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NYREJ Publishes Article by Thomas Kearns on Top Legal Developments of 2018 in NY Real Estate

January 30, 2019

New York Real Estate Journal recently published an article written by Olshan Real Estate partner Thomas Kearns entitled “Top 2018 Legal Developments Affecting New York’s Real Estate Industry.” Mr. Kearns mentions opportunity zones, which “grant tax advantages to investors who re-invest capital gains into tax businesses located in qualified opportunity zones designated by the states,” to be among the most significant of legal developments of 2018. “Experts differ on whether using the program in lieu of a Section 1031 exchange is desirable,” he commented, “but there is no doubt that if a 1031 exchange is not possible under the circumstances, the new program offers an alternative manner to defer income taxes on the gain.” He offers the highly publicized 5 Pointz damages opinion as another important development of 2018, in which a building owner in Queens “permitted street artists to paint the façade of his building, only to eventually whitewash and tear down the building…. The court, finding that the developer acted willfully in destroying the works of art [which were protected by the federal Visual Artists Rights Act], awarded statutory damages of $150,000 for each of 45 works of art for a total of $6.75 million.” Of further significance was the 2018 New York City law “requiring apartment buildings in the city (including cooperatives and condominiums) to adopt and post the building’s smoking policy, which also has to now be included in every lease and contract of sale.”

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