Tag Archives: Antares greenwich

Sore loser

Imagine what we'd be like without any money!

I hear that Antares partner Jimmy Cabreras tossed Greenwich Time reporter Teri Buhl out of 100 West Putnam Avenue when she stopped by to see how he’s doing. When things were going well for the Boys, you could barely keep your email in-box clear of their invitations and self-congratulatory press releases. Guess that’s changed.

I had occasion to drop Pal Nancy off at Pitney Bowes headquarters in South Stamford last week and saw for the first time the development going on down there. It’s amazing, and I almost – almost – felt sorry for the Boys because they did a heck of a job assembling all that real estate before losing it due to their inexperience and incompetence.

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Pssst! Wanna buy a custom, caramel – walnut desk for $100,000? Never been used.

cliff diverTalk about being knocked on one’s duff!

Oct. 30 (Bloomberg) — Phil Duff had a three-decade hot streak.

He earned degrees from Harvard University and MIT and then skipped through the ranks at investment bank Morgan Stanley, becoming chief financial officer in 1994, when he was 36. Hedge fund phenom Julian Robertson hired him four years later as chief operating officer at Tiger Management LLC.

Duff struck out on his own in 2000, founding hedge fund firm FrontPoint Partners LLC — which Duff, a lifelong outdoorsman, named for a mountain-climbing technique used to scale steep ice faces with crampons. Six years later, he sold the company to Morgan Stanley for $400 million.

He could have stopped there. He didn’t, and his legacy today is 43,400 square feet (4,030 square meters) of silent, unoccupied office space in Greenwich, Connecticut, with a custom food court, two jumbo flat-screen televisions and about $6 million of other amenities. The offices were to be the home of Duff Capital Advisors LP, a firm that the super-confident Duff, 52, once predicted would be bigger than Tiger, which at its peak managed $22 billion.

Then the global financial system seized up, and no pension fund had a spare $1 billion to invest with Duff’s moneymen. Duff never moved into his new digs. As of late September, his $39,000 desk — a single slab of caramel-colored walnut with bronze legs — still sat in a corner office with views across Long Island Sound. The landlord got the desk, $1.5 million of other furniture and an $11 million penalty when Duff Capital negotiated an end to its 15-year lease, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Duff, who lives in Greenwich and vacations in Sun Valley, Idaho, didn’t return phone calls or e-mails.

“It should have been a perfect opportunity,” says Josh Green, an independent money manager who joined Duff Capital in October 2008, six weeks before Duff dismissed all of his fund managers.

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Here’s a surprise: hedge funds’ demise hurts Greenwich commecial real estate

More on Antares. Jimmy Cabera is still sounding confident – I admire that in a man.

UPDATE: you can get around the Craine’s “subscriber only” wall by coming in through Google News (works for most of these subscription only sites) but here’s some of it:

As everybody knows, in real estate, location is key.

No wonder executives at Antares paid a whopping $880 a square foot in March 2007 for a building in an area thick with hedge funds paying rents in the triple digits per square foot. The developers planned to upgrade the building and cash in on what looked like a sure thing.

Unfortunately, by the time the building’s $60 million metamorphosis was complete in late 2008, the market had crashed. Investment firms were in wild retreat, leaving 28% of Antares’ refurbished property vacant in an area that’s suddenly awash in high-end space.

Such sad tales have become commonplace in Manhattan’s Plaza district and on Park Avenue. But Antares was betting on a different market entirely: Greenwich, Conn., one of only three places in the nation where office rents broke through the $100-per-square-foot level, according to Cushman & Wakefield Inc.

Passing that threshold not only put Greenwich rents on a par with those for the toniest corners of Manhattan and Boston; it also priced most companies—except highly successful hedge funds and investment managers—out of the market.

The consequences of homogeneity are apparent today in the 4.5 million-square-foot Greenwich market, where the availability rate hit 19% in the -second quarter. That’s nearly double year-earlier levels, according to real estate services firm CB Richard Ellis Inc. Meanwhile, leasing activity in the period plunged 42% from 2008 levels, while average rents sank by 12%, to $64.20 per square foot.

Conditions are even grimmer in the central part of Greenwich, in the area around the Metro-North station—the precinct preferred by the most elite firms. There, rents declined 18%, to $90.61, CB Richard Ellis says.

“It was boom time here, but that changed after Bear Stearns and Lehman and the like [disappeared],” says Edward Tonnessen, an executive managing director in Stamford for Jones Lang LaSalle, a real estate services firm. “Demand didn’t go to zero, but it came close.”

The big factor behind the sea change: Greenwich’s outsize dependence on financial firms. They account for an estimated 80% of the total leased space there—as opposed to roughly a third of the space in Manhattan, where the availability rate hit 14% in June and leasing activity fell by 35%.

End of an era?

SPACED-OUT
Stats for offices in Greenwich’s central business district (each qtrs. availability rate and rent per sq. ft.)

2007
1Q 
15.6% $90.58
2Q 9.2% $111.22
3Q 6.1% $108.42
4Q 6.5% $124.50

2008
1Q 
4.8% $108.11
2Q 7.4% $110.03
3Q 7.8% $118.87
4Q 10.4% $103.59

2009
1Q
 11.6% $99.16
2Q 21.0% $90.61

Source: CB Richard Ellis

“I don’t think we are going to see the $100-a-square-foot rents again in the near term,” says Robert Caruso, senior managing director of Westchester and Fairfield counties for CB Richard Ellis.

“I think we’ll see a rediversification of tenants,” says Mr. Tonnessen. “There are law firms and other professional consulting companies that were on the verge of getting priced out that will be able to stay.”

That change will not happen overnight, however. In fact, tenants may still be assailed by sticker shock, since some owners continue to ask for precrash rents. Antares, for example, is still asking $125 per square foot for its building at 100 W. Putnam Ave.

Jim Cabrera, a managing member of Antares, points out that the asking rent is nearly 20% lower than it was a year or so ago. He adds that Antares will break up the 43,000 square feet of available space to accommodate smaller tenants. The space had been leased to a hedge fund, which returned it.

“This building was developed for the upper-end tenant,” says Mr. Cabrera, touting the beautiful renovation, the gym, and the water views. “This is what they want.”

That may be true, but the question is, are there enough tenants that can still afford it?


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Antares hits the Greenwich Time – it won’t be pretty

Watch for Sunday’s Greenwich Time. Front page story on the rise and fall of the Antares boys. [UPDATE - Not online as of 6: AM Sunday - Hmmm - did BJ O'Rourke, Terror of the New Canaan Bar, get the story spiked? Fascinating times at the Time - we'll have to dig around and see what's up on this]

 Neil Vigoda (?) has spent weeks, even months on this one and somehow I don’t think it will be the puff pieces the boys generated when they were strutting around town telling whoppers about their genius. Turns out, that remedial year at Choate didn’t do them much good after all.

UPDATE: And while you’re waiting for that story, GT has already posted the latest investigative reporting by its top intern, Susie Plate Lip :

Scene … Greenwich resident Judge Judy Sheindlin was seen dressed elegantly in her summer whites on Wednesday morning outside of the CVS on Greenwich Avenue.

Can this girl write, or what?

Scusie gets ready for her CVS stakeout

Scusie gets ready for her CVS stakeout

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It can’t happen here, right?

The office furniture of Paul Greenwood, late of WG Trading with offices in Greenwich and Santa Barabra, California, are set to be auctioned next week. Office desks and chairs aren’t all that exciting but there are some oriental rugs that might be nice and the sale should whet the appetite of buyers for the real auction, coming soon as this fraud’s assets are liquidated. How about a 286-acre horse farm, “Grand Central”, in North Salem? Or his residence in that same town. Or, if you don’t can’t afford Westchester County property taxes (Greenwood could but only by pulling a  mini-Madoff), there’s a 1,348 piece collection of Steiff stuffed animals, estimated value $2.2 million. We all have our quirks, but I wouldn’t risk disgrace and prison for a teddy bear collection.

Will we see auctions like this for our own celebrities? Well we do have Frederic Bourke looking at an extended stay away, Mark and Andy Madoff aren’t looking so good, my pal Dom Devito is going out of town for 51 months and, of course, there’s Walter. There’s always Walter. Plus, don’t you wonder how the Antares boys are doing? I do.

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Don’t you hate when this happens?

The Antares boys are out of their last vestige of the dreams of a real estate empire, tossed from the UST project last week, according to rumor. All that’s left seems to be the twin mansions on Mooreland Road and those are threatened also. If he’s as kind as he’s said to be, Walt Noel will get an extra-large, double side-by-side refrigerator box so he can share his shelter with the boys.

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Antares saga continues

Word I have is that Antares files for bankruptcy this week. Another interesting tidbit is that the boys are on the line with some pretty hefty personal guaranties – large enough to take away those side-by-side Mooreland mansions from their wives. Well, it’s a good thing that they evicted all the old folks from Putnam Green before the condo project failed – plenty of empty apartments for Jimmy and Joe to find shelter in at a moderate price. That’s assuming the new landlord doesn’t require a credit check.

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Can Antares keep its tenants?

Huge drop predicted for Greenwich office rents Average Greenwich office space is $70 ft compared to $46 in Stamford and $36 in Fairfield County as a whole. Antares says that its UST building is fully leased to hedge funds at over $100 sq. ft. and, while a lease is a lease, one can wonder how long those tenants will last. One fund, Duff (Asociates?) is seeking to sub-let its contracted for 15,000 ft of space but that would be Duff’s problem, not Antares. But as prices drop and the disparity between neighboring areas grow, I’d think that some clever people will be looking to their landlord for concessions and/or least terminations. And of course, there’s always the issue of whether all those hedge fund tenants will survive to move into the new building.

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Landlord/tenant woes

Yesterday the Rainbow Grill closed. Today, the landlord ordered the Ciprianis from the Rainbow Room itself. But not to worry: Joseph Beninati, Antares Managing Partner from Greenwich insisted that he had a new tenant lined up at a rent that “will make hedge fund rents look like lunch money. We’re ahead of schedule and fully booked. We’re -“. Security guards pulled Mr. Beninati from the room before this reporter could elicit further comment.

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Road Kill

Here was a gory game, brought to you by Antares:

You are a Greenwich hedge fund manager who bet correctly on the recent stock market correction. Stepping out into the sunshine on a sunny spring day, you decide to take a short walk to bask in the rays at Steamboat Landing, where your 65-foot yacht Louis XVI is docked across from the Delamar Hotel.

Whistling a Broadway show tune, you step out onto Greenwich Avenue, and splat  you are road kill.

Hedger is one of three “advergames” cooked up by the staff of Shift Control Media Inc., a company formed last July that has designed a game to showcase its home base of Greenwich for client Antares Investment Partners.

The Web site, GreenwichCTGames.com, also includes “Avenue Rally,” in which players drive through Greenwich running errands. Coming soon is “Trade Up,” where one takes the persona of a Greenwich real estate mogul and attempts to improve a property portfolio.

The real estate firm hopes the games will spur people who might not ordinarily consider living in Greenwich to take another look. As an additional lure, Antares is running a minisweepstakes for people who frequent the site, with restaurant, hotel and shopping giveaways.

“The real estate business in general is not on the cutting edge of advertising and marketing,” said Jim Cabrera, co-founder of Antares. “From our standpoint, we have a tremendous database of potential buyers that we are collecting as a result of this.”

The boys must have filled their quota of potential buyers because the website, GreenwichCtGames.com no longer exists. Someone was road kill here, and not necessarily hedge funders. And speaking of road kill, I wonder how that UST project, “100% filled with hedge fund tenants” is doing? Work continues and the space will soon be ready for tenants, but are those companies now sharing space with GreenwichCTGames? You could check at the building’s website, 100WestPutnam.com but – oops! That site’s gone too.



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More on Staging

Prowling the internet I came across this video from May, 2007, depicting the Antares boys’ attempting to unload one of their back country houses. They put on a party supposedly for the benefit of that other failed institution in town, the YMCA, borrowed a couple of Rolls Royces from Miller Motorcars, threw flowers around the place and filled the house with, as one participant puts it, “all the important business and social people in Fairfield County.” All that staging didn’t work and the tape should prove a historical curiosity: the house itself sold for half what they asked, they abandoned the rest of the project, the model of “their legacy”, Stamford’s Harbor Point, is, a year-and-a-half later, a cardboard depiction of a project they were kicked off of, and half the mortgage lenders and other important people shown here have either found new lines of work or soon will. But I’m sure it was a nice party, paid for by Antares’ investors. The boys know how to live.

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