Monday, February 18, 2008

More on Macklowe

This Fortune profile of Harry Macklowe is really fascinating. It highlights the ups and downs of a long career in the real estate business. The story says you either love him or hate him. I don't have feelings either way, but the guy has big platinum ones for the risks he takes.

According to the story:

Now the 70-year-old developer is in the middle of a maelstrom of a different kind. This time it's in the credit markets. Thanks to his personally guaranteeing a $1.2 billion loan last winter, he may lose billions of dollars in real estate, his homes in Manhattan and the Hamptons, his contemporary art collection, and even his beloved yacht. This would be a bitter end to the career of one of New York City real estate's most polarizing figures.
And here I am worrying about a small loan for a start-up company.

They say not to worry about timing the market, but sometimes timing is everything. Take Sam Zell and the EOP deal. Was that perfect or what? Again, the story sez:

In hindsight, Zell's timing was flawless. He sold several months before the subprime crisis unfolded. Blackstone [the buyer and flipper of the buildings Macklowe bought] was similarly lucky. Macklowe was less fortunate. In August, Wall Street abruptly turned off the credit spigot. "There was a game of musical chairs," says Ben Lambert, chairman of Eastdil Secured, which sold Macklowe the buildings for Blackstone (BX). "The music stopped, and there was no chair for Harry."
So what do you do? At first I thought there was going to be a huge deed in lieu, but now it looks like the latest strategy is to sell stuff to pay off the bridge loan. Litigation? Maybe. Hedgies salivating at the chance to win a huge loan to own? Yup. Sharks circling? Millions in legal fees? It'll probably be one for the ages, regardless of the outcome.

 
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