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Rosenberg & Estis, P.C.
Shaping the New York City skyline since 1975
Shaping the New York City skyline since 1975

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BISNOW featuring Luise A. Barrack

‘Certificate Of No Harassment’ Pilot Casts Wide Net For Tenant Claims. Is It Too Broad?
March 21, 2018 | Rosenberg & Estis | Travis Gonzalez, Writer

In December, the expanded Certificate of No Harassment pilot program became law. The law, which takes effect Sept. 27, expands the current CONH requirements and requires building owners in certain districts to apply for a Certificate of No Harassment before the New York City Department of Buildings will issue permits to alter or demolish their buildings.

The expanded CONH program will function as a 36-month legislative pilot, with a focus on recently rezoned or soon-to-be-rezoned neighborhoods. These neighborhoods were determined by the city to be the most likely to need heightened protections to prevent tenant harassment.

While the CONH pilot program is designed to protect tenants from harassment, the ambiguity and scope of the law, as well as the lengthy time frame required to conduct harassment investigations, could create a chilling effect for owners trying to make a good-faith effort to renovate properties, Rosenberg & Estis managing member Luise A. Barrack said.
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BISNOW featuring Eric S. Orenstein

With EB-5 Lending, Borrowers And Lenders Need To Read The Fine Print
December 18, 2017 | Rosenberg & Estis | Travis Gonzalez, Bisnow Writer

“It seems like common sense, but most developers do not read these documents,” Orenstein said. “Some do get involved, but lots of developers rely on the regional center to get the information correct, and often times it is not accurate, too specific or too broad.”


EB-5, the program that exchanges investment in commercial projects and creation of U.S. jobs for U.S. permanent residence, remains a popular financing choice across development projects of all sizes. In New York, SL Green announced earlier this month that it is considering raising more than $200M in EB-5 funding to help finance the construction of One Vanderbilt. Earlier this year, the Hudson Yards megaproject sought $380M to aid in the completion of 35 Hudson Yards, 55 Hudson Yards and a platform capping its eponymous rail yard.

EB-5 financing is not without its risks. Failure to deliver on the project described in loan documentation could result in lawsuits from investors and the loss of residence cards. The latter was the case when New York Wheel construction stalled on Staten Island, which was funded in part by $206M in EB-5 financing.

One of the biggest pitfalls of EB-5 is a failure to ensure the offering memoranda matches the project that is under construction, Rosenberg & Estis attorney Eric Orenstein said. Orenstein often works on the lender side of these transactions. While the need to verify the accuracy of a project description and the type of loan seems like standard procedure, he has seen some clients overlook these details in a rush to break ground on projects.

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Commercial Observer featuring Frank E. Chaney
Tribeca Clock Tower Building Case Opens Up Potential for More Interior NYC Landmarks
By Rebecca Baird-Remba | December 1, 2017

“I think what’s significant about this case is that it’s set a new standard, contrary to the practice for over 50 years,” said Frank Chaney, an attorney at Rosenberg & Estis who was cited in the appellate decision. “While for an interior landmark being customarily open and accessible to the public was a requirement of being a landmark, it was never the obligation of the owner to keep it that way. This decision says once open and accessible, the designation requires the owner to keep it open and accessible now and forever.”


A state appellate court decision issued this week involving the historic Clock Tower Building at 346 Broadway in Tribeca will make it easier for the city to landmark the interiors of buildings and reinforce the requirement that interior landmarks must be open to the public.

Yesterday, a five-judge panel upheld a March 2016 decision that prevented developers Peebles Corporation and Elad Group from converting the unique clock tower at 346 Broadway into a residential condominium, as part of a larger plan to renovate the former office building into 151 luxury condos. The giant mechanical clock is the largest of its kind in New York City and sits atop a late 19th-century, 13-story office building designed by McKim, Mead and White between Leonard Street and Catherine Lane.

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Firm Serves as Legal Counsel in Unique Financing That Provides Capital for Deployment

Rosenberg & Estis, P.C., New York City’s largest real estate law firm, served as legal counsel for The Durst Organization in a unique $1 billion financing package from multiple lenders on a group of eight Class A office towers.

The financing package, which includes $600 million in first mortgage debt on five Manhattan Durst properties and a $400 million credit line, was led by Citi Private Bank, which contributed $650 million to the deal. As part of the package, JPMorgan Chase, TD Bank, and Bank of New York Mellon each provided $100 million, and City National Bank provided $50 million. The five properties supporting the first mortgage debt are 655 Third Avenue, 675 Third Avenue, 825 Third Avenue, 114 West 47th Street and 205 East 42nd Street.

Rosenberg & Estis Member, Dennis I. Hellman, represented The Durst Organization in the financing deal, with Kamilla Bogdanov and Daniel Grobman, Associates with the firm, assisting. Chatham Financial also advised Durst in connection with the financing while Herrick Feinstein represented Citi Private Bank.

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BISNOW featuring Adam R. Sanders

Transit Lines Become The Next Frontier For Workforce Housing Development
June 13, 2017 | Travis Gonzalez

Following New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s pledge to bring 80,000 new low-cost units to the city, affordable housing development has become a popular topic. But within the spectrum of development, which runs the gamut from low-income apartments to luxury penthouses, units reserved for workforce housing, households making from 60% to 120% of the area median income, are a less prominent part of the conversation.

More than 1 million people, often older workers and middle class families, have moved out of the New York City area since 2010, at a yearly rate of 4.4%.

As the economy improves and workers relocate to cheaper areas farther from urban centers, developers looking for a lower barrier to entry have found opportunity outside the five boroughs, along the transit lines that feed into the city.

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Firm Served as Legal Counsel for Lender for Midtown East Condo Tower Transaction

Rosenberg & Estis, P.C., New York City’s largest real estate law firm, served as legal counsel for lender Emerald Creek Capital in a one-year bridge financing deal, totaling $41.5 million, with New Empire Real Estate Development.

Emerald Creek Capital refinanced a $37.5 million loan, originally provided by Cathay Bank, for New Empire’s proposed development on East 47th Street between Third and Lexington avenues. Michael E. Lefkowitz, Member; Eric S. Orenstein, Member; Steven R. Goldberg, Member; and David A. Fries, Associate, represented Emerald Creek Capital in the deal.

“This is an extraordinary project with strong ownership in an attractive location,” said Mr. Orenstein. “While the pace of financing has slowed for many new residential projects, this development was attractive to lenders.”

Structured as a private investment company with both domestic and offshore private equity funds, Emerald Creek Capital provides short-term loans secured by commercial real estate nationwide. Operating without the regulatory constraints of a conventional bank, Emerald Creek Capital focuses on time-sensitive and complex transactions and has become a reliable source for bridge loans.

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Renberg & Estis, P.C., New York City’s largest real estate law firm, successfully obtained the removal of a gentlemen’s club commonly known as Cheetahs from the former Hotel Carter, which had been purchased by a client of Rosenberg & Estis, P.C. Cheetahs was one of the last two tenants remaining at this important property, occupying ground floor space which interfered with the new owners’ plans to redevelop the building and the lobby.

Rosenberg & Estis, P.C., working through Norman Flitt, a member of Rosenberg & Estis, and Laura Davidov, an associate at Rosenberg & Estis, represented the owners, defendants 250 West 43 Owner LLC, 250 West 43 Owner II, LLC and 250 West 43 Owner III, LLC, against the tenant, Three Amigos SJL Restaurant Inc., before both Justice Carol Edmead in New York County Supreme Court, the Appellate Division, First Department and also in Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

Previously, the Rosenberg and Estis team obtained a major victory at the Appellate Division, reversing an order of Supreme Court, New York County that granted the tenant’s motion for a Yellowstone injunction, thereby preventing the owners from enforcing a notice of termination of lease and evicting the tenant. The lease had been terminated because the tenant had failed to maintain the insurance coverage required under its lease.

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Tenant Falsely Claimed Rights to Rent-Stabilized Unit

Rosenberg & Estis, P.C., New York City’s largest real estate law firm, has secured a victory for its client in a Civil Court trial and a subsequent appeal to the Appellate Term, First Department, securing possession of a rent-stabilized apartment after unraveling an elaborate scheme perpetrated by the tenant and her alleged roommate (“Appellant”), who claimed rights to the unit by alleging that the tenant of record was an illusory tenant.

Deborah E. Riegel, member; Ethan R. Cohen, associate, and Ilya Prokopets, associate, with R&E, represented 68-74 Thompson Realty, LLC, in the case before Justice Sabrina B. Kraus in Civil Court and before the Appellate Term.

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BISNOW featuring Brett B. Theis
Scott Schnall Case Moves To Federal Court, Challenging The Constitutionality Of DOB Statute

Scott Schnall’s battle with the New York City Department of Buildings is moving to federal court.

Following the successful application to set aside 300 DOB stop-work orders for Schnall’s projects, the new claim argues that the law granting the DOB discretionary power to permanently revoke filing privileges is unconstitutional and being abused by the department.

The case has the potential to loosen the DOB’s vice grip on New York’s design and construction professionals, many of whom do not speak out against the department’s policies and regulations in fear of retaliation.

In December 2014, Schnall, an engineer and expeditor with 27 years worth of filing experience, was quoted in The New York Times saying that the DOB approval process was “screwed up.” That is when he claims the department made him a target and took actions to put him out of business for speaking his mind.

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Photos from the "Affordable New York Housing Program" CLE moderated by our own Daniel M. Bernstein.
11 Photos - View album
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