In The Press

LOFTY AMBITIONS IN THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY


Thursday October 9, 2008 | Jon Chesto, Wicked Local Blogs

You might think it’s a crazy time to make a bet on the real estate market, with median prices in the Boston region down some 10 percent from the same time a year ago.
   But that isn’t deterring Shuki and Yoni Haiminis, two brothers who grew up in Newton and currently work in the real estate industry. They bought the lofts.com domain name in 2005 (notably before the local housing market started to fall apart) for $100,000 and have recently launched their own Web site with that name. As you would expect, the site is entirely devoted to loft-style condos and apartments.
   The site, which relies on a Multiple Listing Service feed, shows a full range of loft properties in Eastern Massachusetts, from a $2.2 million, 2,600-square-foot home on State Street in downtown Boston to a $129,000, 800-square-foot loft in downtown Lowell. Twenty neighborhoods in Boston are represented, as well as 25 other communities in the state.
   Shuki Haiminis, president of the Boston-based site, says he is focusing on the Boston area first. But his brother recently moved to New York City with plans to set up a similar database for loft properties there. Eventually, Shuki envisions expanding to cities such as Chicago, Miami and  other metro areas with numerous industrial buildings that have been converted for residential use. He says he is already receiving emails from people, asking him when he can open up in their home cities.
   As for that seemingly pricey outlay of cash for the domain name, Shuki says he could easily recoup that investment if he wanted to sell it now. He says he has received several offers already, and believes he could sell it for something in the “seven figures.” But he says he would rather hold onto it and see just what it can do for his fledgling venture.

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