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Gilmartin's firm leaves alliance with L&L, will now be MAG Partners; success, or spin?

Developer spins off from partners to launch her own real estate firm, Crain's New York Business reported yesterday, citing the departure of former Forest City Ratner/Forest City New York CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin from L&L MAG, the firm she formed with David Levinson and Robert Lapidus of L&L Holding Company.

And, without any inside knowledge, I'd bet the operative word here is "spin."

“Two years ago, we put together a vision for a new development firm and that partnership has been super successful,” Gilmartin told Crain's. “But we had always planned to get to a point where I could spin off and achieve my goal of leading a new company.”

C'mon, she's always spun things, as Atlantic Yards watchers know. Remember:
The details are murky

So it's hard to tell whether the emergence of MAG Partners is a sign of unmet expectations, or of conflict (Gilmartin and Levinson called the split amicable), or, as professed, a happy outcome.

As Crain's noted, L&L MAG signed one development deal, an apartment building in Chelsea. Gilmartin has been involved in a Long Island City development project at 44-02 Vernon Boulevard, though it's unclear whether L&L will play any role.

As Crain's noted, the alliance with an established firm put Gilmartin to in touch with major investors, like the California pension fund CalSTRS. 

Gilmartin said she now has "the capital partners I need." But she wouldn't detail those backers, or whether she has to pay any fee to break-up L&L MAG.

Update: still murky

In a follow-up interview with The Real Deal, Gilmartin said she's exercising the option she had to leave: “I have the conviction and appetite to do it myself."

She added no details on the prospect for future projects, nor on funders.

Of course, she could be poised for something big.

Or, alternatively, the absence of sufficient projects that could bring in an income stream and justify a nearly12-person staff might have hastened the split.

Note: the L&L MAG web site is still up, while an Internet search suggests that is "coming soon." That doesn't indicate that smooth a transition.