Sizing up Manhattan’s condo crunch following a decade of boom and bust

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.

Starr Update 2/5/20

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.

Ryan Serhant’s $50K cash offer to buyers’ agents ruffles feathers

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.

REBNY rolls out ground rules for selling new development

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.

Converting An Office Building To Commercial Condominiums

Rudder Property Group sat down with Shaun W. Pappas, Partner of Starr Associates LLP—one of New York’s pre-eminent law firms providing comprehensive legal representation for the real estate industry—to learn more about the process of converting an existing office building into commercial condominiums.

Breaking: New Legislation For Converting Occupied Residential Rental Buildings

Clients and Colleagues,

A significant change to the “tenant-protection” landscape has been pending before the New York State legislature over the past months.  As of yesterday, it seems the legislature has come to terms on new regulations, which are to be implemented “immediately” and which will serve to change some of the legal standards for converting occupied residential rental buildings in New York.

The Real Estate Finance Bureau to begin posting offering plans and amendments to the offering plan database search webpage

The Real Estate Finance Bureau has announced that it will begin posting offering plans and amendments to the offering plan database search webpage. The database will now include a “Documents” tab where the offering plan and/or amendments associated with a particular filing will be posted. The database can be accessed at

The REFB states that the “Documents” will be screened and redacted as necessary to protect private information. A complete comply of the REFB bulletin can be found here.


Make sure your brokerage and co-brokerage agreements are always in writing. It may sound simple, but the litigation team at Starr Associates LLP was compelled to defend this issue for a client in New York Supreme Court when a purported “co-broker/finder” claimed he was entitled to 1/2 our client’s brokerage commission based on an alleged oral agreement.

Although the evidence provided by plaintiff during discovery was paltry, the court permitted the case to proceed to a jury trial, based on the claim by plaintiff that a gratuity offered by our client as a “thank you” once the deal was consummated, as is common in the industry, was really an effort to pay the co-broker less than the ½ commission orally agreed-upon. Our client wholly denied that any oral agreement was ever discussed and alleged that the “thank you” payment was a simple gift. Plaintiff provided no proof of such oral agreement, other than his own testimony.

Transfer Tax Increases - Effective July 1st, 2019

As many of you may have heard, the budget bill for New York’s 2020 fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2019, was signed into law and includes an increase to the New York State (NYS) transfer tax and so-called “mansion tax” on transfers of real property where the real property is located in any city within the state having a population of one million or more (i.e. all 5 boroughs). By way
of background, the current rate for the NYS transfer tax is $2 for every S500 (or fraction thereof) of consideration, subject to limited exceptions and exemptions and the current rate for the mansion tax” is 1% on transfers of residential real property where the consideration is in excess of $1 million.

Attached are the new applicable tax rates. It should be noted that, while the new tax will take effect on July 1, 2019, there is a safe harbor provision for transfers made pursuant to a binding agreement entered into on or before April 1, 2019 and that close after July 1, 2019.

In preparation for the new tax rates, our office will be preparing an amendment to all existing offering plans and will address the new tax rates in all pending contracts until such amendment is accepted for filing by the AG. Please give us a call with any questions and to discuss what may need to be done for your project.

First 1 2 3 4 5 6 Last


  • Arthur Stern
    Cogswell Realty

    Our team has had the pleasure of working with Starr Associates on our project at 150 Rivington Street.  The entire Starr team was a tremendous asset to the success of our project.   Through very challenging times, Starr Associates came through time and time again.  It is an honor to work with everyone at Starr!

  • Ian Schrager
    Ian Schrager Company

    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.


  • Emily Beare

    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.

  • Andrew Berkman, Counsel
    Milstein Properties

    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.

  • David Penick, Vice President

    “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.”

  • James Lansill, Senior Managing Director
    Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group

    “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).”

  • Ben Shaoul
    President, Magnum Real Estate Group

    “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.”

  • Susan DeFranca, President & CEO
    Douglas Elliman Development Marketing

    “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.”

  • Michael Rudder
    Rudder Property Group

    “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.”

  • Charles Bendit
    Co-CEO Taconic Investment Partners LLC

    “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.”