Property Grunt

Monday, December 17, 2007

Roll Call: An Al Bundy Christmas edition

You better hope she buys some shoes.

The New York Observer did a profile of Sam Chang, Hotel Developer extraordinarie. Sam Chang has been relentless in developing hotels under name brands like Holiday Inn, Comfort Inn and Candlewood Suites.

I had the opportunity to speak with Sam Chang while working on a real estate class project that was focusing on hotels. He was very polite and generous with his time. Of course he was quite knowledgeable.

So how is he so successful? Here is one reason.

“Most developers don’t have the financing capabilities that Sam Chang does,” said Bill Fortier, Hilton Hotels’ senior vice president of franchise development, “so they have to get our licensing agreement before a bank will give them the money to build. Sam doesn’t necessarily need that, so he’ll go out and start building and then come and get the licensing agreement from us after the fact.”

Sam Chang has very deep pockets because all of his money comes from investors from China. Remember my entry on Chinese buyers? Sam Chang is example of utilizing Chinese money for development purposes. So he has the freedom to go where he wants to go.

Recently the New York Times presented an article on a tenants living without heat in the Bronx. Yes. Even in the 21st century, there are places in New York City where tenants are without the basics of living.

Most mornings, their neighbor Latrisha Lowman, 25, comes over to boil a pot of water on Mr. Hardy’s stove because her stove is broken. She takes the pot back to her apartment to give her daughter a bath.

The stove is the most relied-upon appliance. Tenants routinely set their ovens at 500 degrees and leave them on for hours with the door open, even though they are aware of the potential for fire and for carbon monoxide poisoning. “I already know that thing’s a danger,” said Mr. Wren as he sat in his bedroom while the oven warmed the kitchen.

I truly fear for the lives of these tenants because they are not only risking carbon monoxide poisoning but it is also a fire hazard.

And some more bad news on the retail front. Apparently women aren't shopping enough.

Retailers Face an Ominous Holiday Sign

Sales of women’s clothing, a traditional pillar of the holiday shopping season, are unusually bleak so far this year, according to a major credit card company, an ominous sign for the retail industry.

From high-end dresses to bargain coats, spending on women’s apparel dropped nearly 6 percent during the first half of the Christmas season, compared with the same period last year, according to MasterCard Advisors, a division of the credit card company.

Analysts blamed a rough economy, which has discouraged women — and mothers, in particular — from splurging on clothing for themselves and a lack of compelling fashions this winter.

The drop-off, which the credit card company described Sunday as “surprising,” bodes poorly for chains like Chico’s FAS and Ann Taylor, which specialize in women’s clothing, and could result in steeper-than-expected discounts on their merchandise in the final week before Christmas.

The slowdown is worrisome because women make the vast majority of purchases in retailing, and their spending is a closely watched barometer of the industry’s health.

Surprised? Surprised? No one has any f**king money. They are blowing on their mortgages or the foreclosure proceedings. They tapped out all the equity out of their homes and they are surprised that women aren't able to shop? What's the next surprise? Professional wrestling is fake?