Well Before Summer, Hamptons Luxury Real Estate Is Scorching

Editor’s note:  Just is case you were wondering how the other half lives….

The emerald hedgerows that are a natural euphemism for Hamptons exclusivity (out here, good hedges, not good fences, make for felicitous neighbors) are hanging tight.

Most of the double-decker dunes that define the East End’s ocean coastline ar


English: MONTAUK POINT LIGHTHOUSE, LONG ISLAND, NY (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

e hanging tight, too.  That unfortunately can’t be said for patches of Long Island, Fire Island, New Jersey and Connecticut, where the extraordinary weather events of autumn 2012 transformed undulating beaches and waterfront homes to sodden pancakes.  On the South Fork of Long Island, where the array of villages and hamlets includes Southampton, Bridgehampton, Sag Harbor and Montauk, agents and town officials say only one home, owned by the Lauder family and precariously perched at water’s edge in Wainscott, drowned in the maelstrom created by Hurricane Sandy.  But erosion is a perennial enemy, and efforts to rebuff it, continual.

Otherwise, it’s back to business bolstering the bulkheads and merchandising the seductive strata of housing stock (from darling shingled cottages to resorts-masquerading-as-mansions), with brokers forecasting yet another pricey summer season.  “Nobody really suffers from Hamptons sticker shock anymore,” said Judi Desiderio, the founder of Town and Country Real Estate.

Harald Grant, a senior vice president of Sotheby’s International Realty, has already rented out an oceanfront house in Southampton for $550,000 for the month of August alone and has a stack of 14 contracts and purchase memos on his desk representing pending sales of $4.5 million to $25 million.  Not to worry: the most expensive oceanfront property in the Hamptons, on East Hampton’s Lily Pond Lane and co-listed by Tim Davis of the Corcoran Group and Diane Saatchi of Saunders & Associates, is still available for $40 million.

Read more:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/24/realestate/another-pricey-summer-season-in-the-hamptons.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&adxnnl=1&hpw&adxnnlx=1364236942-aFd3D8FKOG7ZWJiPOfjrnQ

Search For Answers Begins After Connecticut School Massacre

Map of Connecticut highlighting Fairfield County

Map of Connecticut highlighting Fairfield County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NEWTOWN, Connecticut (Reuters) – Residents of the small Connecticut community of Newtown were reeling on Saturday from one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history, as police sought answers about what drove a 20-year-old gunman to slaughter 20 children at an elementary school.

The attacker, identified by law enforcement sources as Adam Lanza, who once attended Newtown High School, opened fire on Friday morning at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which serves children aged 5 to 10. He ultimately killed at least 27 people, including himself.

Police said another adult was found dead at a related crime scene in the town, which many media accounts indicated may have been the shooter’s mother, Nancy Lanza.

State police said they hoped to have more information by Saturday morning, including confirmation of the victims’ identities.  More than 12 hours after the shootings, police began removing the bodies from the school and bringing in parents to make identifications, NBC News reported.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/local/sns-rt-us-usa-connecticut-answersbre8be034-20121214,0,3298509.story

Mohegan Sun The Latest To Bet On “Dying” Atlantic City

Tuesday’s official announcement that Connecticut-based Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, via its consulting arm, Mohegan Gaming Advisors, will assume management of Resorts Casino-Hotel seems to be a case of not seeing the forest for the trees.

It’s certainly big news that the financially beleaguered gaming hall — the oldest legal casino east of Nevada — has exponentially increased its chances for long-term survival via the newly forged partnership with Mohegan Sun (which is pending state regulatory approval), as well as through the recently consummated deal that will turn a sizable portion of Resorts real estate over to Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville brand. But there is a much larger picture here.

For all the of the “experts’” braying about Atlantic City’s gambling industry suffering a terminal case of competitionitis, the fact is that AyCee has recently seen a large infusion of investments – upwards of $200 million, not including Revel’s $2.4 billion price tag.

If the town were indeed “dying,” why would such big-time outfits as Mohegan Sun, Margaritaville and Golden Nugget expend so many resources, financial and otherwise, on the seaside resort? We can assume the folks running these companies are not completely clueless and incompetent. Which leaves the possibility that the smart money sees a rosy future for Atlantic City as a big-time destination.

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/business/homepage/165482725.html#ixzz23AN6mms6
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Hartford Reports $101 Million Loss

English: The skyline of Hartford, Connecticut,...

English: The skyline of Hartford, Connecticut, USA as seen from across the Connecticut River (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bloomberg – Hartford Financial Services, Inc., which employs more than 1,000 workers at an Upper Macungie Township call center, posted a second-quarter loss on the cost of retiring investments made by Allianz SE.

The net loss of $101 million, or 26 cents a share, compares with profit of $33 million, or 5 cents, a year earlier, according to a statement today from Hartford, an insurer based in the Connecticut city of the same name.  Chief Executive Officer Liam McGee struck a deal in April to pay about $2.4 billion to buy back debt and warrants that were issued to Allianz.

McGee is counting on profit from property and casualty policies as the insurer shrinks life operations.  He reached a deal in April to sell an annuities-distribution business and an agreement yesterday for American International Group Inc. to buy Woodbury Financial Services.

“Selling Woodbury is a favorable sign that Hartford is making progress on its divestiture plans,” Meyer Shields, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co., said in a note today.  “Individual life and retirement plans will probably be more difficult to get done,” and those deals may be necessary to push the stock above $20 a share, he wrote.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/business/mc-hartford-financial-20120802,0,62163.story

HSBC To Slash 30,000 Jobs Worldwide

Banco HSBC

Image via Wikipedia

UK banking giant HSBC is now focusing on fast-growing emerging markets and plans to sell about half of its US Retail Bank Branches (195) to First Niagara for about one billion dollars.  The branches up for sale are mainly in New York and six are in Connecticut.

HSBC lost billions in the financial crisis of 2008; however HSBC reported a 3 percent increase in pretax profits for the first half of 2011.  The increase exceeded forecasted expectations.

HSBC is shifting their focus by expanding in emerging markets and reducing headcount in tougher markets.  A company official failed to give details on specifically where the 30,000 job cuts would be made.

Dollar General: Recession Success Story – Expanding In 2011

Dollar General Corporation of Goodlettsville, TN is actually thriving during the recession.  Unlike many businesses, Dollar General is expecting to hire 6,000 new employees and open 625 new stores this year.  I doubt we will be seeing many other chains announcing such large-scale expansion plans for 2011.

Dollar General operates 9,200 stores in 35 states.  The expansion will add three more states to that list.  Residents of Nevada, New Hampshire and Connecticut will soon be getting stores near them!

The Pottstown area has two Dollar General stores located in the North End Shopping Center and Stowe Crossing.

First Niagara Gobbles Up Another Bank

A First Niagara branch in Cranberry Township, ...

Image via Wikipedia


Pottstown newcomer First Niagara Bank is expanding again.  No sooner did the ink dry on the Harleysville sale that brought First Niagara here…they went bought another bank! 

New Alliance Bank of Connecticut was purchased in a $1.5 billion dollar transaction.  The deal will close the second quarter of 2011.  This will give First Niagara Bank 340 offices, $29 billion in assets, $18 billion in deposits and about 5000 employees. 

In comparison, the Harleysville sale price was $300 million.