How's the real estate market?
In a word, fragmented.
The planned auction of Felicity Farm - 16 hilly Delaware County acres, brick-and-stone mansion, horse barns and paddocks - got pushed back from Wednesday to June 26, and the minimum price cut to $1 million (it had been listed at $3.7 million), to attract more bidders, says Laura Brady of Concierge Auctions, New York.
"Our family has invested more than $4 million in the property," said Chris Robbins, of Berwyn, whose late parents made their fortune in City Avenue offices and suburban shopping centers. Neighbors include Blossom Hill, an estate of the George Wood family (they started Wawa Inc.). "You could put a
couple of more homes here," Robbins added hopefully.
On the other hand, Philadelphia-based apartment investor Richard Oller tells me he and his New York partner, Jeffrey Goldstein, have raised more than $100 million, much of it from Arab investors, to "buy middle-market apartments in undervalued areas" of the United States.
They've spent $30 million on two complexes in Greenville, N.C., and one in Indianapolis since March.
Prices for working people's apartments haven't fallen much since the mid-2000s, Oller said. "We buy for cash, then negotiate" with banks to borrow money against the newly acquired buildings, at today's low rates, so they can buy more.
They're also buying "fractured condominium" blocks at buildings like Philadelphia's Aria, at prices up to 40 percent below mid-2000s levels, Oller added.
SunGard Availability Services has tapped former AT&T executive Andrew Stern, 52, as its new boss. He replaces Eric Berg, who quit last winter.
Stern, an MIT-trained engineer, most recently headed AT&T hosting and application services. Before that he was chairman and chief executive of USinternetworking Inc., which AT&T bought in 2006.
SunGard Availability employs about 2,500, down 100 from this time last year. The business, which operates data centers around the United States, faces competition from cheaper online system protection. Other units of Wayne-based SunGard sell financial, school, and government systems.
Delaware is giving $1.36 million to Greenwich AeroGroup to help the Connecticut company's $12 million, 78,000-square-foot expansion of its Summit Aviation aircraft-maintenance complex on 550 acres near Middletown, Del.
The company will hire 188 new mechanics and other workers by 2013, Gov. Jack Markell says.
The 50-year-old airfield, started in 1960 by Richard C. du Pont, fixes Boeing Chinook helicopters and other aircraft for the U.S. military, and small police, corporate, and private craft.
In January, the U.S. Army picked South Jersey's Millville Airport, run by the bistate Delaware River and Bay Authority, for other Chinook repairs.
Scott Rothstein, the Florida lawyer and political donor who pleaded guilty to "investing" $1.2 billion of other people's money in phony legal settlements and other frauds, was sentenced to 50 years in prison Wednesday by a federal judge in Fort Lauderdale.
Rothstein's take includes $30 million from former Main Line investment manager Barry Bekkedam's Ballamor Capital, which has been sued by Rothstein victims. Bekkedam says he's a Rothstein victim, too.
If turnover is a good sign, here's two hopeful bits from the stock-picking business:
Turner Investment Partners, with assets of $18 billion, says it has hired veteran portfolio manager Christopher E. Baggini away from Aberdeen Asset Management, of Philadelphia, to run the new Turner Titan portfolio that buys (and shorts) global, large-cap stocks.
Out in West Conshohocken, Boenning & Scattergood says it has hired utilities analyst R. Scott Graham away from Ladenburg Thalmann & Co. to cover Aqua America, American Water Works, and other water stocks. Graham replaces award-winning water analyst Ryan Connors, who bolted back to Janney Montgomery Scott's utilities team earlier this year.