NYC Real Estate and Technology

Samy Mahfar's image of construction in NYCTechnology has taken over. This is the age of fast, readily available information. A city like New York, which attracts the best and brightest, deserves just that: the best and brightest in real estate technology.

In the world of real estate, it has the potential to make management and building data readily accessible. For real estate professionals, both on the commercial and residential scale, online platforms help them work faster and smarter. Analyzing trends become easier, market changes easier to read, and thus better advice based on solid information from the data comes more efficiently.

The intertwining of real estate and technology is reaching all facets of the industry, with New York real estate investors pouring $62 million into platforms that will enhance the system for both residential and commercial real estate.

That $62 million is almost 20 percent of the $322.5 million that has been invested in tech companies globally in 2015, the majority of that money–$221.8 million–has gone towards tech companies focusing exclusively on commercial real estate. The remaining $100.7 million went towards companies dealing with residential real estate.

Of the five-hundred commercial and residential real estate professionals polled for the RE:Tech report, about 85 percent of those working in commercial real estate said they were taking the time to understand how these new platforms have potential impact on their business. Overall, 45 percent of those polled believe their brokerage is interested in folding new real estate technology into their business strategy.

And it’s a smart decision to make: NYC-based real estate tech companies raked in $28 million in the first quarter of 2015, and $34 million in the second. One of those companies, Honest Buildings, a management platform for building owners, raised $5 million last month in fundraising. Another, VTS, a platform for asset management and leasing, recently announced its fundraising of $21 million.

“With trillions of dollars spent on construction and building improvements annually, we see an untapped opportunity to realized significant savings and efficiencies by harnessing the power of data and information to enable better decision-making,” said Howard Milstein, chairman and CEO of Milstein Properties and Emigrant Bank, a lead funder of Honest Buildings.

“Honest Buildings technology materially improves efficiency and transparency for owners and developers, while reducing risk for lenders,” said Milstein.

Real estate investment is seeing a surge in the induction of crowdfunding platforms into the industry since the federal JOBS Act passed in 2012. Sharestates, a crowdfunding marketplace, has raised over $30 million since January of this year, and Cadre, an online investment platform, raised $18.5 million. This is a distinctive indication that the business is evolving and adapting to be as responsive as possible to client needs.

Samy Mahfar on Chris Cassidy’s Visit to the LES

samy mahfar

Chris Cassidy, who spent five months on the International Space Station in 2013, recently paid a visit to a number of Lower East Side students. The NYC Center for Space Science Education organized the assembly. His trip was part of the “Spread Positivity” campaign funded by NASA as part of its non-profit campaign available for people like Mr. Cassidy taking time away from work.

About 300 middle schoolers listened closely as Mr. Cassidy recounted his experiences with rockets, Russians, and zero gravity. His audience came from the Henry St. School for International Studies, CASTLE Middle School, and University Neighborhood Middle School – all of which are located in the same building at 220 Street.

The astronaut expanded on his experience launching on board a Soyuz capsule, which is the only way to reach the space station since the U.S. Space Shuttle fleet was shut down over four years ago. At 672,000 pounds heavy and nearly 152 feet tall, the rocket which carried him inspired tons of interest from both the children and adults in attendance. Once in the station, zero gravity sets in and every new astronaut must learn how to complete otherwise easy, daily activities like getting dressed, eating, and using the bathroom.

After eleven years with Nasa, as well as a career as a Navy SEAL, Mr. Cassidy had a lot to share. He spent the majority of his  time in orbit on scientific experiments. Even potentially mundane tasks were made much more exciting by his surrounding. For example, to complete experiments in the vacuum of space, Mr. Cassidy would use a virtual reality robot that allowed him to manipulate objects outside the station from the relative safety within it. He expanded on the mechanics of day-to-day life in space, including the fact that the six astronauts living on the station must go six months without a shower. They freshen up once in a while using baby wipes.

“As I go out and communicate and reach out to communities, I realize how lucky and privileged I am to get to experience it myself instead of having to learn about it through others,” he said.

Samy Mahfar Tenements 1900s Vs 2000s

Top 5 Affordable Restaurants in LES

On the Lower East Side, there are no shortage of places to eat.  Here are a few of our favorites:


5. Congee Village – 100 Allen St @ Broome Street

With an ambiance that resembles if an asian school girl and cheesy antique dealer team up to design a Chinese restaurant, Congee Village is your place.  They also have karaoke rooms in the back that are free with food and drink minimums.

4. Doughnut Plant
– 379 Grand St. Between Essex & Norfolk Streets

Come by and check out “Designer” doughnuts that include flavors such as chai, lime, rosewater, and roasted chestnut.  They change up the flavors every four to six weeks.


3. Dumpling House – 118 Eldridge St. @ Broome Street

Famous for selling 5 dumplings for $1, now with a remodel they sell 4 for $1.  Still a screaming deal.


2.  Libation – 137 Ludlow St. btw Rivington and Stanton Streets

Weekends offer brunch from noon to 5:00pm.  $19 allows you to enjoy brunch and 3 drinks.


1. Essex – 120 Essex St @ Rivington St.

$16 brunch with your choice of a bloody mary, mimosa, or a screw driver.  Also, they don’t keep track.  It runs on Saturday from 10am-4pm and Sunday evening for a sunset brunch.