In the early 1980s, in an effort to generate much-needed revenue for the City of Boston to offset federal and state budget cuts, the Massachusetts Legislature passed legislation entitled, “An Act Establishing the City of Boston Funding Loan Act of Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Two and the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority” (the “Act”). In addition to creating the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, the Act allowed the city to borrow up to $75 million and to issue and sell bonds and notes to try to bring the city out of a serious financial deficit, all of which was to be secured by the levy of several new taxes.

Continue Reading The Funding Loan Act of 1982 and the Origins of “Tregor Stamps”

A recent article I co-authored and published in the New York Law Journal recaps and highlights the key takeaways in the federal district court’s decision in Cohen v. G&M Realty L.P. (E.D.N.Y, Feb. 18, 2018), relating to the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA) and the street art on a group of buildings known as “5Pointz” in Long Island City, New York.

Continue Reading 5Pointz and the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990

On July 27, 2017, the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority announced, without specifying a replacement, that it would phase-out the London Interbank Offer Rate (LIBOR) by the end of 2021. LIBOR, a rate measured by short-term borrowing among large banks, has for decades been the reference rate underlying trillions of dollars’ worth of global financial transactions. In real estate, LIBOR is common among floating rate loans, where interest on loan proceeds often accrues at LIBOR plus a spread. However, volatility during the 2007-08 financial crisis, manipulation scandals, and a scarcity of transactions on which LIBOR is based have hurt LIBOR’s relevance, hence the need for a replacement.

Continue Reading LIBOR Phase Out: Important Considerations for Negotiating Loan Documents

Following the acquisition or financing of a property, most parties to the transaction are happy to circulate the “Congratulations!” missives as soon as the closing has occurred – the seller has their proceeds, the buyer/borrower has their property and/or the loan funds, and the prior financing(s) have been paid off… but the champagne corks shouldn’t be popped quite yet. There is one crucial post-closing item that too often gets overlooked and, if not addressed, can cause headaches rivaling a hangover down the line – recording the satisfaction or discharge of mortgage.

Continue Reading Failing to File a Satisfaction of Mortgage – The Afterthought That Can Haunt Your Property…

Blockchains, best known as the technology behind digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, are beginning to be implemented in a variety of commercial applications. The technology is attracting not only financial institutions and stock exchanges, but fields as disparate as the music, diamond, healthcare, insurance, and shipping industries. The possible benefits of an organized, structured, secure, and efficient data management system that blockchain technology may be able to provide has also led governments and private companies to begin to explore using blockchains as a replacement for the current land title record systems used around the world.

Continue Reading Blockchains and Land Title Records

California usury law is addressed in multiple places: the California Constitution, statutes, case law, and initiative measures. Due to the patchwork nature of this body of law, differing interpretations and ambiguity are commonplace. In one recent case currently on appeal, the Ninth Circuit has asked the California Supreme Court to clarify California law in order to resolve a split in the federal district courts around the obligation of lenders that are otherwise exempt from California usury limitations to disclose compound interest terms as part of a lending transaction. The determinations of the California Supreme Court are likely to impact existing and future commercial loans governed by California law.

Continue Reading California Usury Law: A Search for Clarity around Compound Interest

Data centers are the twenty-first century nexus between the commercial real estate and telecommunication business sectors. Owners, operators and developers of data centers face the difficult task of continually adapting to the rapidly evolving priorities of their ever expanding clientele in order to remain competitive and appealing to the largest number of actual and potential consumers. Cryptocurrencies based on Blockchain-secured transactions have been thrust into the public eye and have become the face of next generation investment opportunities with the spectacular rise and fall of the value of Bitcoin and Ethereum (among others). This post provides a glimpse into how data center owners, operators and developers can optimize their facilities by dedicating data centers with low overhead (achieved primarily by reducing cooling, redundancy and security expenses) to the exponentially growing cryptocurrency mining industry. A full length article will follow this post in the next few months with a more detailed analysis of the vastly contrasting needs of digital vaults or wallets storing coins of cryptocurrency.

Continue Reading Optimizing Data Centers to Meet the Needs of Cryptocurrency Miners

Enacted by Congress in 1930 and revised in 1984, the Perishable Agriculture Commodities Act (PACA) protects sellers of perishable agricultural commodities, defined as “fresh fruits and fresh vegetables of every kind and character whether or not frozen or packed in ice, and cherries in brine as defined by the Secretary of Agriculture” by subjecting a “merchant, dealer or broker” of perishable produce to a trust on the proceeds on the sale of perishable produce, and products derived from that produce, for the benefit of all unpaid suppliers and sellers (a “PACA Lien”).

Continue Reading How Do You Like Them Apples? PACA and Your Property

On February 12, 2018, President Donald Trump released his fiscal year 2019 budget proposal entitled “An American Budget.” Though Congress will not implement the proposal in its entirety, it still demonstrates what the Trump Administration would like to see prioritized in the coming year, which does not include climate change research. President Trump’s proposal would cut the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s climate research by more than one third, which would include cutting research into sea level rise.

Continue Reading Cities and Developers Must Prepare for Climate Change Now

Previously on this blog, my colleagues posed the question to commercial landlords, “Do you know who’s working in your building?” In this post, I look at a different aspect of the sharing economy—residential short-term rentals (STRs, for short)—and ask, “Do you know who’s living in your apartment?”

Continue Reading The Rise of Short-Term Apartment Rentals: Concerns and Opportunities for Multifamily Owners