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Comments (36)

Apr 9, 2014 - 6:16pm

JDS is Michael Stern. He did a couple of very successful projects in New York during '10-'11 (particularly Walker Tower, a residential conversion of an old phone hotel in the West Village that achieved very big numbers), and is very active in residential development right now. Starwood has been his eqity partner on a lot of his deals. You'll learn a lot about development in New York, probably won't make very much money, might work in a dysfunctional/crazy environment (haven't heard anything first hand, just conjecture based on the way most developers run their organizations), and should have decent exit opps to other developers and investment shops that do a lot in New York.

Only caution is that he's only gotten into the big time recently, so definitely not an institutional guy.

Apr 9, 2014 - 11:57pm

can you be more specific regarding the exit opps in this role? I work for a small shop similar to the reputation that JDS has and similar role as well. Youre right that money isnt that great but the exposure you get while working for a lean shop is tremendous. I am on broker calls, run acquisition models and sit in on developement/budget meetings.

Dec 21, 2019 - 1:45am

What's the reputation he has in NYC? Anything changed since 2014 with 111 57th and everything surrounding that?

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Apr 10, 2014 - 5:32pm

I'm on the fund side and have definitely seen people transition from analyst roles at operating partners to associate roles with capital partners, where pay is much better. I'd imagine you'd also be a good candidate to jump to a larger, more established developer/operator (i.e. Related) if the shop you work at is well-respected. If this is the goal, probably best to move fairly early, so you can move into an associate role--above that, deal sourcing becomes more important and you're less likely to have the right skill set.

This really applies to larger operators/developers that do deals with institutional capital (which JDS has become); if you're at a smaller shop I think it's a lot harder.

Apr 10, 2014 - 10:35pm

Thanks for the insight spmotor. I've read up on them and with their most recent projects, they seem to be quite active. How bad do you think the pay is? I thought with their activity, and being in the NYC market that an Analyst's pay grade would be decent.

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May 2, 2021 - 2:24pm

Anyone able to offer an updated view on these guys? From the looks of it, has been pretty active in recent years with large/ambitious projects

May 3, 2021 - 12:06pm

Anyone able to offer an updated view on these guys? From the looks of it, has been pretty active in recent years with large/ambitious projects

They've done a lot of huge projects with a very mixed bag of success.  Some of his buildings are abject failures, some may be modest successes.

Word on them is that they syndicate out pretty much all their equity, which means Stern can take some pretty wild swings and not care if he misses.  Not much at stake for them.  Also, just on the back of the shit they pulled at 111 W 57th... probably not the most ethical or loyal people in the business.

May 3, 2021 - 1:46pm

Ozymandia

Anyone able to offer an updated view on these guys? From the looks of it, has been pretty active in recent years with large/ambitious projects

They've done a lot of huge projects with a very mixed bag of success.  Some of his buildings are abject failures, some may be modest successes.

Word on them is that they syndicate out pretty much all their equity, which means Stern can take some pretty wild swings and not care if he misses.  Not much at stake for them.  Also, just on the back of the shit they pulled at 111 W 57th... probably not the most ethical or loyal people in the business.

What did they do at W 57?

May 3, 2021 - 3:13pm

Urban Mogul

Ozymandia

Anyone able to offer an updated view on these guys? From the looks of it, has been pretty active in recent years with large/ambitious projects

They've done a lot of huge projects with a very mixed bag of success.  Some of his buildings are abject failures, some may be modest successes.

Word on them is that they syndicate out pretty much all their equity, which means Stern can take some pretty wild swings and not care if he misses.  Not much at stake for them.  Also, just on the back of the shit they pulled at 111 W 57th... probably not the most ethical or loyal people in the business.

What did they do at W 57?

Defaulted on the mortgage so they could wipe out their equity partner and then had the guys who bought out the debt and foreclosed bring them back in to finish building the tower.

I am aware that it was legal and was uphelp by the courts, but it's still shady in my book.  My position is that you live or die with your partners - if you the incentives for your investors aren't the same as yours, then you are treading a very fine ethical line.

May 4, 2021 - 8:47am

patsfan947

That is why you will never build supertall condos in nyc ozy

Amen.  If I want that kind of risk I'll go to Vegas and play roulette for a few hours.

Give me my nice boring, 12 story block and plank buildings all day!

May 4, 2021 - 12:16pm

Your summary of the Ambase situation is very one sided. Ambase barely funded the $60 MM of capital calls then had the balls to sue for their entire stake + 20% interest. That's a "partner you live and die with" by your definition eh? 

Honestly you should delete your posts on this topic because they make you look like an asshole. JDS has absolutely hit it out of the park on multiple projects - no one in the business who knows anything would summarize their projects as a "mix of abject failures and modest successes". They are getting 90% LTC on 9 DeKalb, a FOR SALE supertall in Brooklyn. People much smarter than you and I are giving them this financing. Think about why and, when you have an answer, you'll understand the difference between the market's opinion of JDS and your current one. 

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May 4, 2021 - 1:38pm

While I can't comment on if Ozy is right or wrong about how successful they are, I can comment on the fact that just because they are getting 90% financing makes them smart. Lenders do stupid things all the time - the lenders probably feel they are getting paid to lend up to 90%, however, that really doesn't make them smart. It just makes them willing to take risk. We will find out in 5-7 years if they were smart (or lucky). I've seen many deals championed by people 'much smarter than me' and those deals have crumbled. Just because a 'professional lender' is giving money doesn't make them smart - it makes them the person who has the seat that has the capital to allocate. 

May 4, 2021 - 2:50pm

patsfan947

Your summary of the Ambase situation is very one sided. Ambase barely funded the $60 MM of capital calls then had the balls to sue for their entire stake + 20% interest. That's a "partner you live and die with" by your definition eh? 

If by "barely funded" you mean "funded", then sure... what more do you want?  No one wants capital calls and no one should be happy to be asked for one. None of this reflects well on JDS in the first place.

Honestly you should delete your posts on this topic because they make you look like an asshole.

Oh wow, how terrible for me, that being critical of a shady operator makes me sound like an asshole.

JDS has absolutely hit it out of the park on multiple projects - no one in the business who knows anything would summarize their projects as a "mix of abject failures and modest successes". They are getting 90% LTC on 9 DeKalb, a FOR SALE supertall in Brooklyn. People much smarter than you and I are giving them this financing. Think about why and, when you have an answer, you'll understand the difference between the market's opinion of JDS and your current one. 

You cannot possibly categorize 111 W 57th as anything other than an abject failure.  They got foreclosed on, sued multiple times, and are certainly not going to be hitting anything near their underwritten returns.  What in your book is a failure, if not that?  Also... your metric of success is the financing their getting?  Hah.  This is the kind of nonsense analysis I expect from someone migrating over from the IB Forum.  The project doesn't begin and end with the underwriting - you have to make money.

And while I have no idea how intelligent you are, and certainly don't have an objective sense of my own intelligence, merely saying that because a bank is giving over-generous terms to a condo developer we are less intelligent than those underwriters is selling yourself (and me) short.  There was plenty of money sloshing around in 2019, and if Mr Stern's previous track record of construction estimation is any baseline, that 90% LTC loan is probably not quite as rich as it sounds, once the inevitable capital calls come in.

You seem to define "the market" as lenders, which is crazy, because these are the very people who need to give out money to developers.  Their idea of who represents a good or a bad risk isn't always on point, because their bonuses and their careers depend more on lending more than on lending less.  We've seen this story play out before.

May 4, 2021 - 2:57pm

They barely funded the first 4 CCs (meaning they didn't fund their full amount) and didn't fund #5 and #6 which reduced their equity stake substantially. They got asshurt about that, sued, got wrecked in the default process they helped bring about by not funding, and then got owned in court. My info is from closer sources but if you don't know what you are talking about try reading the Wikipedia page first thanks. 

You clearly have no idea what makes a developer successful because you are probably in an entirely different type of business. No problem but I don't feel like responding to this. Try talking to more people in luxury development and you will learn.  

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May 4, 2021 - 3:08pm

Also you're not an asshole for criticizing an operator you're an asshole for not knowing what you're talking about RE: the Ambase situation and JDS track record/reputation.

Why don't you spend a dollar or 2 read the FT article below it will enlighten you a bit. 

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May 4, 2021 - 3:23pm

patsfan947

Also you're not an asshole for criticizing an operator you're an asshole for not knowing what you're talking about RE: the Ambase situation and JDS track record/reputation.

Except, to my point, 111 W 57th is a failure of a project.  You seem constitutionally incapable of recognizing that.  And I seem to have hit the nail on the head in regards to Ambase - they had their equity position wiped out and JDS and Maloney were brought back in.  What precisely is incorrect about that?

Why don't you spend a dollar or 2 read the FT article below it will enlighten you a bit. 

Lol.  Will I be smarter if I borrow $1.80 to pay for the article, even if I can't pay it back?  That's the definition of successfully learning about something, right?  The amount of leverage I take on to do it?  Plus, I'm sure the article headlined "the highs and lows of a skyscraper king" (emphasis mine) is a truly impartial and unbiased look at what's happened.  Always think about where your sources are getting their information from.

May 4, 2021 - 3:37pm

Just as constitutionally incapable as you are as recognizing Walker House, American Copper, or a number of other incredibly successful developments - not to mention what they are doing in Miami which is sure to crush it. Also 111 W 57th is selling, even during COVID. 

The Ambase situation has nuance you just didn't know. You were talking out of your ass. It's ok, we all do it sometimes. You just do it multiple times a day / week on WSO. LOL 

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Most Helpful
May 4, 2021 - 4:02pm

patsfan947

Just as constitutionally incapable as you are as recognizing Walker House, American Copper, or a number of other incredibly successful developments - not to mention what they are doing in Miami which is sure to crush it. Also 111 W 57th is selling, even during COVID. 

Walker House was a huge success.  American Copper.... is not a failure?  I'm not sure how well they did there.  

The Ambase situation has nuance you just didn't know. You were talking out of your ass. It's ok, we all do it sometimes. You just do it multiple times a day / week on WSO. LOL 

Again, says the guy who clearly works at JDS or an affiliated entity?  Look man, what I said was that JDS has had a mixed bag of success, and you're correct, I should have included Walker Tower as the single home run they've hit.  The difference between you and I is that you're taking whatever Stern says at face value, whereas I understand that no developer is going to be honest about their failures.  I clearly didn't miss any meaningful nuance in the Ambase situation, because you cannot even deny the basic sequence of events I described - you merely noted in passing that Stern needed six fucking capital calls and still couldn't complete the building.  That is a failure!  You are missing the forest for the trees.  Who cares that Ambase didn't fund the last two?  What does that have to do with JDS completely shitting the bed on a massive, high profile project?  As I said in my initial post, it's not even a question of legality, no one is disputing that Mr Stern acted legally - what he did was act in a shitty manner.  Either by being an incompetent boob who couldn't estimate his own construction costs, by lying to an investor about the costs to build the structure, by being incapable of staying on his subs (which he admits in his own filings), and finally and incontrovertibly, by screwing over those very same investors. 

Your attitude is everything that gives real estate developers a bad name.  You define success by putting the maximum number of dollars in your own pocket, instead of maximizing project success.  If Stern wiped out his equity partners in order to keep control of a deal, then yes, he's a sleazy operator.  You tried to draw a false equivalency by saying that Ambase not funding a fifth and sixth capital call!!!! is somehow equally shitty.  Can you possibly hear how insane you sound?  I would be fucking livid if my sponsor needed six capital calls to not even finish a project.  

And to be fair, I have no idea what he's doing in Miami.  Again, I don't know the market, so I can't possibly comment on the success of a project there.  I do know the NYC market, and I know they're getting slaughtered in Midtown and don't have the rosiest prospects in Brooklyn.  So... mixed bag of abject failure and middling success.

You clearly don't understand what defines success for a development deal, so I'll thank you not to tell me I'm talking out of my ass.  Unlike you, I don't borrow 90% of my opinions from puff pieces in the Financial Times, so I'm not being suckered in by a professional public relations press statement.

May 3, 2021 - 12:07pm

Standclear1

Their projects are so dope. Mad respect for what they're doing

Mad respect for taking huge risks with other people's money?  Where have I seen that attitude before... must have been, oh, 14 or 15 years ago...

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