Daily Archives: November 18, 2008

Archibald Cox, he is not

archibald-cox1 Our next president has decided on Eric Holder as this country’s next Attorney General. Mr. Holder, you may or may not remember, last exercised his official duties in the waning days of the Clinton administration by arranging the pardon of tax cheat and felon Marc Rich, in exchange for (gasp!) money. He’ll be a fine addition to the team.

Politics, for a change!


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

(A different pride)

(A different pride)

You can read all this in the comments section to the earlier Antares post but it’s so much fun, I’d hate for it to get lost. From CEA:

Well, here is what I know (and it is just public information, I am sure there is more).

UST building is 154,000 sq ft: “Under the ownership of Antares, the 154,000 square-foot landmark property, formerly known as the US Tobacco Building, reached “lease-up” status a year
ahead of company projections. Joseph Beninati, Antares Managing Partner said, “One Hundred West Putnam, acquired just 12 months ago at well below replacement cost, will produce the highest cash flows per foot of any commercial office building in the United States.”

Even better, they took on so much debt that cash flow/interest coverage is a mere 2x: ” To take advantage of substantial cash flow, Antares has put in place long-term debt on the building with very low and stable interest rates. The nearly
$16 million of property cash flow will produce approximately two times the annual interest cost at 100 West Putnam.”

They have leased the bulk of the space to 2 hedge funds: Plainfield Asset and Strategic Value Partners: “Plainfield Asset Management will join the hedge firm Strategic Value Partners of Greenwich at 100 W. Putnam Ave. after Greenwich-based Antares Investment Partners renovates the 150,000-square-foot building.

Sources, who requested anonymity because of the confidential nature of the hedge fund industry, said Plainfield leased 60,000 square feet at 100 W. Putnam and also will keep its office at 55 Railroad Ave. in downtown Greenwich. (Plainfield Asset Management for 60,654 sf and Strategic Value Partners for 44,065 sf at 100 West Putnam Avenue in Greenwich.)

And how are those hedge funds doing, you might ask?

Well, there’s this story: Strategic Value Partners to Shut Down $600 Million Debt Fund.

(SVP: had $5 bil in total assets under management)

And then there’s this:

Plainfield Freezes Redemptions
Posted by Bess Levin, Nov 06, 2008, 4:54pm
Plainfield Special Situations Master Fund, a $5 billion credit fund run by Plainfield Asset Management, apparently notified investors on a conference call yesterday that there have been over $1.6 billion in redemptions, and sorry, but the firm has supposedly decided to create a Special Purpose Vehicle which will liquidate redeemed assets over a period of years. Investors were given a choice to rescind their redemptions by November 30 or be issued interests in the new SPV.


Were I Antares – I’d be nervous.


Filed under Right wing nut rantings

So what’s up with this?

25-jeffrey-road 25 Jeffrey Road (off Stanwich) was a dumpy little cape-ish ranch back in 2002 when it was listed for $1.025 million. Just to remind you of the good old days, I’ll tell you that it went in mere days, via a bidding war, for $1.1 million. Nice.

Now it’s back on the market, renovated and expanded and very much no longer a cape/ranch/whatever, and priced at $2.6 million. For all I know, that’s a perfect price but in fact I don’t know anything at all about this house and here’s why: although it’s been listed for sale since April, 2008, Thursday will be the first broker open house. I could call the listing broker and no doubt get a perfectly reasonable explanation of why the owners kept agents out of their house for so long, but it’s more interesting to speculate, which I will leave for you to do. I will content myself with pointing out that keeping agents away is not necessarily a successful marketing ploy: this house is, after all, still unsold after 7 months.


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate

How’m I doing?

ed-kochIf you’re the Greenwich real estate market, not so well. Since September 1 we’ve seen a total of 42 single family homes go to contract, 2 in Cos Cob, 29 in Greenwich, 4 in Old Greenwich and 7 in Riverside. Of interest, perhaps, is that Riverside and Greenwich share the four highest sales between them: GR – $13,750,000; RV – $12.9 million; GR – $10.9 million and RV – $8.675 million.

How much is still out there to move? Oh, quite a bit. Cos Cob, 78; Greenwich, 400 (!); Old Greenwich, 50 and Riverside, 64.

And the sale to inventory percentage:

RV: 10%

OG: 7%

GR: 6.7%

CC: 2%

How’s that Hank William’s song go? “You’re gonna change, or I’m a gonna leave.” To Terre Haut, perhaps.


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate

This is getting depressing


Homebuilders’ confidence index sinks to 9, a record low.

Confidence among U.S. homebuilders in November dropped to the lowest level since record-keeping began in 1985, a sign that the deepening credit crisis is preventing prospective buyers from purchasing new homes.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index of builder confidence decreased to 9, lower than forecast, from 14 in October, the Washington-based association said today. A reading less than 50 means most respondents view conditions as poor.

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Filed under Right wing nut rantings

21 Cornelia Drive update

I mentioned this place a week ago when it had endured seven price cuts over the years as its disappointed builder slashed and slashed again, from $11.750 million to, last month, $7.450 million. Today sees its eight price reduction, $500,000 off, down to $6.950.

(Some) agents emphasize the importance of trying to get the price right the first time because, once a house hangs around a couple of months, let alone years, it’s perceived as old and stale and buyers don’t want it. This house at its new price would almost certainly have sold quickly back in 2005. Three years on, it may require still more.

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Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate

A jaundiced view of sellers’ attitudes

“Sure the market’s down, but not my house!” Real estate agents from around the country report on how they’re doing with their seller/clients.

Update: here’s the link to the AP story cited by the Boston Globe’s blogger: “Delusional home sellers”.

“Love me, love my dog” syndrome

That puts real estate agents in a precarious position of pricing a house to sell, but not insulting the homeowner by recommending a lower asking price. To a homeowner, a low, but realistic, listing price is “like someone calling your kids ugly,” Ariely said with a laugh.

Joni Herndon, an appraiser in Tampa, Fla., said real estate agents are calling her in to help homeowners grasp the reality of their home’s value. Herndon frequently fields questions from disappointed homeowners after an appraisal, and has to explain how broadly the market is declining and why what a neighbour got two months before for his house doesn’t apply anymore.

“But sometimes you just can’t get through to people,” she said.

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Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, pricing

News you can use

Now’s the time to buy a house in Terre Haute

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Filed under Uncategorized

What’s bad for sellers can be good for buyers

There’s a real estate boomlet going on in California where folks once priced out of the market are snapping up foreclosure and just plain old desperate sellers’ bargains. Even if we never reach that level of foreclosure activity in Greenwich, Stamford might and if so, it will drag our prices down with it. We’ve always enjoyed a price advantage over our neighbors but if the disparity gets too great, we’ll go down closer to their level. I think.

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Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate

Oh my gosh, what’s happening in Illinois?

astonishmentUnlike the boom times we’ve been enjoying here in Greenwich, Illinois real estate agents are encountering rough waters. Hope it doesn’t spread east.

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Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, current market conditions, pricing

There won’t always be an England

Fire Danger Asessment Team

Fire Danger Asessment Team


Missed this story when it first appeared: England is banning fire estinguishers from residential flats: too complicated to use properly, citizens may be endangered trying to protect themselves. Only experts can prevent forest fires.

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Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate

Sign of the times?

69 Riverdale Avenue (the last street off the Post Road before Port Chester) is a new condominium project that seemed to be doing okay, even if a large number of units were rented, not sold. Yesterday a 2,400 sq.ft., 2 bedroom, 3 floor townhouse unit sold for $850,000. I can’t tell from the listing but this unit, #103, seems identical to other units that sold before for $985,000, $950,000 and $899,000. I don’t know if there’s a downward trend here but this latest sale would appear to be the lowest so far.


Filed under Uncategorized

Antares on hedge funds: these guys treat rent like lunch money

Last one out pays for lunch!

Last one out pays for lunch!

The actual quote from Mr. Joe Beninati, principal of Antares was “rent is as insignificant to these guys as the lunch bill.” We’ve asked this before: what if there’s no one around to buy lunch? What if the number of hedge funds drops 40%?


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate