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Skidding on oil

Ed Mermelstein, a real estate attorney who has many Russian clients, said Russian investors have recently shifted away from high-profile, vanity condo purchases and are looking for stakes in commercial development, which can offer better returns than in their own home country. He recently closed several large deals with Russian investors that had been temporarily in limbo after the ruble’s steep decline at the end of 2014.

But Mermelstein said he’s actually seeing the economic situation in Russia help spur more investment in New York. “When the rest of the world is in havoc, the U.S., and especially New York City, is the safest and strongest place to invest,” he said, during a phone interview. 

“I’m on a plane right now going to Russia to meet with groups looking to put money into projects in New York,” he said. 

Obama’s remarks on Russia’s economy dead right: Experts

Edward Mermelstein, a New York-based attorney who works with Russian clients and advises on cross-border investments in the Russian Federation, is currently in Moscow and told CNBC that although currency controls are technically not the law, they are essentially in effect. He told CNBC that his clients cannot get their money out of Russia as of this month. “Clients who manufacture outside of Russia get paid in rubles and need to convert those funds to dollars in order to purchase and manufacture so that they can import more product into Russia,” Mermelstein said. “Today’s issue is they cannot get dollars out of the country, and so cannot purchase new products.” Banks are not processing the transfers, he said.

Global gloom props up dollar … and NYC real estate

“We’re in a strong position compared with the rest of the world,” said Ed Mermelstein, a founding partner of real estate law firm Rheem Bell & Mermelstein.

“When the prices of commodities and currency are heading downward, holding real estate in the U.S. is better than holding the gold standard of yesteryear.”

Ahead of Ruble Collapse, Russian Elite Stashed Money in Foreign Real Estate

Buyers have also poured more funds into New York real estate over the past two months, says, Edward Mermelstein, a partner at law firm RheemBell & Mermelstein who advises Russian investors. “Many of our clients who are active in commercial real estate increased their appetites,” he says. “Now the indication is that their bet was correct.”


Tracking NYC’s co-op sales records

Co-ops are also perceived by some as being more exclusive than condos. Whereas condos turn over regularly, co-ops often stay in the hands of the same families and don’t come to market that often, said real estate attorney Edward Mermelstein. “Most of the buyers along Fifth and Park avenues tend to be there for life,” Mermelstein said. There remains a gap, however. Co-op prices are yet to crack the $90 million mark set by new development condos such as Extell Development’s One57. But Mermelstein said that co-ops would continue to catch up. “It’s just inevitable,” he said. – See more at:

It can get scare being a Russian oil billionaire

Edward Mermelstein, a New York-based attorney for Rheem Bell & Mermelstein who works with Russian clients, told CNBC that this is just the beginning and that “more heads will roll.”

“Anyone outside the circle or in the opposition will be making contributions Roman-style,” Mermelstein said. “The ruble is tanking and I think at the rate gas is going, Russia will be paying Europe to buy it. What a mess.”

Perhaps surprisingly, Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev publicly said this week that the Yevtushenkov arrest could trigger more capital flight as it spooks Russia’s markets and investors.

“The buzz is that there are similar contests with Kremlin insiders and it is very likely that we will see other large corporations being either sold or wrestled from owners by those with close ties to the Kremlin,” Mermelstein said. “The idea is to consolidate power and money as the economy descends into collapse.”

Russian Investors Seek Safety in US Real Estate

…with tensions over Ukraine on the rise, Russian investors are changing their strategies within the American market. That’s according to U.S.-based real estate agents and lawyers who cater to clients from the former Soviet Union.

“The high times are over,” said Edward Mermelstein, a New York lawyer who represents foreign investors in the U.S., including many Russians.

“It’s now mainly a flight to safety in American markets,”said Mermelstein.

Nervous Ukrainian money en route to New York’s safe haven

They are not just focusing on New York, but New York is the strongest center,” said Edward Mermelstein, a Ukrainian-born lawyer who helps wealthy Eastern Europeans invest in New York real estate. “In the media, the city is always portrayed as the safest bet. It also has prestige.”

Mermelstein said he has been speaking with clients on an hourly basis in recent weeks, which is more often than usual. Most of the callers were not from Russia or Ukraine, but from countries like Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan.

New One57 Buyer Tries a Flip

Edward Mermelstein said that he often negotiates deals for investors who want the right to quickly resell apartments, but that this isn’t true for the most expensive trophy apartments.

“At the top end they are not looking for anything other than to be able to say: ‘I have an apartment in the sexiest new buildings in New York.’ “

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Edward Mermelstein Elected President Of COJECO

Sept. 9, 2013, PRNewswire

The Council of Jewish Emigre Community Organizations (COJECO), the central coordinating body in the Russian-speaking Jewish community of NY that was formed in 2001 to facilitate successful integration process of Russian-speaking Jews into the mainstream Jewish community and the greater American society has elected Edward Mermelstein President of the organization.

Mermelstein, 45, is a Russian-American real estate attorney, consultant and developer based in New York City. He is a co-founder of the law firm, Rheem Bell & Mermelstein, LLP, for whom he is a partner. Mermelstein has been named as one of the 10 most powerful players in New York real estate by the Commercial Observer, and is regularly featured in the media for his top-tier deals on behalf of international investors. Mermelstein is an active philanthropist, serving on the boards of UJA-Federation of NY, Russian-American Jewish Experience (RAJE), Manhattan Youth Ballet, and more. Wexner Fellowship has formed a first ever Russian-speaking Cohort that Mermelstein has participated in for the past year.