In the blink of an eye

Take a look, if you wish, at this video from May, 2007, showing off theAnatres mansion development. For fans of the decline of the Roman Empire, this is kind of neat, capturing the exact peak of the housing bubble. Everyone who was anyone in the Greenwich bubble was here that evening. Two years on, they’re all gone. The Antares group is gone, the mansion development is remains unbuilt and abandoned, the Stamford Harbor development is kaput (so far as Antares’ participation is concerned), the Greenwich YMCA, beneficiary of this party, is drowning, Marcus Zavataro has left Patriot Bank and the men he left behind  have to borrow dimes for the pay-toilets the FDIC installed in Patriot’s lobby, Miller Motor Cars isn’t selling many Bentleys, etc. etc. They’re all here on one tape, saying farewell to all that.


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15 responses to “In the blink of an eye

  1. I see what you are saying, but this video is for the benefit of the YMCA — something where everyone there was doing something good. So, there really is no point to shame them.

    • christopherfountain

      No shaming involved, Don’t – just a reflection on the high times, and how quickly they went away.

  2. Rockwood


    Kudos to you for highlighting the Antares’ boys fall from grace. Antares’ investment strategy can be summed up as (1) building/acquiring low-return assets using (2) cheap funny money (courtesy of the shadow banking system and its conspirators) and (3) pray that the greater fool game of musical chairs (dare I say Ponzi scheme?) would continue. Here’s the WSJ story and related video highlighting these guys at the peak:

    and here is the related WSJ article (subscription may be required):

    I thought this was the most obnoxious part of the WSJ story:

    “For Mr. Beninati, this all adds up to the “ultimate investment play,” he says. During a recent interview in his office in Stamford, Conn., he used a white board and marker to sketch out what he referred to as the town’s “business ecosystem.” He drew a triangle and divided it horizontally into three sections. In the top section, he scribbled “Hedge funds and private equity.” For them, he said, rent is lowest in comparison to profits, so they can pay the most. In the middle tier, he said, come investment banks. At the bottom, he said, sit advertising firms, accountants and lawyers. “We’ll move them to Stamford,” he said, referring to the city east of Greenwich, where office space is less expensive.”

    Antares deserves zero sympathy in my book.


  3. 1st time poster, long time reader

    Chris, are there any additional updates on the Antares boys? I had the “pleasure” of working with Beninati & Cabrera well before their real estate days. Let’s just say I am not surprised how quickly Joe torpedoed Jim’s once small, but credible building management firm. (That’s not to say that Jim wasn’t responsible for any of the blunders). What goes around comes around!

    • christopherfountain

      I believe all they have left are $10 million liens on each of their Mooreland Road mansions, but maybe there’s something squirreled away. I hope so, because I suspect we’ll see rainy days for the boys arriving soon.

  4. anonymous

    Nature of RE: a long-cycle, bubble/bust industry that attracts lots of manic-depressive salesguys/developers who tend to have poor risk judgment (not unlike some of the clowns at IBs who blew themselves up in ’08)

  5. anon

    Dont Post Often – it is obvious this event had nothing to do with raising money for the YMCA. Everyone there had something to pitch – spec homes, Bentleys, food, loans, their egos (one guy had a IV after his name). This video is a fine display of deuche baggery and is Greenwich’s version of the real housewives on NY

  6. B1

    Was that Scott and Zelda I saw in the background, in front of the library of uncut books?

    Beninati doesn’t pass the “would you buy a used car from this man” test. How banks ever lent to him . . .

    A remarkable era. Glad that it’s over.

  7. Wally

    Hate to say it, but that looked more like a Westchester party…..

  8. concerned

    yes it did…

  9. Old School Grump

    Shot in the dark … is there any accounting of how much money actually went to the Y?

  10. Glan Man

    anon, right on the money. This had about as much to do with the Y as public open houses have on selling homes.

    See an undeterred group has begun developing at the head of the abandoned project. Maybe they believe the spanking new guard hut will make the difference.

  11. Anonymous

    WHAT AN OBNOXCIOUS GROUP. How dare they push out dr.s lawyers etc. out of town so they thought the big rent would keep coming from hedgies. Wow those dr.s lawyers you know the ones who can actually pay the rent at the end of the month sound pretty good now . they thought they were going to rule this town , they destroyed it . i hope we see there house up with that oh so common sign today FOR SALE!!!!!!!

  12. Anonymous

    Also, “Modern Estate Magazine” (also gone kaput) publisher was there front and center.

  13. Blind Side

    When was the last time you did something to benefit charity? Whether the event raised $1 or $100,000 why would you spread hate and disparage others – for circulation? Clearly, facts do not get in your way. Spend some time invetigating before you report and as a head’s up you should know that while Antares is no longer managing the south end project in Stamford – which they envisioned, pieced together and 5+ years from now has the potential of revitalizing our area – they remain an investor and will undoubtedly have some role going forward in the development, the Mansions project is not unbuilt or abandoned as homes were built and two families reside although clearly in this economy there is a reluctance by the current owners who bought from Antares to continue to build out at this time, etc. Is the YMCA in need of money? I’m sure but what does that have to do with Antares? Borrowing dimes for FDIC toilets, Miller Motors, etc? Sounds like more red meat.