We have been receiving many inquiries regarding the numerous and multi-faceted effects and ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic on real estate development projects in New York City and, in particular, the recent policy changes affecting offering plans, required disclosures and sales and marketing procedures. In response to these inquiries, we have drafted the attached article to provide an overview of some of the noteworthy changes. It is important to note that many of these policy changes are in place temporarily and therefore may be revoked or modified in the future.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently issued Executive Order No. 202.18 (“Executive Order”) to temporarily suspend or modify statutes and local laws thereby tolling important statutory deadlines for the period of time commencing on April 16, 2020 and continuing through May 16, 2020 (“Tolling Period”)
Closing in the time of coronavirus is onerous but not impossible.
Developers are agreeing to a variety of contingencies, attorneys are personally ferrying dossiers between parties, and staid institutions including banks and co-operatives are being surprisingly flexible.
In our continuing effort to keep you apprised of events impacting the ability of our clients to continue doing business during the public health emergency, we attach a new guidance document issued by the Attorney General entitled, “Temporary Submission and Review Policies and Procedures Due to COVID-19 State of Emergency.” This guidance document is effective as of March 25, 2020 until further notice.
In response to the rapidly evolving public health emergency the coronavirus (COVID-19) has produced, Starr Associates LLP is implementing a remote work policy. Effective immediately, the Firm’s lawyers and support staff will be working from home remotely to keep our staff safe and to do our part in the effort to reduce transmission of the virus.
Shaun Pappas, a real estate attorney who works with Magnum, said he has been contacted by smaller developers about whether rent-to-own would work for them. One of his clients, Italian-born developer Stefano Farsura, said he was considering it for his 14-unit condo on 139 East 23rd Street. Sales launched in January, and all units are asking below $4 million. “We decided to stay flexible and see how the market reacts,” he said.
We are thrilled to announce our litigation department’s successful representation of a sponsor-developer that brought suit against a defaulted purchaser, who claimed his default was justified because of construction delays that amounted to six months beyond sponsor’s anticipated closing projection.
Real estate agents have a fiduciary duty to represent their clients’ interests, but it’s a seller or developer that pays agents. And, in new development, payment terms are governed by a co-broke agreement that buyers aren’t party to, said Shaun Pappas, an attorney at Starr Associates, which represents both Magnum and 196 Orchard.
Samantha Sheeber, Starr’s managing partner, disputed that a bad market had anything to do with their discussions and called the resulting agreement fair.
She said she expects Starr to now handle less brokerage agreements, but noted that some of her clients, notably high-end developers, don’t put much stock in having their product on the RLS and will still require custom agreements.
I have known Allan Starr for many years and worked with him on many projects. He has always exceeded my expectations. He not only knows the ins and outs of the law, but knows how to make the whole process easy and quick. I’ve found him to possess an incredibly astute legal mind, combined with a common sense approach that always accomplishes my goals. He’s not only a gentleman and a friend, but a brilliant lawyer.
It has been an absolute pleasure working with Allan Starr and Samantha Sheeber over the past twelve years. They are not only the utmost professionals, but also wonderful people who I have grown to love like family. I trust them with all of my new development projects and private clients, and we support each other in our business and personal lives. Starr Associates LLP has always been there for me and my clients and I would recommend them as highly as I recommend anyone.
Allan and I have worked together for decades; along the way, I have worked with Samantha Sheeber, Andrea Roschelle, John Rodriguez and Erica Starr and have always been pleased with their quick and accurate responses. They have worked with us on closings (with great and efficient results), restatements of stale plans, amendments and other assorted AG requirements, always on a timely and cost-effective basis.
“Working with Starr has been great on three condo projects in Manhattan to date. The accessibility and direct attention of the partners is unsurpassed. Allan and Sam have the interests of the owner at heart and make every effort to protect our interests in a responsible and defensible manner. Their practical approach and deep knowledge of the offering plan process and requirements of the AG office combine to make a highly effective and efficient package. At the associate level they have good support as well. The closing office has to be the best in NY – never a failed closing in 15 years. We are repeat customers and will be going forward.”
“Samantha Sheeber is a partner in making transactions successful. She’s resourceful, respected, smart, funny as hell, and is swift to constantly embarrass us (and clients) because she sees the end while we all muddle in the middle. She saves time. She is selfless and fast and conscientious. She’s loyal to the notion of selflessly getting stuff done. She cultivates great talent. And she makes the process fun, even when she is mad at us for asking the same impossible question 11 times hoping for a new result (a solution for which — by the way — she often discovers).”
“As an active developer in New York City, Magnum Real Estate Group is proud to have partnered with Starr Associates, LLP as our legal counsel in 5 significant projects valued at approximately $800 million. Over the last 5 years, Starr has provided us with exceptional advice on condominium Offering Plans and related transactions. Partner Samantha Sheeber, Esq. and her team have professionally guided us, and provided creative and effective solutions when needed.”
“I have had the fortunate opportunity, over the past 16 years, to work with Allan Starr and Samantha Sheeber who I consider to be experts in the field of real estate law. They, together with their team, have a deep understanding of Attorney General Offering Plan registrations and continually seek to identify creative solutions to complicated issues. Their level of integrity and commitment are unwavering no matter how large or small a project. I completely endorse Starr Associates LLP and look forward to our mutual continued success.”
“Starr Associates’ specialty in the creation and representation of condominiums is unmatched. Their knowledge, experience and professionalism in the office condominium sector is best-in-class. Starr Associates’ hard work and expertise has been critical to the success of our firm’s office condominium projects.”
“Starr Associates have been our condominium attorneys for many years. Their counsel goes well beyond just drafting the condominium documents, which of course they do extremely well. They also represent us and our brand with condominium unit purchasers, and with our lenders and partners on condominium related matters. We have always found Starr’s attorneys to be professional, responsive and cost-conscious.”