Robert Dankner, president of Prime Manhattan Residential, was approached by Bloovan Prime for an interview about his inside knowledge of the stock market and real estate. He also discusses his business relationship with Jonathan Anapol.
When the stock market crashed in 1987, Dankner was in one of the largest positions he had ever had. That Friday, when the stock market crashed, his position had been locked to its limit and he went home that weekend with a massive paper loss. However, by that Monday, when the markets opened, things turned for the better when his lock limit down position went lock limit up for five days in a row by accident, he says. He'd still be in debt if this did not happen.
Dankner explains that he had to take a step back and re-assess because of the extraordinary circumstances that took place that left him in a lucky and beneficial position. He began to review everything he learned and realized that this occurrence happens in every market and every asset class. Danker says that he does not believe in conventional wisdom when faced with incredible situations like this one.
Dankner is still an active trader and can prove it with six computer monitors on his Prime Manhattan office desk; busily watching the oil markets.
One of Dankner's favorite books that he repeatedly refers to and reads is The Art of War by Sun Tzu. He explains that to every seller there's a buyer and buyer side representation because the people that pay him are the sellers, the people he is working against. There's a benefit to positioning oneself as buy-side specialists because it puts them at an advantage after the disappointment in the 2008 markets.
Dankner finds strength in understanding that history tends to repeat itself and this 2008 market crash was a huge reset. He found strength in approaching the business and examining its weaknesses and working from there and was successful at seizing opportunities that ultimately multiplied. From there, he organically formed relationships with new, smart business who latched on to Dankner because his approach was diligent, deliberate, and guiding.
After the markets cracked in October 2008, Dankner recounts an interview on television with Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. They both reassured the audience watching that everything would be alright but would not happen overnight. There was a shift during the fourth quarter when the lending market loosened up and people began to buy again. Prime Manhattan Realty has done well because they stepped out in 2008 that resulted in the organization doing unbelievably well.
Dankner and Jonathan Anapol work independently of one another. Anapol having virtually no exposure to the residential world and Dankner having virtually no exposure to the commercial lease world. Other than the communication between themselves, they also have crossover when it comes to the investment side of our business because Dankner does a lot of residential investment: people buying units to rent them or conversion opportunities in mixed use properties with commercial entries and residential exits. Anapol and Dankner work with a number of clients together with slightly different objectives. This means their commercial and residential bases generate a lot of synergies.
Dankner and Anapol's relationship, business and personal, is founded on principles of mutual respect and integrity. They tell the truth, if there isn't an answer, they seek it out, and they are both metrics-driven.
From an ethical perspective, Dankner and Anapol's business model is about honesty, integrity, and giving people sound business advice even if that means sacrificing a monetary gain. They work diligently to inform their clients about the changing circumstances in residential and commercial sales--and the metrics that affect them. They counsel clients towards the best deal by exposing them to the good and bad considerations and are not solely focused on closing a sale. They're also in the business of empowering their clients to make the best decision for themselves.
Dankner also represents sellers and recalls a situation where he was skiing and met someone who was desperately trying to sell their apartment. Dankner believed he could help this individual free-of-charge and sent them qualifying information that suggested the apartment was priced incorrectly and that smart investors would recognize this and is the reason why the apartment has been on the market for 44 weeks. As a result of his astute and honest approach to helping people, the property is being sold now. Dankner is not in the business of providing false dreams for people. He's not going to take something on by creating false expectations because it results in bad performance that's doing everyone a disservice and wastes time.
The one lesson Dankner learned that as much as you want to stay on point and give somebody what they want there still has to be a delicate balance. People think they know what they want but then you serve up something that's got some elements and some common denominator that means you can take a little bit of a chance. He always makes a point of doing that now and it was an interesting lesson for him.
Residential business is in the $4m-$15m range but has been involved in the $20m-$30m+ transactions too.
The commercial and investment side operates in the $8m-$40m range but Dankner and Anapol work on much larger deals too.
The business is not exclusive to Manhattan but Dankner and Anapol do most of their business in the city. Most of the deals happen south of 30th Street. In fact, he's seeing more folks in their mid-40s and early-50s who may be feeling the effects of empty-nest migrate downtown for more excitement.
The last four to five years have been good to Dankner and Anapol and they are seeing a bounce back in the economy where there is an influx of foreign and tech money and people making money combined with the balance of inventory for the sell-side. There may be some stagnation because of the election year but doesn't predict a slump in the market. He believes the high-end condo market should reset because there's a lot of inventory in some of the downtown markets. The pace they've experienced is not sustainable and is unhealthy.
The New York and London markets are the only two where investors are rotating money out of other assets and equity markets and sticking it in the ground in Manhattan and London. Dankner believes this is a great move since investors are set on developing new ventures and this means more quality.
Dankner makes a point of separating the two areas of his life, business and personal, because he is getting married soon. He recognizes that he has an understanding and supportive fiance and they have found a way to work it out. When the worlds do spill over into one another, he attributes that to his life's passions--the work he's doing presently.
Dankner expresses his worries related to his personal life: his family and friends especially. He worries about his twenty-something children that are experiencing life in different ways and implement ways to help them navigate the world. Business-wise, he doesn't think too much about it. He deals with situations as they come. Nothing keeps him awake at night.