Real Estate Billionaires Who Stand to Profit from Amazon HQ Move, NY

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From left to right: Tom Elghanayan, Fred Elghanayan and Henry Elghanayan. CHESTER HIGGINS JR/THE NEW YORK TIMES/REDUX

These New York Real Estate Billionaires Stand To Profit From Amazon’s HQ2

Amid the news about Amazon’s HQ2 announcement—the e-commerce giant chose New York’s Long Island City and northern Virginia’s Crystal City as the victors of its nationwide search—there’s the question of who in the real estate world is jumping for joy at the new opportunities. That likely includes a trio of low-profile billionaire brothers and real estate titan Jerry Speyer.

The Elghanayan family, which was worth more than $2 billion in 2015 when Forbes last estimated their fortune, traces their wealth back to Nourollah Elghanayan, an Iranian-native who started buying land in Manhattan in the 1950s and 1960s. His three sons, Tom, Fred and Henry, expanded the family business throughout Manhattan and Queens, acquiring and developing iconic buildings such as FBI’s former New York City headquarters and the Carnegie Hall Tower. In 2009, the family split up their holdings amid disagreements over succession plans. Henry reportedly won a coin toss and chose the Rockrose name and a portfolio of development sites and residential buildings; Tom and Fred took the rest, including more than 5,000 apartment units and properties in Long Island City, and rolled them into an entity called TF Cornerstone.

Since then, Tom and Fred Elghanayan have capitalized on New York’s up-and-coming neighborhoods, building gleaming luxury rental apartment towers in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen and in downtown Brooklyn. But it’s their bet in Long Island City that may prove to be the most prescient. In addition to two rental apartment towers the Elghanayans transferred to TF Cornerstone, the brothers have purchased or built four more rental buildings in the past six years, giving them over 3,000 rental units in Long Island City’s waterfront community of Queens West.

In July 2017, TF Cornerstone furthered its move into Long Island City, winning a proposal to redevelop two city-owned sites in Anable Basin, a waterfront district neighboring Queens West. Its winning bid calls for a 1.5 million square feet mixed-use project with 1,000 rental units, commercial, retail and light industrial spaces, and public park areas. Just months later, Plaxall—another family firm that manages over one million square feet of real estate—submitted plans to rezone nearly 15 acres of the Anable Basin into a mixed-use development spanning almost 6 million square feet.

Now the sketches of glass towers and open air parks have been fast tracked to reality as Amazon sets its sights on the Anable Basin. According to the Seattle company’s memorandum of understanding with New York, it has circled the Anable Basin area as its target site for HQ2. TF Cornerstone confirmed that it will partner with Amazon to build out its project. “As a family-owned company founded by Queens natives, TF Cornerstone is proud to welcome Amazon to Long Island City, bringing new jobs to the borough and preserving significant public benefits,” says Jake Elghanayan, a principal at TF Cornerstone and a son of Tom Elghanayan.

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With Amazon planning to take up 4 million square feet of office space over the next decade (and bringing on 25,000 workers), the Elghanayans are in prime position to take advantage of the increasing demand for office real estate and new apartments. With excitement already building in Long Island City, Tom and Fred’s fortune looks to be getting a boost in the near future.

But Henry Elghanayan, who runs his own firm Rockrose Development Corp., didn’t make out so badly either. The former lawyer, whose collection of development sites included several in Long Island City, erected his own luxury rentals near the One Court Square area, constructing nearly 2,500 units across three towers in the past six years. With another building due to open in 2019, and an older waterfront property that Henry received when the brothers split up, his Rockrose will be a major landlord in Long Island City with nearly 3,000 rental apartments.

Jerry Speyer, cofounder and chairman of Tishman Speyer.

Jerry Speyer, cofounder and chairman of Tishman Speyer.GETTY

Another big winner in Amazon’s decision is real estate firm Tishman Speyer’s billionaire chairman Jerry Speyer. Speyer started the real estate giant, which has developed over 167 million square feet of space from Chicago to Berlin, in 1978 with his father-in-law Robert Tishman. Son Rob Speyer is now CEO and oversees the company’s operations. While famous for redeveloping iconic skyscrapers like Manhattan’s Chrysler building and Rockefeller Center, Tishman Speyer has also become a major player in the transformation of Long Island City. The firm claims to be the area’s most prolific residential and office developer and says it will have completed construction on 3.7 million square feet in the neighborhood by end of next year.

A decade ago, the New York firm broke ground on Two Gotham Center, a 22-story office tower just a 20-minutes stroll from Anable Basin. Tishman Speyer sold the completed building to Canadian firm H&R REIT in 2011 but continued on, partnering with H&R and Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund to develop two office and retail towers named the JACX, and three rental apartment towers named Jackson Park.

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Measles Spreads – Monsey, New Square, Lakewood, Brooklyn

MEASLES OUTBREAK GROWS: 40 Cases In Monsey, New Square; At Least 3 In Lakewood, 6 In Brooklyn

The outbreak of measles is growing. The following are the latest updates available to YWN.

ROCKLAND COUNTY (MONSEY, SPRING VALLEY, NEW SQUARE)

The Rockland County Health Department is now requiring more students to get the measles vaccine or stay home from school, as more confirmed cases are reported in the county. The health commissioner said students should stay home for three weeks if not vaccinated to keep measles from spreading.

Two children have been hospitalized – ONE IN INTENSIVE CARE – because of the measles outbreak, and the health department is taking more precautions to make sure it doesn’t spread among students.

As more measles cases are confirmed in Rockland, the health department is urging everyone in the county to make sure they’re vaccinated and expanding the list of schools where students should either get the vaccine or be kept home for three weeks.

Rockland County’s Commissioner of Health, Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, announced Wednesday that all schools in the Village of New Square are now required to keep students who are un-vaccinated or under-vaccinated against the disease home until 21 days have passed since the last case of measles is confirmed in the county.

The same standards apply for students in specific schools in Monsey, Spring Valley, and any school with less than a 70 percent vaccination rate. So far, the county has given more two thousand doses of the measles vaccine, referred to as MMR. Ruppert is urging parents to make sure their whole families vaccination history.

LAKEWOOD, NJ

The New Jersey Department of Health is warning residents about two additional confirmed cases of measles who could have exposed others to the infection while in Ocean County between October 25 and 30.

Anyone who visited the following locations may have been exposed to measles:

  • NPGS, 231 Main St, Lakewood, NJ 08701
    • October 25 between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m.
    • October 29 between 2:15 p.m. and 4:45 p.m.
  • Pizza Plus, 241 4th St, Lakewood, NJ 08701 on October 28 between 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

The Department is working in collaboration with the Ocean County Health Department to identify and notify people who might have been exposed during the time the individuals were infectious.

There have been dozens of stories published by YWN in the past few months of measles alerts issued by authorities involving Frum people who have not been vaccinated.

YWN published a story two weeks ago about a measles outbreak in New York, with 6 residents of Williamsburg and multiple residents of Rockland County confirmed to have the disease.

The Viznitz Monsey Girls School announced that any child who is not immunized, can’t return to school for 21 days. No “religious exemption” is accepted. A religious exemption does not work when there is a measles outbreak.

Three weeks ago, YWN reported about the Menahel of Breslov Mosdos in Tzefas having been infected with the measles. He was listed in critical condition at the time of the news story.

Last week, YWN published an article where MK (Yisrael Beitenu) Yulia Malinovsky on Monday, during a session of the Knesset Health Committee, blasted the chareidi public of intensifying the spread of measles in Israel because so many of the community refuse to vaccinate.

Measles is highly contagious, so anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of getting the disease.

People who are unvaccinated risk getting infected with measles and spreading it to others, and they may spread measles to people who cannot get vaccinated because they are too young or have specific health conditions.

Individuals are considered protected or immune to measles if:

• they were born before 1957

• have received two doses of measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine

• have had measles confirmed by a health care provider

• or have a lab test confirming immunity

Symptoms include a fever, rash, cough, conjunctivitis or runny nose, and they could appear 10 to 12 days after exposure.

The virus can remain in the air or on surfaces for up to two hours.

To prevent the spread of illness, health officials are advising individuals who may have been exposed and who have symptoms consistent with measles to contact their health care provider, a local clinic, or a local emergency department before going for care.

 

Opinion- Do Better by Yeshiva Students

Do better by yeshiva students

City and state officials must do more to protect the civil rights of these children and ensure that they are properly educated.

By Shlomo Noskow

https://www.amny.com/opinion/do-better-by-yeshiva-students-1.21868910

I am perpetually astonished by how Hasidic community leaders in New York have managed to convince thousands on the logic of keeping young Jewish boys uneducated. And state and city education officials who have the duty and authority to ensure that students are educated have not done so.

Private and religious schools are obligated to provide students with an education that is at least “substantially equivalent” to that of public schools. This is to ensure that in addition to religious curricula, students are offered at least a basic education in topics such as reading and writing of English, math and history.

I recall as a teenager spending 12 or so hours a day in my Hasidic high school in Brooklyn. Some of the time included daily prayers, but the day consisted mostly of studying and rehearsing portions of Talmud and its commentaries. There were no secular studies. No English, no math. Outside of school, there was no time for extracurricular activities. More than 20 years later, the school still operates and, unfortunately, like many other Hasidic boys schools, it still does not provide students with a secular education.

My parents had my best interest in mind, but they acted like cogs in a system, following community norms. Hasidic Rabbis and community leaders set the norms, including school curricula. But the developing mind of a child shouldn’t be restricted to religious studies, regardless of religion.

It is perplexing that wonderful parents who deeply care about their children, allow the educational neglect of their education. Why are Rabbis, who incidentally are well provided for, allowed to deny these children a basic education? Shouldn’t we instead do everything possible to expand their options and better prepare them for the future? Why not have the schools incorporate a few hours a day for secular subjects? Would teaching students how to properly communicate in English and about basic history, science and finance be so detrimental?

Proponents of the status quo say Hasidic boys seem to thrive. That ignores the fact that a large percentage of Hasidic families are dependent on government aid. We are essentially dooming generations to lives of poverty. Why? And shouldn’t government programs, including Section-8, food stamps and Medicaid, be reserved for people experiencing unforeseen events? The programs are not meant to be used as a way of life, the way they are being used by many in the Hasidic community.

City and state officials must do more to protect the civil rights of these children and ensure that they are properly educated, as guaranteed by our Constitution. For years, we’ve watched politicians place politics ahead of the education and welfare of children. It’s time educational guidelines are enforced.

Speaking out in the Hasidic community is not well-tolerated. Anyone who does risks being ostracized or having their children expelled from school. But if enough Hasidic parents make their voices heard, perhaps politicians and school officials would take note. Then we’d be able to compel yeshivas to properly educate children.

Shlomo Noskow, who grew up Hasidic in Brooklyn, is an emergency medical physician in New York City.

Fort Greene Residents to Sue Over High-Rise to Preserve Brooklyn Neighborhood

Fort Greene Residents To Sue City Over High-Rise Plans

An attorney for Preserve Our Brooklyn Neighborhoods will file suit to stop a proposed 13-story building from going up on South Portland.

 

FORT GREENE, BROOKLYN — Fort Greene residents plan to sue the city over a new development planned to go up on South Portland Avenue.

Grassroots organization Preserve Our Brooklyn Neighborhoods will file suit against the New York City Planning Commission in a last-ditch attempt to prevent a 13-story high rise from going up at 142 South Portland Ave., organizer Sandy Reiburn told Patch.

“Our low-rise and historic communities are being appropriated by rapacious development,” Reiburn said, “fueled by a mayor who asserts he’s configuring 300,000 new ‘affordable’ apartments, no matter how unaffordable nor how many generations of New Yorkers will be displaced.”

The property belongs to the Hanson Place Seventh Day Adventist Church, which first sought community support for the 50-affordable-unit complex in November 2017 by arguing the building would bring much-needed affordable housing to the neighborhood.

“They want what the lord wants,” developer Michael T. Rooney of MDG Design, the company commissioned to design the building, told residents in November. “They’re pleading with the neighborhood to stand with them on this.”

Developers initially presented plans that called for 75 percent of the units to be priced at or above the area median income, with rents for a three-bedroom apartment topping out at $3,150-per-month.

The City has since committed $50 million to subsidize the development under the mayor’s controversial Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program, which allows developers to construct larger buildings if a percentage of the units are affordably priced, said the group’s attorney Jack Lester.

Lester told Patch he will file an Article 78 later this week that argues the development “obliterates local zoning while not producing increased affordable housing as promised.”

 

TO READ THE ARTICLE IN ITS ORIGINAL CONTENT FORM CLICK HERE.

YAFFED.Org – Speaks out against Kalman and Yeger

This was submitted to us by a frequent reader and we tip our hats to that reader.

We note that we are posting this without the prior knowledge of Yaffed’s Naftuli Moster.

This post should not be deemed to imply that we have the support of either Yaffed or Mr. Moster, nor should it be assumed that they are readers of our posts.

Please see the video.

Inspectors Accepting Bribes to Speed up Developments, Shocking? Nope.

The Daily News

Fourteen people charged with bribing inspectors to speed up Brooklyn development projects

With new buildings popping up across Brooklyn, some corrupt property owners put a pair of city inspectors on retainer to avoid code violations, the Department of Investigation charged Wednesday.

The two Department of Buildings inspectors were among 14 individuals hit with charges in the latest crackdown on the resilient corruption that’s plagued the building sector in this city for decades.

The two inspectors were paid off by property owners and contractors to overlook code violations such as inoperable exit signs on residential and commercial buildings going up across Brooklyn, DOI Commissioner Mark Peters said.

“Fabricating documents, lying about conducting inspections or about who is doing the work has serious consequences,” said Peters. “For the defendants it’s about expediting the construction timeline. It’s about making an extra buck.”

Financier gets probation for bribing state pension official

In all, 10 property owners, developers and contractors were charged in the scheme, along with a private sector asbestos inspector who took fees to fudge inspections and a master plumber who sold the use of his license.

Thirteen of the 14 were arrested in a pre-dawn sweep. All will be prosecuted by Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and were to be presented in court later Wednesday.

The two city inspectors were paid off with cash but also got free kitchen renovations and driveway upgrades to their private homes, the complaints allege.

Yeshiva Deprives Students of Secular Education and Mayor De Blasio Offers Praise

De Blasio Praised Brooklyn Yeshiva Accused Of Depriving Students Of Secular Education

From: The Gothamist

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Oholei Torah in Crown Heights. Mayor de Blasio praised the yeshiva, which is under DOE investigation, in a letter this spring. (Emma Whitford / Gothamist)

In May of this year, long after the Department of Education announced an investigation into dozens of yeshivas for failing to provide a basic education to their students, Mayor Bill de Blasio effusively praised one of the yeshivas that was being investigated.

In a letter obtained by Gothamist, de Blasio congratulated Crown Heights yeshiva Oholei Torah for “giving its students the tools they need to build solid foundations for their futures,” even as alumni accuse the ultra-Orthodox school of leaving them unprepared for college and a career.

Meanwhile, the Department of Education has yet to issue any findings related to their investigation of educational neglect at 39 yeshivas in New York, and has allegedly blown through several promised deadlines since the probe was opened over two years ago.

At a press conference outside City Hall on Wednesday, secular education advocates criticized de Blasio’s support for the school, and accused the mayor and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña of dragging their feet on the investigation for fear of offending the powerful Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox voting blocs.

“The politics behind this is obvious—the city is absolutely terrified of calling out the Hasidic yeshivas, because the findings would indicate that they’re not even close to meeting state requirements [concerning education],” Naftuli Moster, the executive director of Young Adults For A Fair Education [Yaffed], which acquired the mayor’s letter, told Gothamist.

The letter was included in a commemorative “journal” distributed to guests at the yeshiva’s 60th anniversary dinner this year, according to the group. It will be included in a forthcoming Yaffed report, which alleges that Oholei Torah provides no secular education to its students, in grades kindergarten through twelve.

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“It feels like the mayor just is not even pretending to care,” said Chaim Levin, 28, who attended Oholei Torah in Crown Heights from 1995 to 2005. “It’s like, he’s rewarding very bad behavior. Bad behavior that’s been going on for 60 years of this school’s existence.”

Oholei Torah did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the mayor’s letter, or Yaffed’s allegations. The Mayor’s Office declined to comment on the letter.

In July of 2015, around 50 yeshiva parents, alumni and former teachers sent a letter to the DOE expressing their concern that the Orthodox schools were almost entirely focused on intensive religious studies, to the exclusion of math, English, science and social studies.

According to a report put out earlier this month by Yaffed, the lack of instruction in secular education leaves “young men lack[ing] the requisite skills to obtain employment with a decent income to support themselves and their (often large) families.” The report recommends that the DOE establish a task force to improve education in the schools, and that all funding be cut to schools not meeting state benchmarks by summer 2019.

In response Yaffed’s report, the pro-yeshiva group Parents for Educational and Religious Liberty in Schools [PEARLS] released a statement noting that the purpose of the ultra-Orthodox schools was for “children to receive a religious education that is central to their cultural identity, and that teaches young men and women to become thriving, respected members of the community.” The group rejected Yaffed’s recommendations.

“The vast majority of Hasidic boys’ high schools do not teach any secular studies, zero, not even English,” Moster said in response.

Such practices would place yeshivas in violation of a state law requiring all private schools to provide education that is “at least substantially equivalent” to that provided in public schools. While the city has promised a good faith investigation into the potential neglect, Moster says they’ve missed at least two deadlines that they set for themselves.

Toya Holness, a spokesperson for the DOE, told Gothamist, “The investigation is ongoing and we are treating this matter with utmost seriousness.” She also provided Gothamist with a letter showing that the DOE had made scheduled visits to six yeshivas through the city, and planned to make additional visits throughout the month. She declined to answer a question about whether the department had a deadline for releasing their findings.

According to Moster, the DOE promised to release a report about the schools last summer, then pushed that back until this summer, and now appears to have backed off their commitment to a deadline entirely,

“If the only issue was waiting until after the elections, I would say fine,” he noted. “The problem is what this delay symbolizes: the city will bend itself backwards to appease a handful of powerful Hasidic leaders. If the report does ever come out, I’m expecting them to water it down dramatically.”