In spring 2012, I received a call from an international buyer interested in acquiring an entire building in prime Manhattan. The customer had a budget of $25M and was ready to buy sight unseen as he was unable to come to New York for some time, so he really needed an agent to help guide him. He also made it clear that he wanted a great deal and was intent on negotiating.
I shared with him a number of properties that met his criteria, but he quickly found that it was challenging to get what he wanted between price, building size, or the desired neighborhood. Similarly to what most NYC buyers experience in the search process, he realized that he was going to have to compromise.
In an attempt to think “outside the box,” I decided to look in emerging areas and found him a great deal uptown in East Harlem, an area that he had never considered before. This particular site would allow him to build a new building from the ground up, and the price was so attractive that it made economic sense for him. But my customer ruled it out immediately, saying that the price was too much to pay for the area.
The Real Deal
For the first time in a decade, the asking prices for luxury Downtown apartments have outpaced those in Midtown and Uptown. Walker Tower is highlighted as one of Chelsea’s most desirable developments.
The Wall Street Journal
The Wallabout neighborhood in Brooklyn is featured in last week’s Wall Street Journal. Doug Bowen gives insight into the revival of this area, spurred by bolstered activity in the nearby Navy yard, thriving businesses, and the development of a new mixed-use complex.
New York Post
The New York Times recently published an article written by Nicolai Ouroussof titled “New York City, Tear Down These Walls”. In the article, he contends that there are some buildings, so ugly in nature, they should be torn down. He goes as far as naming the top contenders. (I personally think he missed a few). I am not as bold as he, to name them here, but I do support his overall position and additionally contend that we are seeing some of the wrong buildings built in the wrong neighborhoods. If we look to the successes of the past, we will find a commonality in the architecture being intuitive in a way that it adds, not detracts to the landscape. History will soon show us that buildings out of context with their surroundings will not resonate as well, if at all, with the people they are attempting to attract. Would you be comfortable living in a sixty story building in an historic neighborhood surrounded by six story pre war loft buildings?
New York Magazine published a similar themed piece about Starchitects and their possible added value (or not). I am all for architecture representing progress and being an expression of our society. Hopefully it pays respect to the past and takes us a direction in the future that we can be proud of in the years that follow.
I am one of those financially irresponsible Manhattanites that must have a car. I have parked a string of cars at Pier 40, Red Ball Garage and now at the Automotion facility in the new 123 Baxter condominium. Each garage has cost more than the last.
A friend of mine’s father lived at Lexington and 89th Street in a rent stabilized apartment about ten years ago and paid more for his parking spot in the building than he did for his home! A useful tool to understand garage rates throughout New York City revealed that you can pay as much as $1,200 a month to park on either the Upper East or West Sides. I am sure a number of residents of these areas are paying less than that for apartments with stabilized leases.
As outdoor lots and older garages fall prey to development and parking availability dwindles, skyrocketing prices are sure to remain a reality for those that must drive. Not long ago, private spaces in a few CORE Group Marketing projects sold at unheard of prices. Is the advent of the half million dollar parking spot not far away?
The world at large is flattening and our mechanisms of communication have evolved. Not since the Alexander Graham Bell era, more than 130 years ago, have we seen this extent of innovation. The internet has allowed pioneers to navigate through unchartered territories. Lockhart Steele is one of those pioneers. In a few short years he has created Curbed.com, which has become one of the leading industry (and non-industry) related blogs. Love it or hate it, you can’t ignore it. I sat down with Lockhart in West Soho and discussed his creation, opinions and vision.
The recent brisk real estate environment has seen many young developers enter the development arena, trying to make a statement (and a profit). Some have succeeded more than others. Some have a vision and a drive more powerful than others. Alex Sapir has impressed me as one who’s passionate drive, vision, and tolerance for risk will set him apart from the rest. As President of The Sapir Organization, he is currently developing downtown Manhattan’s two most iconic and largest projects. We met for lunch in Soho and enjoyed a conversation about a number of topics. I hope you find his ideas and story as compelling as I do: