Monday, 8 October 2012

Real Estate Billionaires on Forbes’ List

While they may not be Nigerians or tenants at Extell Development’s One57 (a.k.a ”future home of the big hitters”), these New York real estate billionaires have set themselves apart from the rest simply by making Forbes’ “Richest People in America List.”

The honor of the richest real estate man–or men–in New York City goes to Richard LeFrak and Blackstone’s Stephen Schwarzman, both of whom were tied at number 63 on the Forbes 400. While Mr. Schwarzman largely owes his $5.2 billion fortune to private equity, the Blackstone Group has become a dominant force in the real estate world. This summer it announced it would be selling off most of its U.S. office portfolio, valued at $55 billion.

Mr. LeFrak and his family have LeFrak City, an apartment complex in Elmhurst, and a 16 million-plus square foot portfolio of commercial, retail, and residential properties in Newport, NJ. Mr. LeFrak has also extended his real estate reach in the past year by snapping up the Gansevoort hotel in Miami and buying properties in California, Oregon and Washington. His fortune is also valued at $5.2 billion.

Rounding out the list: Stephen Ross of The Related Companies (and The Miami Dolphins) was ranked #83 with a fortune valued at $4.4 billion. Hartz Mountain Industries’ Leonard Stern, who owns more than 38 million square feet of commercial, retail and residential properties in New York and New Jersey, was #89 at $4.2 billion.

Legendary (and litigious) landlord Sheldon Solow made it to #113 at $3.5 billion.

Celebrity real estate mogul (and father-in-law to The Commercial Observer’s publisher Jared Kushner) Donald Trump was #128 on the list with a fortune worth $3.1 billion. He also made it #14 on Forbes’ list of “Most Powerful Celebrities” earlier this year. John Catsimatidis of Gristedes fame (there’s a lot of money in the supermarket chain’s real estate) was #132 at $3 billion.

Tishman Speyer’s Jerry Speyer was tied with Mr. Catsimatidis at #132, and was also worth an estimated $3 billion.

Mort Zuckerman, of Boston Properties and The New York Daily News, was #190 at $2.4 billion.

Times Square landlord Leon Charney was valued at $1.2 billion, good enough to get him to #360 on the Forbes list.

Finally, fertilizer and real estate billionaire Alexander Rovt made it to #388, amassing a modest $1.15 billion fortune.


Thursday, 15 March 2012

Provide industry status to real estate sector

Real estate is a sector which generates second highest employment and contributes approximately 5% of the GDP of the country. It is the fastest growing sector with ever growing concerns.

real estate sector
Keeping in mind certain inherent concerns which the industry encapsulates, the severe credit crunch is adversely impacting the "Industry".

The fact remains that Real Estate is not even recognized as an industry, although keeping in view that it promotes various other industries like steel, cement & more. It is argued that it should be treated as "Priority Sector". This will help the sector with better availability of funds. FDI & ECB norms should also be relaxed in the coming budget to ease in fund availability.

From a tax perspective the budget should extend the tax holidays u/s 80IB for integrated townships. The deduction on interest on loan repayment by individuals also needs to be hiked.

From an indirect tax perspective budget should address abolition of service tax for residential apartment below a logical threshold. Presence of real estate sector can be gauged by the fact that 5% of the global carbon emissions are attributable to this sector. It is only fair for real estate to get its due share in forthcoming budget.

Besides covering R&D expenditure, Government should also think about helping companies to enable them to take their new inventions to the global markets. This could be done in the form of additional benefits during post R&D and pre-launch stage.

IPR taxation is another area where India has yet to take any initiative. Many European Countries have 'Patent Box' schemes to provide special status to income from patents. It is high time India should take a plunge on something like that.

Apart from this, the fiscal incentives in Baddi have helped a great degree to bring a lot of pharma units in the state. The benefits u/s 80-IC have a sunset clause of 31st March 2012. Government can consider extending the same.

The substantial expansion clause in the section can be relaxed a bit to help small companies. As of now, there are no income tax benefits to exporters and since pharma industry contributes a lot to the Country's foreign exchange reserves, it will be good to reinstate certain benefits like the erstwhile deduction under section 80HHC.

Surcharge and Education Cess were meant to be a temporary tool for tax collection but have outlived their age. Government should remove these to bring rationality into the tax structure. Further, MAT rates are very high and impact cash flows of the companies and should be brought down.


Thursday, 26 January 2012

Century Real Estate to set up Rs 100 crore VC Fund

Bangalore-based possessions firm Century Real Estate Holdings is setting up a scheme capital fund with a corpus of around Rs 100 crore

real estate

Century will initially raise money from family and friends and later tap the larger investor community, said a person familiar with the development.

The fund will invest in pre-development of land owned by Century across south India, where the real estate company will have control over development rights.

Century declined to comment on the proposed fund. Further details on the fund were not immediately available.

Last year, the developer had raised Rs 370 crore in three tranches through non-convertible debentures from Kotak Realty Fund and JM Financial, a non-banking finance company. The company had also raised around $200-million from Goldman Sachs during the slowdown of 2008-09.