200 Chambers Street: architect’s rendering.

If you were to ask lawyers to name some lucrative practice areas, immigration law would probably not top many lists. While there are some elite firms that do immigration law for corporations or high-net-worth individuals (and charge a pretty penny for their services), many immigration lawyers are more dedicated to helping their clients over their bank accounts.

But some immigration lawyers with their own firms do very, very well for themselves. Take, for example, the one who just sold his Tribeca apartment for a cool $3.6 million — to a pair of poker champs, so presumably they got a fair deal.

The buyers might have paid a reasonable price, considering the fabulosity of the unit. But the seller still earned a seven-figure profit on the transaction….

The building in question is 200 Chambers Street, the high-rise condominium tower designed by noted architect Costas Kondylis. Here are more details about the parties, from the New York Observer:

Wall Street is often called the world’s largest casino, but rarely do residents take the description as literally as Steve and Kathy Saraf, amateur poker players whose day jobs involve more quotidian (and, despite their gambling successes, far more lucrative) business and finance jobs. Looking to get closer to the action, the lucky couple picked up a $3.6 million three-bedroom apartment at 200 Chambers Street.

Steve Saraf won more than $150,000 at a poker tournament at the Borgata, and Kathy Saraf won $25,000 at a smaller, women-only tournament.

[The Sarafs] needed every penny of it, as the Tribeca market has seen massive price gains, even since the height of the last market cycle. They had to pay 50 percent more for the 11th floor unit than it cost the sellers — Melanie Feinbloom, an interior designer, and her husband Jeffrey, an immigration lawyer — when they bought it in 2007, the year the building first opened.

200 Chambers Street in real life (not nearly as nice as the rendering, IMHO).

City records reveal that the Feinblooms paid a shade over $2.4 million for the apartment. Cardozo law students might need walking lessons, but they apparently don’t need advice on how to make a killing in the New York real estate market. Appreciation of $1.2 million over six years is quite nice (especially considering that the six years in question included the Great Recession).

In 2002, Jeff Feinbloom and his sister, Sharyn F. Bertisch, joined forces to form Feinbloom Bertisch. Prior to that, Feinbloom had his own immigration firm, which he launched in 1996. He bought his apartment for $2.4 million in 2007, so presumably his first decade or so in practice was quite lucrative for him (unless there’s some family money).

Feinbloom isn’t the only lawyer who has invested wisely in 200 Chambers. In 2007, celebrated entertainment lawyer Allen Grubman paid $3 million for an apartment here. It seems that Grubman’s apartment has appreciated nicely, since it’s in the same line as today’s Lawyerly Lair, but on a higher floor. If #11A, the Feinblooms’ former apartment, is worth $3.6 million, then #25A, Grubman’s apartment, is worth even more.

Okay, enough about the lawyers; let’s check out the lair….


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