The Creative Process Continues…

17 July, 2009 posted by: Shaun Osher

…… spite of a falling market. I contend that some of the most creative thinkers and innovators have come to the surface with their best work in times that seem dire. Some of history’s greatest works come at times that seem the most depressed. Art and commerce act independantly.

Axis Mundi has designed an alternative to Jean Nouvel design for the Hines site on 53rd Street next to MOMA. While it has received some unfounded criticism for trying to replace an already well conceived design , I applaud this work. This type of creative process is what pushes the boundaries of the ordinary and evokes ideas that will ultimately advance our status quo.

John Beckmann sent me this email today, and has graciously allowed me to post it here below. Read the rest of this entry »


Q: What’s Your Perspective?

14 July, 2009 posted by: Shaun Osher

ANSWER: I think it depends partly on YOUR agenda.

It seems as if every time I open the paper or go online there’s a story about how terrible the real estate market is and how we’re all doomed! Well, the mass media has been waiting to cover this story for many years. Some even wrote about the crash 5 years before the market peaked. Could they have had that much foresight? (See the definition of sar-casm in Webster’s).

Just this week alone NY Magazine published a story about “The Bust of Williamsburg” and The Observer covered the “Condo Doom” of all the supposed stalled projects in Williamsburg and Greenpoint. I know of a few of these mentioned that are far from stalled! The line between news and entertainment seems more blurry than ever.

On the other side of the coin, I find it interesting that the talk amongst my peers seems to be of rebound and exciting opportunity. Some are even Twittering RT@Corcoran_Group CEO Pam Liebman: “In June, Manhattan had 11 deals over $5M. Brooklyn had numerous sales over $1M & several townhouse sales in Cobble Hill” and RT@Corcoran_Group Corcoran CEO Pam Liebman: “There has been a LOT of pent-up demand that couldn’t wait anymore to take advantage of lower (home) prices.” and RT@Halstead Get em’ while they’re hot! Brooklyn Brownstones are flying off the shelf!

I am most intrigued by those who have no agenda. Matthew Barron is one of those people and he releases a monthly newsletter called Perspectives. This month he contends that “the current environment is the perfect time to consider investing in NYC real estate”. Read more here… Perspectives July 09.


West Chelsea – Evolved

07 July, 2009 posted by: Shaun Osher

On January 11th, 2007 I predicted that West 19th Street in Chelsea would become the most architecturally distinct block in Manhattan. The Real Deal was there to cover a guided tour we gave of the high line and our project. (See video above).

It is extremely rewarding to see the dream and vision of all the architects, developers, builders and marketers become a reality. The project Core represented, 520 West Chelsea, is sold and closed, but for one unit (which has a contract out). I consider it the most successful project to date, in a neighborhood that has evolved into a worldwide destination and desirable residential address.

I tip my hat to John and Keith Jacobson for being visionaries, and delivering 26 elegant, understated new homes. I thank Annabelle Selldorf (who I sat down with and had a conversation with) for designing the most gorgeous building in the neighborhood. I also thank the entire brokerage community for embracing this project and helping us successfully sell this building.


Realtime Report Shows Mixed Signals

02 July, 2009 posted by: Shaun Osher

Looking back over the past six months of market activity, it is clear to see that we are in a stage of absorption recovery, yet further price weakness. This has been the fastest market adjustment we have ever seen in the city and it is clear that Manhattan has not been immune to the effects of the national housing market and weakened global economy. The last three months of 2008 had the lowest deal volume for decades, and perhaps historically. Even the post September 11, 2001 market activity decline was brisker than the decline we are currently facing. January 2009 had fewer than 200 new contracts signed in Manhattan, but since then, the deal activity has consistently increased across the board. June had more than four times the volume of new contracts signed than January. On average, the market is selling close to 40% lower than its highs from 18 months ago. In the past six months, we have seen new contracts being signed at consistently lower prices. The weakest part of the market continues to be the luxury market (3 bedrooms and larger) and even though we see a slight increase in contract prices, there are still very few larger units purchases being negotiated. There are small signs of a recovery, but it is unclear if this is seasonal, pent up demand from no activity, or buyers starting to recognize that this is clearly their market, and they are beginning to taking advantage of the opportunities that exist. As prices have continued to decline, there is a sense that we are nearing a bottom, although the timing of a turnaround is uncertain. Thanks CNBC for taking note. Read the rest of this entry »



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