompt others to purchase the underwear to not only help themselves but provide assistance to another woman by helping to keep her in school and work.