Robert E. Dowling

Titles Held by Corporations as Compared with Partnership Holdings - Lessons of the Panic - Real Estate versus Listed Stocks - Stability of Manhattan Values.

A large part of the real estate development in New York City is now being done by real estate corporations. Within the past twenty years, the increase in the number and capital of these companies has been very great, as the advantages of corporate ownership and management of real property have become more fully understood. One of the main advantages of such companies which first occurred to me in operating in real estate, about twenty years ago, was the question of title. The advantages of holding title in a corporation, which would not be affected by death, illness, disability or absence of individuals, as in the case of a partnership, nor by the legal difficulties which any of those associated might get into in transactions not connected with this ownership, made it imperative to put titles in corporations, so that all interests should be protected. As transactions grew larger, the difficulty of financing by individuals or small groups of associates grew also and became a factor.

A number of real estate corporations were incorporated about ten years ago with large capital. These companies have since successfully carried through some of the largest building and real estate operations in the city. I was one of the organizers of the first company, so far as I know, that used the word "realty" in its title, namely, New York Realty Company. Since that time, there have been thousands of companies organized throughout the country, generally known as realty companies. Many of these companies, operating outside of Manhattan Island, are of an entirely different class from those which confine their operations to New York property.