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Why you should care about the iStar merger

January 17, 2023 - Why does iStar's pending merger affect everyone who cares about Asbury Park?

The man who controls the rights to Asbury Park's entire oceanfront redevelopment, as lead investor of Asbury Partners, is Jay Sugarman. Jay is also chair and chief executive officer of iStar, a real estate investment trust (REIT), traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol STAR. iStar invested in Asbury Partners prior to the financial meltdown of 2008. When the markets collapsed, nearly taking every major bank in the country with them, Jay's borrower went bankrupt, leaving him the redevelopment rights to Asbury Park's planned oceanfront redevelopment.

According to REIT.com "iStar owns 35 acres, or 70 percent of the buildable land in the Asbury Park waterfront redevelopment zone. iStar's first several projects will account for more than 20 percent of the city's overall property tax revenue."

It is unclear, from this statement, whether the estimate above takes into account the multiple, long term tax abatements iStar was granted by the City of Asbury Park or the advances to cover infrastructure costs.

"To date, iStar has installed more than $19 million in new public infrastructure," said the magazine. Major construction funds were provided to iStar before each individual project broke ground. More than $30 million was raised through bonds obtained by the city, for which the bondholders are to be repaid by condo purchasers through assessments leveled on each. What monitoring is in place for this long-term program?

Since Jay began his Asbury Park project he has grown another investment that he is very excited about. That company, Safehold Inc., he says, is the first publicly traded company to focus on modern ground leases. Its ticker is SAFE. Ground leases, the company says, “...unlock the value of land beneath buildings.” SAFE began trading in June 2017 and, according to the iStar website, SAFE grew to a portfolio of $2.7 billion in 2019. These are pretty lofty numbers. And the iStar 2021 Annual Report cited “exiting (its) legacy and non-core assets and strengthening our balance sheet.” Just what kind of oldies are on the agenda to be thrown out with the new regime?

Alas, last month, December 2022, iStar filed a document with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission giving the details of its merger plans for iStar and Safehold to the SEC.

A digital word search of the voluminous filing did not reveal any references to Asbury Partners or Asbury Park. But we know from the analysts' questions during the third quarter earnings call, and previous calls, some of iStar's major properties here are singled out. iStar definitely has significant holdings in Asbury Park: iStar's re-purposing of the former Salvation Army building into a wonderful hotel and entertainment center called The Asbury, and Jay's dwarfing 17-story Asbury Ocean Club Resort & Residences, which occupies the old C-8 site. How will those places be affected by the merger? What about the public pool that hasn't been built? Can the city and its army of attorneys explain it all to us?

Which brings us back to the city's recent passage of Resolution 2023-89, another attempt by the city to force Jay and his partner Madison Marquette (MM) in MMAsburyRetail LLC to comply with Asbury Partners' contractual obligation dating back to 2004 to restore and maintain the city's landmark buildings. The protracted delays in completing the required work have exacerbated the hazardous conditions that have closed access to Paramount Theater, the Grand Arcade and the Convention Hall, venues that brought tourist money to the city – and ironically to MM itself.

So it was with considerable dread that Asbury Radio read of the bright new plans Jay Sugarman has floated, plans well-supported by more than a billion dollars in credit commitments from lenders to help turn his focus toward “revolutionizing real estate ownership through ground leasing.” Of course, lots of credit can become lots of debt, too. Will billions in debt be this round of developers' excuse for not fulfilling their contractual obligations?

A stock analyst on the sparsely attended earnings call, Matthew Howlett with B. Riley Securities, brought up the only direct press mention of Asbury Park. “I get lots of questions on Asbury Park,” he told Sugarman and his Chief Financial Officer Jason Fooks.

I tried most of today to contact Howlett, because I'd like to hear the questions he got and I have lots of questions, too. And I'd like to hear from others reading my posts on Facebook and on AsburyRadio.com. I have started a new e-mail for that purpose, AsburyRadio at MaureenNevin.com.

Tell me, please, what Jay considers legacy and non-core assets? The Casino building that Woody Allen paid homage to in his Stardust Memories? The Carousel House? Convention Hall and the Paramount Theater? The heating plant? Asbury Park was such a beacon of style that it attracted the finest architects –- Whitney Warren and Charles Delevan Wetmore, who designed Grand Central Station! I really thought Harvard-and-Princeton-educated Mr. Jay Sugarman would recognize our treasures and seize this moment!


iStar to Merge with Sugarman's Prized Safehold

January 11, 2023 - from AsburyRadio

Where does that leave Asbury Park's cherished landmark buildings? Who owns Asbury Partners and all the redevelopment rights to the City's Atlantic Ocean Waterfront?

From TipRanks.com:

iStar announced the initial public filing of a Form 10 registration statement with the U.S. SEC. The Registration Statement relates to the planned spin-off of Star Holdings in connection with the previously announced proposed merger between iStar and Safehold Inc. The Registration Statement, which was filed on December 16, 2022, includes preliminary information regarding the potential spin-off.

Published first on TheFly

Dec 19, 2022, 04:12 PM

For years AsburyRadio has been asking why iStar, the lone investor remaining of Asbury Partners, LLC, holder of all the redevelopment rights on the one-mile oceanfront of Asbury Park, has been filing SEC forms that appeared to be documenting the transfers or sales of its shares of AsburyPartners. Jay Sugarman, the head of iStar, posted his preference to finish his projects in Asbury Park ASAP and devote all his time to his new love - ground leasing - right on his web page. But when asked repeatedly for the Council's impressions, inquirers got no response.

Now the reason for those filings seems obvious. Daddy Warbucks must be pulling out kids.

Tonight (Jan. 11, 2023) the council plans to pass Resolution #2023-89 to hold iStar - Asbury Partners and Madison Asbury Retail, LLC in default for failures to comply with the structural needs of even more of the oceanfront's landmark buildings than the ones it cited in a similar default resolution last year. Resolutions expire and must be reissued to stay in force.

The Asbury Park Reporter is now live streaming public council meetings on its Facebook page. The record of the Jan. 11, 2023 meeting will be posted as soon as possible.


5/24/2022 Podcast:
Millions for Low Rent Housing Squandered

Clip from 5/24/2022 Podcast:
City Hasn't Called Tenant Since the Story Broke

Clip from 5/24/2022 Podcast:
Landlords Get Fix-up Money, Renters Get Dumped


CLICK HERE TO READ MAUREEN'S BLOG


MAKE MY CHRISTMAS

Just printed my first book, a pocket-sized, dark humor novella titled "Make My Christmas." Number one in my Flying Books series, a fast read and perfect length for a flight to visit the family units. It's been available as an eBook for several years. Time enough to gather nice reviews on Amazon. Available in print from Lulu.com.


Is the Convention Hall Complex Safe?

You may have seen or heard about the cancellation of events at Asbury Park's Convention Hall and Paramount Theatre.

We've provided an in-depth exploration of some of the background involving the complex and details about a number of ongoing issues at the waterfront in posts which are available for you to read at our Asbury Radio blog.


City Council Election Podcast

All seven city council candidates seeking three seats up for election this November have agreed to be interviewed by journalist Maureen Nevin on her video podcast, Asbury Radio – The Podcast, over Zoom at 5:30 pm on Sunday, Sept. 20.

Three incumbents — Deputy Mayor Amy Quinn and Councilwomen Yvonne Clayton and Eileen Chapman — are being challenged by Kerry Margaret Butch and Felicia Simmons, who are running together as a team, and independents Rob McKeon and Arthur Schlossbach.

The format calls for 15 minute one-on-one interviews in a Sunday news show question and answer style. Nevin’s usual one-hour format has been extended to two hours to accommodate the seven individual interviews.

“This is not an invitation for candidates to debate each other or an opportunity for them to present their personal statements to viewers, although we do want to hear their personal, unrehearsed answers to our specific questions,” said Nevin.

For total impartiality, the guests will be called upon in alphabetical order according to their last names.

Nevin, who holds ten journalism awards including a first place National Press Club award, created and hosted the Asbury Radio — Radio Voice of Asbury Park public affairs and music show live over station WYGG 88.1 FM in July, 2000, and later online as well, through November, 2006. The podcast airs and is archived on Facebook.com/APRadioVoice. The radio archive is stored at www.asburyradio.com.


Podcast on Affordable Housing

APRIL 2020 -- Asbury Park has finished its Affordable Housing Plan. It's so complicated that it took eight ordinances to explain. Before the council votes it into law, over Zoom on April 22, I'd like to know how many people feel they understand the whole thing, how many at least understand what's going to happen to their zone and, of course, their questions. If you'd like to be anonymous, please PM me on Facebook/Asburyradio or email me at AsburyRadio@aol.com, with subject: AP Affordable. I'll share the results (withholding names on request) on this blog and on FB/AsburyRadio. I'm also planning an AsburyRadio Podcast on Facebook.com/APRadioVoice to get expert answers to our questions. And, I'll post parts of the plan on here at AsburyRadio.com. Watch and listen to the latest podcast here.


How do banks keep on offering us loans as debt levels soar?
The King of Debt is playing a big role. My latest national story explains.
Read it at DCReport.org.


'Exactly Back Where We Were Before'

FEBRUARY 2020 -- Residents had only three minutes each to voice their disgust for the oceanfront private pool club in front of the North Beach condominiums. Two hours after the first speaker, the last one declared the waterfront "exactly back where we were before" the redevelopment plan of 2002. [READ MORE]


Review the CAFRA Permit


Residents Simmer Over Exclusive Private Pool Club

JANUARY 2020 -- An engineer for Asbury Park's master developer, iStar, returned to the Planning Board to explain his revised findings on how the area north and west of its planned private pool, immediately east of the North Beach condos, would fare through a major storm. [READ MORE]


A Brief Lookback on Asbury Radio - and a Question

OCTOBER 2019 -- Welcome to Asbury Radio! The City by the Sea, Asbury Park, has gained enormous press since my little radio show, then called Restore Radio, first aired over the then-100-watt, 88.1fm, WYGG, in July 2000. Overwhelmed new owners of our Grand Dames of the Victorian-Era called in live, desperate for and eager to share restoration advice. The shows were archived on AsburyRadio.com and went live on the net, so residents who spent weekdays in NYC could follow the fast moving changes. [READ MORE]


How AP Set Building Heights for the Oceanfront

JUNE 2017 -- I saw where Dan Jacobson referred to compensating iStar for Bradley Cove with higher buildings, in his story in the Tri-City News this week. Building heights were thoroughly deliberated over many months in the creation of the city's redevelopment plan, which Asbury Partners had a very active role in forming. In fact, their agreement with the city – negotiated behind closed doors with only the taxpayers left out – became the plan! The norm is that a city develops its plan apart from the influence of commercial interests. [READ MORE].


This is the south/east support for Convention Hall. While I was trying to take the pic (in January 2017), another woman walked up, also in awe, to take her pic. This of course was why the city sold off the beachfront, so the new owners would preserve these landmarks.


MAY 2017 -- So what did you do the other day, Maureen? Well, you could say I stalked Salman Rushdie around the Princeton campus. But that's not actually true. I was trying to get a pic of my pal Doc U with the famed novelist. Wish I had a video of his whole speech. Made me want to run home and barricade myself with my fiction. Thought you'd enjoy this one: "Power wants to control the narrative and writers don't accept that, which puts them at odds with this administration, which doesn't just want to control, but rewrite the narrative."


LISTEN TO SHOWS FROM THE ASBURY RADIO ARCHIVES

NJ 101.5's Big Joe Henry
Big Joe Henry of NJ 101.5 has a special message for Asbury Radio fans! Click on his picture to listen.

New book featuring Asbury Radio guest Angelo Florio

Angelo Florio, one of our most memorable guests on Asbury Radio, was undercover when something went terribly wrong. Click here for our interview with Angelo and to hear the tape he was wearing that fateful day.



JO ANN BIVIANO
September 11th
Remembrance
CLICK PHOTO TO LISTEN


Check out Pat Guadagno and his music

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