News


04-18-2014 | Brokers Weekly Press

Bailey House Gala & Auction

Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon, stars of HGTV’s Selling New York and leaders in New York real estate with CORE hosted the Bailey House Gala & Auction at Pier 60 at Chelsea Piers on March 27. The Gala honored the heroism of individuals and organizations that help further the Bailey House mission of providing housing and services for people living with HIV/AIDS and advocating on their behalf. Honorees included: Jason Sheftell, a respected real estate correspondent who changed hearts and minds through his moving articles about Bailey House in The Daily News and whose award will be accepted by his mother, Karen Sheftell, in memory of her late son; longtime Bailey House supporter Betsy Lawrence for her commitment to the success of Bailey House’s new Behavioral Health Center; Carver Federal Savings Bank, for helping Bailey House ensure the well-being of the East Harlem community through Bailey House’s nutrition assistance program; and State Senator Brad Hoylman, State Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez and VOCAL-NY for their efforts to pass the 30percent Rent Cap legislation for people living with HIV/AIDS.
04-16-2014 | Real Estate Weekly Press

Brokers Weekly: News

New York Residential Specialist (NYRS) agents and friends gathered at the Atlantic Theater Company's Linda Gross Theater in Manhattan on April 1 to help raise money for charity.
04-07-2014 | Modern NYC Press

Modernnyc.weekly Featured Listing: 43 Great Jones Street, 4

The elevator opens directly to a private, 2,295-square foot, full-floor loft. This large loft features walnut floors, oversized windows with three exposures and custom architectural details throughout. This 2-bedroom plus home office, 2.5-bathroom home has a grand living/dining area, open gourmet kitchen with walk-in pantry, dramatic art galley, spa quality newly renovated bathrooms and central air conditioning. Other features include: custom built-ins, sizeable closet spaces, washer/dryer, and a private 200-square foot storage room.

This architectural gem is located in a well-managed building with a discreet lobby, common roof deck and low monthly maintenance. Pets are welcomed. The co-op allows A.I.R. waivers.
04-03-2014 | Curbed Press

10 Tiny (But Nice) NYC Studios You Can Buy For $325,000

Welcome to a new feature, Price Points, in which we pick an asking price and a type of apartment, then scour StreetEasy to find the best newly available options around the city. Today's task: $325,000 for a studio.

This $294,999 apartment in a prewar Murray Hill co-op building is pretty spacious for a studio, with a foyer, windowed separate kitchen, alcove with built-in shelves, and two walk-in closets. It's basically got everything but another room, including a skylight in the bathroom.
04-02-2014 | New York Post  Press

Houses of the Week

Yorkville | $2.195 million

Bedrooms: 3 | Bathrooms: 3 | Square feet: 1,900 | Maintenance: $2,866

You’ll have your own backyard — or about as close as you can get to one — while also enjoying the benefits of a full-service co-op. This “exquisitely renovated,” East 83rd Street corner unit features a 700-square-foot terrace that stretches the entire length of the apartment and offers “garden vistas.” Need more outdoor space — the full-service building features a landscaped roof deck.
04-01-2014 | Cielo Magazine Press

Sky High Fifth Avenue

Location: 241 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY USA
04-01-2014 | SCENE Magazine Press

Chelsea High Life: A Park, Galleries and Luxury Shops Attract New Residents

Once a barren neighborhood where meat was packed and transported and warehouses were rampant, Chelsea has revitalized itself in the recent decades and has become one of the leading real estate markets in the city.

“The transformation of Chelsea is a good representation of how New York City has changed in the last 10 to 15 years,” notes Tarek Bendida, a salesperson at Citi Habitats. The area gave way for artists to live in expansive loft studios in the 1990s that eventually attracted some of the finest art galleries in the world. The Meatpacking District, a small section wedged between Chelsea and the West Village, became the go-to scene for night clubs and luxury fashion designers.

Recent projects like the High Line—a public park built on historic elevated freight rail lines along the West Side—have added another dimension to Chelsea, garnering international appeal. “Friends of the High Line was founded in 1999, and with an incredible team of architects, engineers and landscape architects, an abandoned, elevated railroad was transformed into one of the most beautiful and interesting parks in the city,” adds Emily Beare of Core. “Soon after this period, the zoning changed from manufacturing to residential, and Chelsea became home to many luxury condominium developments.”

“What’s considered prime Chelsea has shifted westward to meet the High Line. Savvy developers saw the lure of the High Line and planned buildings with spacious residences and high bedroom counts,” says Gordon Hoppe, a senior vice president and the director of sales at Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group.

“It used to be a a destination for nightclubs, art galleries and flea markets—a gritty city with not many high-rises,” says Eric Benaim, the president and chief executive officer of Modern Spaces. “Now, when you think of Chelsea, words like “cool,” “luxury” and “trendy” come to mind. The flea markets have been replaced by high-rises and the nightclubs by luxury shops.”

High Line for High-rises

“The High Line has been a total game changer for Chelsea!” exclaims Drew Glick, a broker at Brown Harris Stevens. “I’m sure we would have seen some of the development we’ve seen in West Chelsea take place without it but not nearly to the degree of what has and will happen.”

“The High Line has become an instant international landmark,” adds Hoppe. “Some of the world’s most noted architects are designing adjacent properties that reflect the imagination and creativity of the park itself.”

“Thomas Juul-Hansen’s 505 West 19th Street has two towers connected by a lobby built underneath the High Line,” Hoppe continues. “Above, its skylight lets you see the underside of the structure. Residential architecture that is this interactive with the High Line is a first.”

“This relationship with the High Line called for a special and contextual design, which is why the developers brought in Thomas Juul-Hansen, who excels at creating modern spaces that still feel warm,” says Tricia Cole, the executive managing director of Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group, describing the two 10-story buildings under development by HFZ Capital Group. “Thomas designed the buildings in their entirety, inside and out, and he understands how residents drawn to West Chelsea want to live.

The light-gray limestone brick façade with articulated metal and wood windows is the development’s signature. Not only is the pattern of the windows unique, it also affords the residences amazing light and expansive views of Manhattan, as well as privacy from the High Line.”

The West Tower offers three- to four-bedroom residences with one terraced penthouse, while the East Tower has one- to five-bedroom spaces with two terraced penthouses. Asking prices for the building will start at a little more than $2.3 million and swing upward to approximately $20 million for the penthouse suites, all of which include Juul-Hansen’s designs of walnut entry doors, bronze trim accents in the kitchen and travertine slabs in the master bedrooms.

Nearly two blocks north, Kohn Pedersen Fox, a world-renowned architectural firm, has designed 500 West 21st Street between the General Theological Seminary and the High Line. “Though it’s amidst two of the most striking landmarks in the neighborhood, it still offers an incredible sense of privacy because of its lush, landscaped gardens by Rees Roberts + Partners,” says Hoppe. “You can be in the heart of everything and still feel like you have a private piece of the High Line.”

The Sherwood Equities-owned building has recently started to bring its residences to the market with its one-bedrooms listing for about $2.2 million and a three-bedroom with a private terrace for north of $6.45 million.

A bit down the street, 551 West 21st Street near 12th Avenue is preparing to list its 44 large-scale residences on the market. The building is marketed as 551W21, and prices are expected to start a little below $6 million and climb to $17.5 million.

Related’s 520 West 28th Street is also hitting the market with its 37 units. Pricing has not been disclosed, but John Tenore and Glenn Norrgard of Sotheby’s International Realty note, “Famed architect Zaha Hadid has designed this 11-story, 37-unit luxury residence, evoking a futurist Jetson-like vision.”

Tech in the Neighborhood

Though the High Line has changed the real estate and development landscape of Chelsea, several other sectors have also played a role in Chelsea’s continued renaissance. In recent years, New York under Bloomberg has been pushing to attract technology and Internet companies to the city, and Chelsea has been the first choice for many tech giants.

“Lower Manhattan has recently been referred to as Silicon Alley,” says Susan Singer, a representative from Town’s Flatiron office. “In 2013, New York City surpassed Boston as the second largest tech hub, behind Silicon Valley, paying out almost $30 billion in salaries in 2013 with 262,000 jobs.”

“Chelsea has become a cornerstone with large companies such as Google and IAC,” she added.

“Google bought the old Port Authority building on 15th Street in 2010 for almost $2 billion,” notes Glick, referring to 111 Eighth Avenue, a massive 2.9-million-square-foot building that stretches between Eighth and Ninth Avenues and exceeds Google’s Googleplex in California. “Twitter just signed a big lease on West 17th Street for its New York headquarters, and Spotify and AppNexus are among many other tech companies in Chelsea.”

“Every tech firm wants to be in Chelsea, as well as bio-med, media and creative companies,” adds Hoppe. “Google has been a beacon for other forward-thinking industries, radically transforming a neighborhood that was known only for its gallery scene.”
03-31-2014 | Brownstoner Press

Rental of the Day: 521A Greene Avenue, #1

This two-bedroom, two-bath duplex condo for rent in Bed-Stuy is spacious and recently renovated but also ambitiously priced. From floors to doors, the finishes and the kitchens and baths look nice.

The 1,576-square-foot apartment also comes with a large private backyard that includes a deck and landscaped garden. There’s central heat and air conditioning and a washer/dryer on the lower level. But at this price, we would hope for at least one more bedroom on the lower floor. Do you think it will rent for $3,450 a month?
03-31-2014 | New York Social Diary Press

Galas, Screenings, Auctions, and Theatre

Also last Thursday night, Bailey House held its Annual Gala and Auction, commemorating 31 years of providing cutting edge programs addressing homelessness and poverty among New York City’s most vulnerable citizens affected by HIV/AIDS and other chronic illnesses.

Each year up to 800 philanthropists representing the arenas of fashion, entertainment, art and design, media and business come together to give back to Bailey House and amplify our efforts to transform the lives and opportunities of low-income New Yorkers.

At the Gala dinner, they honored the heroism of the individuals and organizations who help further Bailey House’s mission. Their storied auction follows the gala and remains one of the hottest parties in town.

Guests of Honor were Carver Federal Savings Bank (accepted by Michael T. Pugh, President and CEO) with the Rand Harlan Skolnick Corporate Social Responsibility Award; Betsy Lawrence who received the 2014 Arts and Legacy Award; Jason Sheftell (in memoriam) with the 2014 Real Estate Award, and State Senator Brad Hoylman, State Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez, and VOCAL-NY, with the 2014 Rodger McFarlane AIDS Warrior Award.

Hosts for the evening were Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon stars of HGTV’s Selling New York. Gala and Auction co-chairs were John Douglas Eason and Dan Scheffey. Art Committee co-chairs were Laura Krey and Elizabeth Sadoff, and the auctioneer was Toby Unik of Christie’s.
03-28-2014 | New York Daily News Press

Jason Sheftell, Late Daily News Writer, Honored at Bailey House Gala

It was a night of honor for late Daily News real estate writer Jason Sheftell.

Sheftell, who died last year at age 46, was remembered Thursday at a gala for the Bailey House.

“Jason was someone who celebrated New York and who loved life — and we miss him,” said Mickey Conlon, star of HGTV’s hit “Selling New York” and host of the fund-raiser.

Sheftell’s mother, Karen, accepted the 2014 Real Estate Award in his honor. “He had enthusiasm, he had heart,” she said.

A lifelong New Yorker, Sheftell had covered the charity, which helps homeless people with AIDS, for The News and was considering joining its board before his death, said chief development officer Eric Douglas.
03-28-2014 | The New York Times Press

Evening Hours

March 27: Bailey House held its annual gala at Pier 60 at Chelsea Piers. The organization provides housing, health care resources and support to people living with H.I.V./ AIDS.
03-26-2014 | Leverage Global Partners Press

Video Marketing: CORE’s Maggie Kent Shows How It’s Done

In the world of high-end residential real estate, action is the name of the game. Maggie Kent, broker at CORE in New York City and star of Selling New York, is an agent who truly gets it.
03-26-2014 | New York Post  Press

Dream Homes

Upper West Side | $3.3 million

Why settle for the home of your dreams when you can have two? Here’s a “rare opportunity” to combine two 10th-floor corner condo units for a total of approximately 2,000 square feet and capacity for three or four bedrooms. You’ll get 9-foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows and open kitchens, plus all of 10 West End Ave.’s amenities, including a fitness center with a 50-foot swimming pool and on-site parking. Agents: Jarrod Guy Randolph and Chris Dominiak, Core, 212-726-0757 and 212-612-9627
03-26-2014 | New York Post  Press

We Hear...

That “Selling New York” stars Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon are hosting the Bailey House Gala & Auction Thursday at Pier 60, Chelsea Piers. Honorees include the late Jason Sheftell, former real estate correspondent for the Daily News, who before that was a freelancer for NYP Home … that Nest Seekers International and its broker Ryan Serhant are hosting a party to celebrate the premiere of Season 3 of “Million Dollar Listing New York” at Lavo next Tuesday, April 1 … that Lenox Hill Hospital will be hosting its first inaugural Designer Show House of New York, in support of the new Lenox Hill HealthPlex now under construction in Greenwich Village. The show house, which debuts in May, will be at The Residences at W New York-Downtown, at 123 Washington St., with Richard Mishaan and Alexa Hampton as the co-design chairs.
03-26-2014 | New York Post  Press

In Herz Shoes

When Broadway publicist Shirley Herz died last year at age 87, the Great White Way dimmed its lights in her honor. Now Tony Award-winning designer William Ivey Long is using vintage clothing from Herz’s estate in Woody Allen’s musical “Bullets Over Broadway,” currently in previews.

HGTV’s “Selling New York” stars, CORE brokers Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon, are listing her tony Park Avenue pad. The one-bedroom, one-bathroom co-op at 1120 Park Ave. is asking $995,000 and feature restored prewar details. The building was designed in 1929 by George Pelham.
03-24-2014 | Modern NYC Press

Modernnyc.weekly Featured Listing: 420 East 51st Street, 12EF

Experience elegant Beekman Place, full-service living in this five-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom home, with its own private, 600-square- foot terrace and open city views. The well-appointed living room, state-of-the art kitchen and separate dining room lead to the outdoor terrace, adding to an expansive custom-designed layout that is perfect for entertaining. Wide plank hardwood floors, gorgeous wood cabinetry, custom sound and lighting features, wet bar and foyer lounge area add to the ambiance of this cleverly-designed, modern living space. There are two distinct wings of this spacious apartment, currently configured with a south-facing master bedroom, en suite master bath and an office/den with custom built-ins and en suite bath. The north wing has two large bedrooms two full bathrooms and an exercise room. This pet-friendly building features a 24-hour doorman, lobby-accessible garage and a planted roof deck.
03-24-2014 | Voice America Press

Good Morning New York Real Estate

Parul Brahmbhatt discusses the New York City real estate market with host Vince Rocco.
03-23-2014 | NBC4 Press

Open House

Sara Gore hosts this week’s segment of “Open House NYC” from this Chelsea duplex loft at 131 West 24th Street.
03-22-2014 | Leverage Global Partners Press

Social Media Spotlight: 7 Great Digital Marketing Tools for Real Estate

A social media presence is essential to today’s real estate business. Yes, face-to-face meetings and interpersonal interactions between agents and clients are vital, but social media can provide realtors and their companies with more business and networking opportunities than ever before.

Our Leverage partners are actively engaged in social media marketing. By utilizing the wide range of digital marketing tools available, our partners are able to showcase their personalities and reach an even wider range of potential clients.

Check out these 7 great digital marketing tools for real estate and explore how our Leverage Partners are using them:
03-21-2014 | AOL Real Estate Press

Are Open Houses Obsolete?

Listing agents often argue that in our digital world, open houses are a waste of time. The majority of people who attend are nosy neighbors, 'looky-loos,' or other types of tire-kickers. Instead, their argument goes, serious buyers today don't want to wait for an open house. When someone likes a home's online photos, he or she will make an appointment to see the property during the week. So is it time to close the book on open houses? Not at all.
03-19-2014 | Realty Biz News Press

Home Sellers, Do You Place Your Trust in St. Joseph?

Some home owners have long believed that a statue of St. Joseph buried in their yard can help bring about good luck with a quick sale. But a new study suggests that home owners tend to put that trust more in down markets than up markets.

With St. Joseph’s Day coming up on Wednesday, Spread Sheet asked Catholic Supply of St. Louis Inc., which sells real estate-related St. Joseph items, to analyze sales of St. Joseph products over the past five years. The data was then paired with the National Association of Realtors’ median sale price data for existing homes.

Sales of St. Joseph statues tend to rise when the market is down, Lara Traina, director of marketing and Web management at Catholic Supply, told The Wall Street Journal.

For example, from 2009 to 2010, home prices were stagnant and the number of sales of St. Joseph statues nearly more than doubled. However, when home-sale prices began to rise recently, St. Joseph statue sales started to fall.

Phil Cates, a mortgage banker and founder of online store StJosephStatue.com, says, “Our heyday of sales was in 2006, which happens to be near the top of the real-estate market.” Cates says sales have since dropped 50 percent since 2006, partially because of increased competition among other supply companies.

Elizabeth Kee, a real estate professional with CORE Group in New York City, told the Journal that she always carries half a dozen small St. Joseph medallions in her purse and places them everywhere in apartments she sells, from the potted plants to behind the radiators.

“Some sellers get weirded out, so sometimes I tell owners and sometimes I don’t,” Kee says. “If I have a feeling it won’t go over well, I’ll bury it in front of their building.”
03-18-2014 | Realtor Mag Press

Tough Market? Turn to a Higher Power

Some home owners have long believed that a statue of St. Joseph buried in their yard can help bring about good luck with a quick sale. But a new study suggests that home owners tend to put that trust more in down markets than up markets.

With St. Joseph’s Day coming up on Wednesday, Spread Sheet asked Catholic Supply of St. Louis Inc., which sells real estate-related St. Joseph items, to analyze sales of St. Joseph products over the past five years. The data was then paired with the National Association of REALTORS®' median sale price data for existing homes.

Sales of St. Joseph statues tend to rise when the market is down, Lara Traina, director of marketing and Web management at Catholic Supply, told The Wall Street Journal.

For example, from 2009 to 2010, home prices were stagnant and the number of sales of St. Joseph statues nearly more than doubled. However, when home-sale prices began to rise recently, St. Joseph statue sales started to fall.

Phil Cates, a mortgage banker and founder of online store StJosephStatue.com, says, “Our heyday of sales was in 2006, which happens to be near the top of the real-estate market.” Cates says sales have since dropped 50 percent since 2006, partially because of increased competition among other supply companies.

Elizabeth Kee, a real estate professional with CORE Group in New York City, told the Journal that she always carries half a dozen small St. Joseph medallions in her purse and places them everywhere in apartments she sells, from the potted plants to behind the radiators.

"Some sellers get weirded out, so sometimes I tell owners and sometimes I don't," Kee says. "If I have a feeling it won't go over well, I'll bury it in front of their building."
03-13-2014 | Brownstoner Press

House of the Day: 252 Carlton Avenue

This estate sale at 252 Carlton Avenue in Fort Greene is an imposing Italianate with grand proportions and ornate ceilings. The rooms shown appear to be in nearly perfect condition but there are only three and no photos of kitchens or baths. The listing says the mechanicals have been upgraded but the house needs restoration. It is configured as a triplex over a garden rental. What do you think of it and the $2,595,000 ask?
03-13-2014 | The Wall Street Journal Press

Bless Our Happy Home Sale

Traditionally, Joseph, the husband of Mary, is hailed as the patron saint of home and family. Some believe that burying a statue of St. Joseph in the yard helps sell a house.

In honor of St. Joseph's Day on March 19, Spread Sheet asked Catholic Supply of St. Louis Inc., a religious-goods store with three locations in St. Louis, to break down sales of St. Joseph products over the past five years. The data were paired with median sale prices for existing homes compiled by the National Association of Realtors.


In general, sales of St. Joseph statues tend to rise when the market sours, says Lara Traina, director of marketing and web management at Catholic Supply. From 2009 to 2010, when home prices were stagnant, the number of sales of St. Joseph statues slightly more than doubled. When home-sale prices began to creep back up, St. Joseph statue sales dropped.

Catholic Supply offers six real-estate-related St. Joseph items and dozens more statues. "It's probably our No. 1 item in our store," Ms. Traina says. The company says it serves parishes all over the U.S., as well as world-wide. At a high point in one recent year, Catholic Supply sold nearly 10,000 statues and kits in stores and online, she says.

The St. Joseph Home Selling Kit comes with a 3.5-inch plastic statue and laminated prayer card. It costs $6.95—less if bought in bulk. Ms. Traina adds that real-estate brokerages that purchase kits for their agents make up a large part of sales.

Phil Cates, a mortgage banker and founder of online store StJosephStatue.com in 1996, sees statue sales ebb and flow with the housing market. "Our heyday of sales was in 2006, which happens to be near the top of the real-estate market," says Mr. Cates, who stepped down as head of the company last year.
Sales dropped 50% since 2006, partly due to increased competition among supply companies, he adds.

Here is how it works: Bury a St. Joseph statue upside-down in your yard, facing toward the for-sale house. After the house sells, the seller is supposed to dig up the statue and place it in a spot of honor in their new home.

The details are debated. Some say the St. Joseph statue should be buried right-side up; others advise burying it by the for-sale sign for easy retrieval.

But Ms. Traina waves the details aside. "We really do emphasize that it's the belief in St. Joseph and your prayer that really matters," she says.

Even in stronger market cycles, some agents won't give up the faith.

Elizabeth Kee, an agent with Core in New York City, carries half a dozen thumb-size St. Joseph medallions in her purse at all times.

She places the medallions in nearly every apartment—in herb gardens and potted plants, on window sills and even behind radiators.

And for sellers who are on the fence, tough luck. "Some sellers get weirded out, so sometimes I tell owners and sometimes I don't," she says. "If I have a feeling it won't go over well, I'll bury it in front of their building."
03-12-2014 | The Real Deal  Press

10 Real Estate-Related Twitter Accounts to Follow

If used correctly, Twitter can be an important way to share real estate news and trends while building one’s brand. Here are 10 accounts that get it.
03-10-2014 | Brownstoner Queens Press

Listing of the Day: 99-34 67th Road, #3B

This one-bedroom condo is up for sale in Forest Hills, in the Wainwright building at 99-34 67th Road. It’s a prewar building, so there are some prewar features in the apartment, but it looks mostly modernized with built-in bookcases and recessed lighting. The best part about this pad is that it’s large for a one bedroom, coming in at 920 square feet. There’s a breakfast alcove off the kitchen as well as dedicated living and dining areas. So what’s the asking price? $419,000.
03-09-2014 | Curbed Press

Brooklyn Townhouse Roundup: Greek Revival Townhouse in Brooklyn Heights Asks $7.3M

Up next is this huge, 4,100-square-foot townhouse in Fort Greene. The place was built in 1864, and while it definitely needs a lot of work, the historic details are pretty impressive. There are 13-foot ceilings, ornate plaster moldings and medallions, original woodwork and flooring, pocket doors, and mantels, plus what look like some very nice chandeliers. It's asking $2.595 million.
03-04-2014 | CBS2 Press

Living Large: Uncovering Hidden Detail On Sutton Place

Doug Eichman gives CBS2’s Emily Smith a tour of his Sutton Place penthouse listing.
03-01-2014 | Luxury Listings NYC Press

NYC's Premier Properties: 845 United Nations Plaza, 32A

845 United Nations Plaza, 32A in Turtle Bay
$25,000,000
03-01-2014 | Mann Report Residential  Press

Res Round-Up: Maggie Kent

Maggie Kent
CORE

How long have you been in the business?
I've been in the real estate business for 10 years.

What made you decide to get into real estate?
I grew up in the industry. When it came to New York City real estate, I discovered a true passion for the business and love being challenged by the dynamics of it.
03-01-2014 | The Real Deal  Press

@NYCRealEstate: Social Media Status Update

In July, Halstead Property broker Jill Sloane wrote a post on the brokerage’s popular Tumblr page titled “10 things you didn’t know about the Ansonia.” Sloane compiled a list of historical tidbits about the Upper West Side condominium, including its status as the first air-conditioned hotel in the city and its cameo in Woody Allen’s Oscar-winning film, “Hannah and Her Sisters.”

A prospective buyer came across the post and reached out to Sloane. The two are now working together to find a unit, according to Matthew Leone, director of web marketing and social media at Halstead parent Terra Holdings.

“Real estate companies should be like politicians and act as ambassadors of the community,” Leone said, pointing to social media — a blanket term for online community-focused tools such as Facebook and Twitter — as a powerful tool to achieve this goal.

In the last three years, social media has gone from being a bit player in New York real estate to a central component of a firm’s marketing and branding strategy. Most of the city’s top residential brokerages have made big bets on social platforms, hiring dedicated teams to run social media operations, brainstorming ways to stand out with their content and training their brokers in the art of engagement. And the ones who haven’t are catching up fast.

Commercial firms have been slower to the draw, but they too are now racking up followers across many social platforms.

Warburg Realty president Frederick Peters, who pens a weekly blog about his views on real estate, said the posts are a strong driver of business for his agents. “It provides the firm with a particular kind of credibility,” he said, noting that the four-year-old blog gets about 1 million page views per year.

Individual brokers who build a social media brand can also reap rewards. Douglas Elliman broker and “Million Dollar Listing” star Fredrik Eklund, who has about 200,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter and photo-sharing app Instagram, estimates that social media is responsible for almost a quarter of his business.

“There are actual transactions coming through,” he said. “People will comment on a post [showcasing a listing] saying, ‘This is perfect for us!’ and then they tag their husband or wife.”
03-01-2014 | The Real Deal  Press

Real Estate's Rising Stars

It takes time to earn your chops in New York real estate. The learning curve is steep, and the market demands both skills and connections. Most of the industry’s household names, on both the residential and commercial side — with the exception of real estate scions like Jared Kushner, Justin Elghanayan and a handful of others — are at least well into their 40s. But there are always ambitious young guns rising to the top of the industry.

This month, The Real Deal talked to dozens of sources to get a sense of who in the 35-and-under crowd is making waves in the industry. In 2011, we featured the young “Moguls in the Making,” such as Douglas Elliman’s Oren Alexander and Benchmark Real Estate Group’s Jordan Vogel and Aaron Feldman in a similar feature. But now there’s a new batch of players to choose from, so we once again sorted through the prospects and came up with a fresh crop of hotshots.

Read on to find out who they are, and what makes them stand out.
03-01-2014 | SCENE Magazine Press

West Village People

Entry into the West Village is not just limited by its expensive real estate but also the diagonal and maze-like nature of the streets. The zigzags, loops and slanted avenues are enough to make your head spin, and even the most veteran New Yorkers find themselves relying on taxis to navigate the streets. But for those brave enough to venture through the labyrinth, a wonderful world awaits with some of the finest real estate in New York.

“The West Village is a very friendly place, like a sophisticated small town. People actually talk to each other in elevators, on the streets, in the cafés and restaurants,” says Debra Kameros, a licensed associate real estate broker at Douglas Elliman, about the culture and feel of the West Village. The beautiful, tree-lined blocks of historic townhouses and converted former warehouses and commercial buildings have all contributed to the “best possible combination of peaceful and serene surroundings,” she adds.

“People fall in love with its cozy streets and historic, low-rise buildings, and there are so many charming boutiques and restaurants,” says Ariel Cohen, the founder of the Ariel Cohen Team at Douglas Elliman. “In many ways, it resembles London’s Chelsea neighborhood.”

New Developments on the Market

The Corcoran Group is leading development on Village Green West at 245 West 14th Street, an area that blends the best elements of the Meatpacking District, Chelsea and the West Village.

“Most importantly, Village Green West is targeting LEED Gold certification, which ensures that residents will be living in a healthy environment,” says Michael Namer, the chief executive officer and founder of Alfa Development.

The 12-story building initially launched its sales at the start of the year, marketing its 27 residences between $1.3 million and $11 million. Each of the residences achieves an old New York aesthetic with industrial brick facades, iron detailing and black steel-paned windows. Completion and occupancy is slated to start at the turn of the new year.

“Because of the demand for purchasing and renting in the West Village, it is unlikely that we will see decreases in price throughout the neighborhood,” says Erin Stabb of Town. “The purchase of new condos continues to soar, especially toward the Hudson River.”
A few blocks away, the Printing House West Village at 421 Hudson Street has received substantial interest in its recent conversion. Nearly a century ago, the building was allocated to the printing industry and deeded by Queen Anne of England to Trinity Church, one of Manhattan’s largest landlords, to occupy the space. The building was then transformed into residential units in the late 1970s and then again in 1980, with 80 of the 184 units selling over the years.

Myles Horn of ABC Properties, Belvedere Capital Management and Angelo, Gordon & Co bought the remaining units and converted them to 64 one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom homes. The asking rent for the uniquely designed spaces will range from $2.1 million to $6.5 million. The building lacks the common amenity of a gym, but the landlords inked a deal with Equinox to offer its state-of-the-art training facilities, rooftop pool and a sun deck.

“The Printing House just went through a major overhaul. Apartments have been turned into glamorous show-stopping homes,” said Jocelyn Turken of Warburg Realty. “It’s a building with a fun history and gorgeous apartments you can move into tomorrow.”

A short distance away, Greenwich Lane is reimagining living in the West Village with its five buildings and five townhouses centered around a 15,000 square foot private garden off 12th Street. Each of the buildings vary in size—one of which holds nine residences, another has 12, and one even has 58—but all have the same amenities that come with luxury residences.

“Our buyers are attracted to the Greenwich Lane because of this unique dichotomy: the ability to live in a boutique, West Village building but have the amenities of a much larger building,” says Justin D’Adamo, the managing director of Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group. “A resident can live in a building with only eight other neighbors but have the private amenities of a large fitness center, a 25-meter pool, steam and massage rooms, a golf simulator, a lounge, a dining room, a demonstration kitchen, a screening room and a children’s playroom.”

Pricing starts at a little more than $2 million for one-bedrooms and increases through five-bedrooms at $12.5 million. “The Greenwich Lane is at the eastern edge of the Greenwich Village Historic District looking over the low-rise, mostly protected buildings to the west,” D’Adamo adds. “This preservation of views is a significant draw to our buyers.”

Where do you go from the West Village?

It’s hard to find fault in such a desired neighborhood. Similar to the Greenwich Village, gentrification and revitalization has been long on its way with only a few plots of land that have not been developed. “There isn’t a lot of land to build new construction on, and anything that is built will be required to adhere to historic district rules, so the flavor of the area is unlikely to ever change,” explains Turken.

“I think you will see every garage, every run-down house, every empty lot turned into ultra luxury housing,” say Robin and Jeremy Stein of the Stein Team at Sotheby’s International Realty.

The pair further supported Turken’s statement, noting that as long as the landmarks stick to their guns, then the architecture will not change. Some even attribute the growing demand for the West Village to the surrounding areas.

“The growth of the Meatpacking District and the opening of the Whitney Museum and High Line all contribute to the trends we are seeing in this area. People are flocking to the area,” mentions Steve Snider of CORE. “The rental market also continues to be very strong with low inventory.”

“The reality for most is that once they are in the West Village and get settled, they do not feel the the need to move,” he continues. “Where do you go from the West Village?”
03-01-2014 | SCENE Magazine Press

It Takes a Greenwich Village

It is hard to imagine that the Washington Square Arch, which draws its influence from the Arc de Triomphe in France and has become an iconic symbol for both Greenwich Village and New York University, was defaced with graffiti and vandalism 30 years ago. The sweeping changes that revitalized New York in the early 1990s cleaned off and polished its glistening Tuckahoe marble hue and transformed the neighborhood. The area around the monument and Washington Square Park is referred to as the Gold Coast for its Greek Revival townhouses, the decadent condominiums along Waverly Place and the last bit of Fifth Avenue that runs from Union Square to its end on the northern side of the park.

“The gentrification we live amongst was already in full swing by 2004,” remarks Robin Stein, working alongside Jeremy Stein on the Stein Team of Sotheby’s International Realty. “But over the last 10 years, we’ve seen a filling in of the gaps.”

“That stretch along Seventh Avenue, which was once a bit unappealing with ambulances idling, will soon be a very sought-after stretch,” continues Stein. “This sort of sums up a facet of change in the Village: an unsightly hospital, which served the entire neighborhood, along with many neighboring ones, is being replaced with high-end housing, marking a change for the better for anyone looking for a great apartment to buy.”

“Greenwich Village has always been known as the Mecca of the art scene, where many talented musicians, actors and writers began their careers. The population and neighborhood as a whole have experienced immense changes with the construction of many high-end condominiums, making it one of New York’s most expensive zip codes,” adds Emily Beare, a broker at Core. “However, the community still remains very strong in trying to preserve its identity of being a free-living and liberal area.”

With Great Art Comes Great Housing

Pricing is steep, with a simple two-bedroom along lower Fifth Avenue hovering in the $2.5 million range, Stein notes. “Housing in Greenwich Village is comprised mostly of townhouses and co-op buildings, and in recent years, more condominiums have been built or converted.”

“The trend for larger apartments has driven owners and developers to convert multifamily townhouses back to their original splendor as single family homes,” says Lyon Porter, a sales and leasing director at Town Greenwich Village and Town Soho. “The exciting part of this is that they improve on the original floor plans and add floor area ratio wherever possible, so you see town houses with pools in the basement, glass backs and amazing amenities that weren’t even imagined 100 years ago. These can sell for $30 million or rent for $125,000 a month right off Fifth Avenue in the Gold Coast.”

Between Fifth Avenue and University Place, 12 East 13th Street has started its marketing campaign. The building, which was originally built in 1930, had previously functioned as a 45,000-square-foot Hertz parking garage. A joint venture between DHA Capital and Continental Properties decided to convert the entire building to eight luxury homes.

“The building allowed the developers to enhance a beautiful and solid structure with modern and distinctive features,” says Dan Hollander, a managing principal at DHA Capital. “It originally had eight floors, and now it will have 12, after a beautiful four-story glass structure is added to the top of the building.”

The upper three floors of the glass structure will comprise the crowning triplex penthouse. Five of the eight residences, including the triplex, will hit the market this year. Sales are listed in the $7.5-million-to-$18.95-million range for former sets of apartments, with the penthouse hitting the market for $30.5 million. 12 East 13th Street will also house a parking floor, operated by Park Plus, which commands robots to retrieve their cars in 90 seconds.

NYU and the Neighborhood

Calling Greenwich Village home, New York University has had a strong presence in the area since its founding in 1831. The university is one of the city’s largest real estate landlords and owns many buildings in the area, including a freshman dormitory on Fifth Avenue and several row houses for faculty and offices on the Gold Coast.

The school has also initiated plans to revitalize some of its property under a massive expansion plan called NYU 2031. It is difficult to understand the current and full scope of the plan, as every detail of it has been protested by Greenwich Village residents, NYU professors, city council members and even notable celebrities. Opinions regarding its effect on real estate in the area are just as varied among industry professionals.

“New York University brings in over 50,000 students to the community and about 18,000 employees,” notes Beare regarding the university’s contribution in the area. “The community [also] has a strong voice, and I believe they will work with NYU to come up with a solution that will satisfy both parties.”
“The school plays a huge role in the community, and the expansion is going to add a lot of value to the Village South,” adds Porter. “As an alumnus, I believe that they are adding a lot of value in regards to jobs. Judging by aesthetics, the plans look to be the most forward-thinking in the history of NYU’s expansion.”

“NYU keeps the neighborhood honest and grounded, in my opinion,” says Stein. “The entire village would become housing for the wealthy.” A few at the Marketing Directors added to the sentiment, noting that parents have also bought condominiums in the area for their children to live and hold for investments.
03-01-2014 | The Real Deal  Press

Day in the Life of: Emily Beare

The top-producing CORE broker talks about a new wave of South African investors, pre-dawn Central Park strolls and planning two weddings.
03-01-2014 | Luxury Listings NYC Press

NYC's Premier Properties: 241 Fifth Avenue, 20PH

241 Fifth Avenue, 20PH in the Flatiron District
$9,750,000
03-01-2014 | Luxury Listings NYC Press

NYC's Premier Properties: 131 West 24th Street, 5-6 in Chelsea

131 West 24th Street, 5-6 in Chelsea
$5,000,000
03-01-2014 | Luxury Listings NYC Press

NYC's Premier Properties: 419 East 57th, PHAB

419 East 57th, PHAB in Sutton Place
$6,995,000
03-01-2014 | Mann Report Residential  Press

Private Home Tour to Celebrate The March of Dimes

CORE's Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon hosted a private cocktail event benefiting March of Dimes at the home of legendary Grammy award winner David Sanborn and his wife Sofia.
02-27-2014 | CBS2 Press

Living Large: Turtle Bay Home

Jarrod Guy Randolph takes the CBS2 crew on a tour of his new listing at 845 United Nations Plaza.
02-27-2014 | Curbed Press

Which Chelsea Condo Would You Drop $1.85 Million On?

Imagine you have around $1,850,000 to spend on a place and you've narrowed it down to two apartments in the same neighborhood. How do you make up your mind? The answer is simple: you shove them into a metaphorical cage and let them battle it out until one emerges victorious. It's time for Real Estate Deathmatch.
02-26-2014 | New York Post  Press

Dream Homes

$5 million | 131 W. 24th St.

Going up? You bet you are, using the private elevator in this five-bedroom, three-bathroom duplex loft. The central living room has 18-foot, 9-inch ceilings and opens to several multi-use areas. The kitchen is surprisingly “unpretentious,” so no shame in nuking a jar of Tostitos cheese dip while you enjoy all that natural light flooding in. The bathrooms are Zen-sational: Jacuzzi tubs and all. There’s also a double-height projection screen for mandatory movie nights. Agents: Adie Kriegstein and Patrick Lillly, Core, 212-612-9681 and 917-921-6929
02-25-2014 | New York Post  Press

Luxe Listings in New York City: 419 E. 57th St., $6.995 million

This “meticulously renovated,” never-before-lived-in, two-bedroom, 2½‎-bathroom penthouse co-op — sun-drenched, with three fireplaces and panoramic vistas of the city — also features a 1,900-square-foot terrace to better eyeball those river-to-river views. The master bedroom, reached through two French doorways, has a marble soaking tub, stall shower and double sinks for tandem teeth-brushers. Your non-perishable food will live the good life, as well, stashed inside the state-of-the-art kitchen’s St. Charles custom cabinetry, while the central A/C spans five zones.
Agents: Doug Eichman and Ben Jacobs, CORE, 212-612-9661 and 212-612-9682
02-21-2014 | The New York Times Press

On the Market in New York City

Greenwich Village Loft
$2,450,000
MANHATTAN | 200 Mercer Street, #4E

A two-bedroom one-bath loft with a wood-burning fireplace and a washer/dryer in a prewar elevator building with video surveillance. Patrick Mills, CORE (917)657-5607; corenyc.com

MAINTENANCE $2,333 a month.

PROS: Four east-facing windows bring light to the living/dining and kitchen area. Classic loft details include exposed brick and high ceilings.

CONS: The bathroom lacks a tub and needs an overhaul. A partial wall blocks windows in one bedroom; the other bedroom is an interior room.
02-21-2014 | Modern NYC Press

131 West 24th Street, 5/6: Modernnyc.weekly Featured Listing

Magnificent 4,200 square foot duplex loft now available in Chelsea. The home's flexible layout is currently configured with five bedrooms and three full bathrooms. The central living room boasts a dramatic 18'9" ceiling height and opens to several multi use areas, including a library, family room, dining room and kitchen. The use of exposed and painted brick, metal support beams, wood flooring and glass panels creates a warm, modernist space. A keyed elevator provides private access to both floors. The industrial kitchen is massive and unpretentious, flooded with natural light. The master suite has an exercise room, walk in closet and a charming, zen like bathroom equipped with a Jacuzzi tub. Additional features include a double height projection screen, excellent storage options, washer/dryer, and zoned air conditioning and heating. The financials on the building are excellent, with a very large reserve fund for a small building and low monthly maintenance of $1,300 per month. A live/work setup with very minimal traffic is allowed, as are pets.
02-21-2014 | The Real Deal  Press

Priciest, Cheapest Listings to Hit the Manhattan Market This Week

Brown Harris Stevens’ Avideh Ghaffari had the priciest single-family residential listing to hit the Manhattan market this week with a $49.95 million townhouse at 29 Beekman Place in Midtown. The sprawling 11,500-square-foot, eight-bedroom pad, previously home to CBS founder William Paley, boasts eight wood-burning fireplaces, four powder rooms, two back terraces and a spiral staircases. Also tricked out with an elevator to all floors, the home, originally constructed in 1910, was completely renovated in 1996, according to the listing.

Second on the pricey end this week is a $25 million condominium at 845 United Nations Plaza. The four-bedroom residence in the Trump World Tower boasts views of the Queensboro Bridge, a private master suite with his-and-her baths and walk-in closets, a triple soundproof home theater decked out in leather and Maccasar ebony wood and capped off by a Wisdom Audio Sage Series sound system. The Core Group’s Jarrod Guy Randolph has the listing.

Tied for second place this week is a townhouse at 421 East 6th Street in the East Village, also asking $25 million. The 16,402 square feet property, most recently home to the late sculptor Water de Maria, was constructed in 1920 as a Con Edison substation and maintains original interior fixtures from that time. Features include slab-to-slab ceiling heights ranging from 14 feet to 32 feet, multistory warehouse windows, an old-fashioned through-floor pulley system and exposed brick. One of the tallest buildings in the area, according to the listing, the home also boasts views of the city skyline. Cushman & Wakefield’s John LiGreci has the listing.

Coming in third on the pricey end this week is a $19.75 million co-op at 239 Central Park West on the Upper West Side. Spanning 5,135-square-feet, this six-bedroom duplex boasts a formal dining room with a wood burning fireplace, eat-in chef’s kitchen, media room, library and two extra-large powder rooms. The en suite bedrooms are located on the top floor, and the master suite is touched off with a master bath, wood-burning fireplace and views of the park. Raphael De Niro of Douglas Elliman has the listing.

We head further uptown for the week’s cheapest listing: a $195,000 two-room studio co-op at 80 LaSalle Street in Morningside Heights. Located on the 16th floor of a 21-story building, the property features a separate windowed kitchen, full bath and shower with a tiled floor and closets leading from the hallway entrance. Building amenities include an elevator, landscaped gardens, fitness center, playrooms and child day care, laundry room, parking garage and 24-hour security. Halstead Property’s Mark Lewis has the listing.

The second-cheapest unit of the week is a $210,000 one-bedroom co-op at 689 Fort Washington Avenue in Hudson Heights. Recently upgraded, the unit features a renovated kitchen and bath, while building amenities include central laundry off the lobby and bicycle storage. The Corcoran Group’s Jessica McCann has the listing.

The week’s third-cheapest listing is also located in Hudson Heights at 340 Haven Avenue. Asking $214,900, this pre-war one-bedroom studio co-op is outfitted with hardwood floors, new appliances and high ceilings. Building amenities include bike storage, a parking lot, live-in super and two large courtyards. Douglas Elliman’s Katherine Shindle and Jeffrey Dyksterhouse have the listing.
02-21-2014 | Real Estate Weekly Press

DONE DEALS: Right Place, Right Time

Mark Schoenfeld and Brandon Cohen from Corcoran just closed on their third big sale at Place 57.

Unit 30A in the boutique luxury condo at 207 East 57th Street, has the “feel of a downtown loft but has been brilliantly translated into a state-of-the art luxury condo,ˮ say the duo.

The center-piece is a dramatic triangular living room with 10 ft. ceilings and wrap-around windows.

They offer “forever viewsˮ all the way north to the George Washington Bridge, south to a dazzling midtown, west across Central Park to New Jersey and east to Long Island and beyond.

The apartment has mahogany floors, a gourmet Viking open kitchen, three Waterworks bathrooms, motorized electric shades throughout, and walk-in closets.

Place 57 was designed by architect Ismael Levya.

It’s a white glove building with a 24-hour concierge, a Baccarat Crystal lobby, fitness center, children’s playroom, conference room and a Baccarat Crystal Garden.

CORE’s Blu Kokin set the asking price at $3,995,000 for his seller. It sold after 54 days on the market for $3.91 million.
02-17-2014 | Curbed Press

Trump World Tower Combo Asks $25M After 3-Year Makeover

The owner of this 3,600-square-foot combination in the Trump World Tower describes himself as a "detail fanatic" (probably for the best, as he is a facial plastic surgeon), so when the brokerbabble says the design is the product of a "meticulous renovation," it's no exaggeration. The Times details the three-year makeover, which combined two units to make a 95-foot long home that runs the length of the building. Features include a library with Macassar ebony wood built-in shelves, white crocodile-skin cabinets in the master bathroom, a soundproof home theater with leather chairs by Bentley Motors, and an entryway clad in "custom African ziricote wood panels." The Steinway piano and rare-edition Harley Davidson seen in the photos, plus all of the artwork and furnishings, are also available for purchase if a buyer happens to be interested. Sans accoutrements, the place is asking $25M.
02-15-2014 | The Real Deal  Press

Trump World Condo Asks $25M Following Renovation

A combination unit in the Trump World Tower at First Avenue and 47th Street has hit the market asking $25 million.

The 32nd-floor unit recently underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation that, over a period of three years, transformed the property from a bachelor pad into a sleek modern home with East River views.

“I don’t like cold modern,” the seller, Dr. Sam Rizk, a facial plastic surgeon, told the New York Times. “I wanted it to be contemporary and warm, and for that you need lots of wood and warm colors.”

The four-bedroom, 3,600-square-foot condo features a home-technology system, a theatre and a 95-foot entertaining space.

Jarrod Guy Randolph of the CORE Group has the listing.
02-14-2014 | Lonny Magazine Press

Shaking Up For Valentine's Day

Lonny editors Sarah Storms and Kaylei McGaw share their tips for making this Valentine's Day one to remember.
02-14-2014 | The New York Times Press

Fancy Face-Lift

A combination unit at 845 United Nations Plaza that underwent a multimillion-dollar three-year renovation to transform a modern bachelor pad on the 32nd floor into a contemporary showplace with a 95-foot west/east wingspan, dynamic East River views, and an assortment of futuristic home-technology systems is about to enter the market at $25 million.

The four-bedroom four-and-a-half-bath condominium, No. 32A, in the sylphlike black-and-gold glass Trump World Tower at First Avenue and 47th Street, just north of the United Nations campus, has monthly carrying costs of $8,150. From the living area, the home theater and the secluded master suite, there are unimpeded views of the 1936 Pepsi-Cola billboard on the eastern bank of the river as well as views north to the Queensboro Bridge and west to the Chrysler Building.

On either side of the 95-foot-expanse that constitutes and connects the main entertaining spaces, the nearly 3,600-square-foot apartment has two wings — one for the master suite, to the southeast, the other for two bedrooms and an auxiliary catering kitchen, to the north. On the western end, the library, with Macassar ebony wood built-ins, has an eight-foot-tall window that captures western views and connects to the family room, which has a built-in desk and is dominated by a Steinway grand piano. The 20-by-16-foot living room has picture windows overlooking the East River, a built-in ebony bar, and a hidden television also framed in ebony. The room opens onto a dining area with north and east exposures, and as befits a home with Warhols and Picassos on the walls, the windows have an art-protective ultraviolet tint.

The elaborate face-lift was dreamed up by the seller, Dr. Sam S. Rizk, a facial plastic surgeon and self-described “detail fanatic” who moved into No. 32A in 2002 and five years ago added No. 32E when he learned that an east/west open reconfiguration was possible. “We were able to tear out a bathroom and break through the walls and create something that runs the depth of the building,” he said. Many of the design elements, like the white crocodile-skin cabinetry framed with metal in the master bath and walk-in closet, owe their existence to the unconscious imaginings of Dr. Rizk. “I would see it in a dream and wake up and write it all down,” he said.

The overarching theme of the renovation, which was preceded in 2011 by the eight-month installation of a white 17-by-12-foot Poggenpohl kitchen with Caesarstone counters and floor, was also Dr. Rizk’s idea. He wanted a modern aesthetic, but not an austere version of modernity.

“I don’t like cold modern,” he said. “I wanted it to be contemporary and warm, and for that you need lots of wood and warm colors.” The floors are oak plank, and the 20-by-7-foot entrance gallery is sheathed in custom African ziricote wood panels fabricated by NY Loft. The custom milk-glass-and-Macassar-ebony pocket doors used as discreet room dividers throughout the home were created in Italy, and the leather chairs in the leather-wrapped, triple-soundproofed home theater were made by Bentley Motors, the luxury automobile purveyor.

Dr. Rizk, along with his wife, Carolina, a former model who assisted on the apartment’s redesign, and their 8-month-old son, will most likely move farther uptown to be closer to his office at 1040 Park Avenue. Their next move, he said, will probably not involve another major renovation. “This one was grueling; I mean, we had to move out for two years.” The artwork and furnishings, including the Steinway and a rare-edition silver Harley-Davidson that stands guard in the master bedroom like a sculpture (albeit one that can be driven though it never has been), are available should the buyer be interested.

Another lavishly appointed former bachelor pad at Trump World Tower, this one on the 70th floor near the apex of the building, and with Ultrasuede walls and a billiards/game room, sold for $15.5 million in 2012; Derek Jeter, the Yankees captain (who just this week announced his retirement), was the seller.

The listing broker of No. 32A, Jarrod Guy Randolph of the CORE Group, said the unit had been so thoroughly and expensively renovated that, besides being in turnkey condition, “it is like buying a new-construction product.” The level of the finishes, the attention to detail, and the pristine condition of the mechanical systems and appliances make it “an anomaly in the building,” he said. “It compares favorably to One57, 432 Park Avenue and One Beacon Court, and for a buyer to be able to find something of that level of quality in this neighborhood is very rare.”

And expensive, but Dr. Rizk envisions a billionaire buyer who covets the building’s Trumpian amenities and proximity to the United Nations. “I can see a buyer from Russia or the Middle East taking one look at this and loving it,” he said. “I know I’ve loved everything about it.”
02-10-2014 | The Real Deal Press

5 Cheapest Manhattan Sales of the Week

The Townsley, a co-op building at 245 East 35th Street in Murray Hill located near the mouth of the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, was the site of the fifth cheapest home sale in Manhattan this week — an alcove studio on the eighth floor for $355,000. That was about 5 percent under the listed price for the studio. The apartment was originally listed for nearly $400,000, despite having last sold in 2005 for more than $415,000. Emily Beare and Steve Snider for brokerage CORE had the sale.
02-09-2014 | Curbed Press

Walker Tower Sees First Flip for Near $3 Million Profit

Back in December, we expressed some reservations about a Walker Tower flip that went on the market seven days after seller Burt Freiman bought the place, especially when we learned that he was asking nearly $2.9 million more than the $5,027,609 that he paid for the apartment a week earlier. Naturally, the 2,179-square-foot 2BR/2.5BA unit "with soaring ceilings, top-of-the-line finishes and amenities, Empire State Building views, and a handy home office" just sold on Thursday for a very respectable/insane $7.775 million.

The apartment (which he had never even set foot in) was on the market for a mere three weeks before going into contract in early January, the buyers having expressed interest before broker Reba Miller of CORE even had a chance to stage it. Freiman—a retired businessman who has apparently decided to spend his golden years buying expensive apartments and reselling them to chumps—previously bought a 15 Central Park West sponsor unit for $4.9 million and flipped it for $7.6 million.
02-09-2014 | The Real Deal Press

Walker Tower Unit Flips for $2.9M Profit

Walker Tower just got its first successful flip, and at $2.9 million, the profit wasn’t bad.

In December, seller Burt Freiman purchased a unit in Walker Tower for just over $5 million. Within a week the 2,179-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit was back on the market. Now the unit has sold for $7.775 million, according to Curbed.

The apartment, which Freiman had never even set foot in, was on the market for a mere three weeks. In fact, the unit went into contract in early January, with the buyers approaching broker Reba Miller of CORE.

According to Curbed, Freiman, a retired businessman, previously purchased a sponsor unit in 15 Central Park West for $4.9 million that he later sold for $7.6 million.
02-07-2014 | The Epoch Times Press

Brooklyn Bridge Park Designed to Draw Locals and Visitors to a Grand View

NEW YORK—Green space and waterfront views are two highly coveted amenities in the city. Capitalizing on its desirable waterfront location, Brooklyn Bridge Park has become a world-class attraction, drawing tourists and locals alike. The park is also a magnet for new residents and economic development.

Brooklyn Bridge Park enjoys 1.3 miles of waterfront on Brooklyn’s west side adjacent to the Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO neighborhoods. The park recently won an award for its planning and design. The American Planning Association will award the park its 2014 National Planning Excellence Award for Urban Design at its annual meeting in April.

During snowy winter mornings, joggers make full use of the park. “There’s a huge running community [here],” said Alison O’Donnell, a student at Kings College and regular jogger in the park.

On days when the weather is nice, the park can be quite crowded in the early morning. Even when the thermometer drops to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, joggers pass through the park’s many trails every minute.
A block away, hordes of young children are being walked to school by their parents.

On warmer days, O’Donnell said, the park is filled with families, picnickers, wedding parties posing for photographs, and couples watching the sunset.

Currently, 38 acres have been developed from Atlantic Avenue to Jay Street just north of the Manhattan Bridge.

The park was designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, the same firm that landscaped the Toll Brothers’ Pierhouse development at the park.

A few years back, the waterfront was not only inaccessible but considered a “wasteland, a dumping ground,” said park CEO Regina Myer.

Now the park attracts a good 60,000 visitors on a nice weekend and up to 100,000 on summer weekends when events are in full swing. About a third are nearby residents, a third are New Yorkers, and another third are tourists, Myer said.

The design is different from other earlier waterfront parks, Myer added. Rather than a formal edge bridging off the water, the landscape architects created an organic edging.

“You can actually touch the water in a lot of parts of the shoreline,” Myer said.

From the very beginning, an emphasis on the views was deemed crucial.

“Those views become a part of the park and a part of the park experience,” Myer said. “So when people come down to the water’s edge they feel like they’re virtually touching the Statue of Liberty.”

Sweeping views of the East River, the Lower Manhattan skyline, and Brooklyn Bridge are big reasons the park is able to fund its maintenance and operations.

Funded by Housing

Brooklyn Bridge Park is a public-private partnership where residential developments will contribute $16 million to the park’s budget annually. This covers all park maintenance fees—a condition the city and state required to commit $315 million for construction.

In terms of construction, the park still needs $27.5 million.

The Pierhouse condos and a hotel developed by Starwood Capital Group at the end of Pier 1 are expected to generate $3.2 million annually. One Brooklyn Bridge Park, a condo-conversion project nearby, already generates $2 million annually.

“It’s become a world-class attraction,” said Doug Bowen, CORE real estate agent specializing in Brooklyn properties and representing One Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Bowen said the park has definitely added value to the adjacent neighborhoods and is an attraction for home buyers to choose DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights.

Pierhouse, which recently launched its sales gallery, is only the first of the new developments in the park, Bowen added, and in regard to rising property values, “people will still be talking about it ten years from now.”

By creating a place where people want to be, it’s helped nearby neighborhoods grow the local economy.
“Brooklyn Bridge Park is the best thing to happen to DUMBO since cobblestone,” said Alexandria Sica, executive director of the DUMBO Business Improvement District, or DUMBO BID. DUMBO BID represents property owners, merchants, businesses, and cultural organizations, according to its website.

The award-winning design and views of the park has inspired the creative businesses, Sica said. The park’s become a major draw for visitors as well, bringing tourist dollars to the local economy.

“It’s also been a huge draw for families, helping create a community of young Brooklynites who will grow up on the shore of the East River,” Sica said.
02-07-2014 | The New York Times Press

First Resale in Walker Tower Flipped for Near $3 Million Profit

The renaissance of Walker Tower, the 24-story Art Deco office building at 212 West 18th Street that put Chelsea on the skyscraper map after Ralph Thomas Walker designed it for the New York Telephone Company in 1929, has been emphatic.

Its 2012 conversion to 47 luxury-laden condos produced a record-breaking downtown sale — PH1, after asking $55 million, recently sold for $50.912 million — and inspired such a surge of wealthy buyers that only one unit, PH2 for $47.5 million, is still available. And now the tower’s first resale, a two-bedroom unit on the 11th floor, has generated a near $3 million profit for an owner/investor who, by the way, never actually set foot in the building.

One tenet of being a serial apartment flipper like Burt Freiman, the retired businessman and real estate speculator who cannily bought and sold No. 11E, is never to get too attached to one’s trophy acquisitions. Before Walker Tower, he bought and flipped at 15 Central Park West, setting himself a positive precedent by buying a sponsor unit for $4.9 million and reselling it for $7.6 million, according to his longtime broker and real estate adviser, Reba Miller of CORE.

Part of the initial wave of buyers at Walker Tower, Mr. Freiman went to contract in June 2012 on No. 11E, a two-bedroom two-and-a-half-bath 2,183-square-foot apartment with soaring ceilings, top-of-the-line finishes and amenities, Empire State Building views, and a handy home office. The asking price for the sponsor unit was $5.2 million, and he paid $5,027,609 when the deal finally closed on Dec. 4, 2013.
Then, two weeks later, just as planned, he relisted the apartment for an ambitious $7.9 million through Ms. Miller. Had the apartment not sold within a reasonable time-frame, she said, the backup plan was to rent it out.

But Mr. Freiman’s condo quickly found a serious suitor despite its being vacant and bereft of furniture, and this week it closed yet again, this time for $7.775 million. Bahar Tavakolian of Stribling & Associates brought the buyers, who actually do intend to move in and live there while their 2014 market-rate investment presumably appreciates further. The monthly carrying costs for the unit, which is one floor below a three-bedroom apartment bought as an investment by the actress Cameron Diaz, are $3,809.

“The buyers paid more for the apartment than my client did,” Ms. Miller said, “but I don’t feel that they paid up; they paid what the market will bear today.” She had intended to install staging furniture in No. 11E during the Christmas holidays, traditionally a non-optimal time to put a property on the market, but before she could do so, Ms. Tavakolian contacted her with the news that she had an eager buyer who specifically wanted a unit at Walker Tower. Fortuitously, Mr. Freiman’s was the only one available except for the penthouse, and it was about $40 million less expensive.

The co-developers of Walker Tower, JDS Development Group and Property Markets Group, said the stunning profit realized on the first resale was further proof of the building’s architectural pedigree and escalating popularity among elite buyers. “It makes us happy because it burnishes the brand,” said Michael Stern of JDS Development Group.

“It vindicates our vision of the quality of the conversion and the continued importance of the role played by Walker Tower on the city skyline,” added Elliott Joseph of Property Markets Group. “The seller made a great investment, and the people moving in are making a great investment. The residences on the lower floors actually have the highest ceilings, and since the residences start on the eighth floor in a low-rise neighborhood, there isn’t an apartment in the place that doesn’t have great, penthouse-type unimpeded views.” (The building’s first seven floors are occupied by Verizon.)

As for the one remaining unit, PH2, Mr. Joseph predicted a speedy sale: “It’s an awesome product,” he said.
02-06-2014 | The Wall Street Journal Press

A Chelsea Duplex Becomes a Family Affair

Asher Remy-Toledo and Marc Routh purchased a duplex apartment at 131 West 24th Street, pictured at center, in 2002, according to records provided by the couple. Mr. Routh said the apartment cost slightly over $1.2 million. The space was formerly a dance studio, the couple said, and they started renovations with a deadline. The home had to be ready in time for the birth of their twin sons.

The seven story co-op building has only six units. Messrs. Routh and Remy-Toledo's apartment on the fifth and six floors has private access via a keyed elevator on both floors and a living room with almost 19-foot ceilings, created for the dance studio. The couple were previously living in Midtown Manhattan near the theater district but purchased the home for their growing family. 'We were creating a family, a life together. [The apartment] was an opportunity to do that,' Mr. Routh said.

The relatively raw space was 'appealing as a canvas to work on,' Mr. Routh said. The renovation involved building three bathrooms and four bedrooms and converting an existing studio apartment within the space into a master bedroom suite with gym and walk-in closet. Mr. Routh said the renovation cost in the 'high six figures.' A storage space off the kitchen has plumbing available to be converted in a fourth bathroom, Mr. Remy-Toledo said.

Some of the décor and furnishings in the apartment reflect the couple's respective careers. Mr. Routh, 50, is a theater producer who has worked on Broadway shows locally and abroad, in addition to bringing international productions to the U.S. He is also the co-owner of 54 Below, a 150-seat music entertainment venue in Midtown. A chaise, pictured here, is from a 2002 production of 'My Old Lady.'

A sarcophagus from 1998's 'The Mystery of Irma Vep' currently serves as a toy closet. Mr. Remy-Toledo, also 50, is an art advisor and curator, currently working on projects related to Art Miami and on establishing an art fair in San Francisco. He is also the co-founder of Hyphen-Hub, an arts and technology non-profit. When he is not travelling, he often hosts meetings and events in the apartment. 'This space is a hub for all these artistic people,' Mr. Remy-Toledo said. 'It's very useful,' he said.

The dining area, pictured, extends into the full chef's kitchen. Mr. Routh said that they have seen their neighborhood change substantially over the last 12 years. 'When we moved in, there were a lot of empty lots,' some of which hosted antique markets on the weekends, Mr. Routh said. 'Now huge buildings are on those properties,' he said.

Mr. Routh said the couple did not make substantial changes to the 'industrial' kitchen in their renovation because they don't spend much time cooking. The renovation took almost eight months. 'At the time it seemed like forever, but we had a real hard deadline,' Mr. Routh said. Their sons were born six weeks early and the couple had to spend a week in a hotel when they brought them home from the hospital, as the apartment floors were being finished. 'It was up to the last minute,' Mr. Routh said.

The couple have been together for 15 years and were married last year. The approximately 4,400 square foot apartment has three bathrooms and five bedrooms. The master bedroom is shown.

The master bathroom was designed by Mr. Remy-Toledo to 'look like a spa,' in homage to the couple's love of taking spa vacations before their children arrived. The space, with shower and separate bathtub, is done with slate stone tiles. 'I wanted that zen feeling,' of a spa, Mr. Remy Toledo said. 'It's not pretentious at all, it's all very down to earth,' he said.

The bathtub, decorated with glass mosaic, is shown. Mr. Remy Toledo said he also tried to create a calm, peaceful 'zen-like' atmosphere in the rest of the home, using minimal decor and thick city windows to block sound from the street.

A second bedroom is shown. 'We're not into showy, pretentious stuff,' Mr. Remy-Toledo said. 'It's more that [the space] feels grounded. You're home.' Contemplating a possible move to Brooklyn, the family spent a few weeks last summer in rental apartments across the borough. They are selling because they've officially decided to move, although Mr. Remy-Toledo said they haven't found a neighborhood that matches Chelsea in its convenience. 'Here, everything is so immediate,' he said. The home is close to several subway lines as well as Fairway Market and Trader Joe's.

An upstairs living space and library is shown. The apartment was briefly listed by the owners in March 2013 for slightly under $4.5 million. It was relisted towards the end of December last year for its current listing price of $5 million. Patrick Lilly and Adie Kriegstein of CORE hold the listing.
02-05-2014 | New York Post Press

Houses of the Week: 200 Mercer Street, 4E

Greenwich Village | $2.45 million

Bedrooms: 2 | Bathrooms: 1
Square feet: 2,350 | Maintenance: $2,333

Space is rare in Manhattan, and rarer is the chance to take a “sprawling” loft space, like this one in a co-op on Mercer Street overlooking Broadway, and do with it as you see fit. Already in place is a newly renovated, eat-in kitchen, plenty of exposed brick, hardwood flooring and a woodburning fireplace in the master bedroom. Agent: Patrick Mills, CORE, 917-657-5607
02-04-2014 | CBS Press

Living Large: 23 Downing

David Beare takes “Living Large” host Emily Smith on a tour of this Greenwich Village townhouse.
02-01-2014 | Modern NYC Press

NY Real Estate: 419 East 57th Street, PHAB

Be the first to live in this spectacular, one-of-a-kind penthouse, complete with an expansive 1,900-square-foot terrace. Meticulously renovated, this sun-filled, 5.5-room home, perfect as a full-time residence or pied-a-terre, offers exceptional ceiling heights, three working fireplaces, detailed plaster moldings and panoramic city views. Just beyond the dramatic entrance gallery, the home's living room offers open southern exposure, dramatic entertaining space and a wood-burning fireplace. The master bedroom features two French door entrances to the terrace and a walk-in closet. The bedroom's luxurious, en suite marble bathroom has a soaking tub with window views, stall shower, double sinks, heated floors and abundant storage. The second bedroom suite has a statuary marble bathroom with Waterworks fixtures. The spacious eat-in kitchen, outfitted with St. Charles custom cabinetry, features top-of-the-line appliances, marble countertops and backsplashes, and a generous walk-in pantry. A five-zone central air conditioning system, outdoor storage area and river-to-river views from the oversized terrace complete the home. No board approval required.
02-01-2014 | Modern NYC Press

NY Real Estate: 241 Fifth, PH20

Live in the center of NoMad, Manhattan's hottest new neighborhood, which boasts a bustling restaurant and hotel scene set against the lush, green landscape of Madison Square Park. Merging the best of old and new, the classic New York-style of this area includes Beaux-Arts architecture and iconic cast-iron buildings. 241 Fifth stands out as a new boutique residence designed with modern simplicity.

Penthouse 20 is a full-floor, 3-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom residence offering 3,080-square feet of interior space and stairway access to a private 958-square foot rooftop terrace boasting a full kitchen, hot tub, and views of the Flatiron district. The modern design influence features an open flow living room and a neutral palette that can be seen through the use of stained white oak flooring and white-finished fixtures from the Zuchetti-Kos Faraway Collection. The master bathroom is designed with a deep soaking tub, glass-enclosed shower, solid teak wall detailing and honed stone tile floor. Additionally, this residence offers entrance through a key locked elevator, a Miele washer and dryer and oversized windows throughout.

241 Fifth's lobby boasts wire-brushed, white oak walls and a polished concrete floor, conveying the modern simplicity of this boutique condominium. In addition to a 24/7 concierge, 241 Fifth's amenities include a rooftop terrace, a fitness center equipped with state-of-the-art cardio and weightlifting equipment, a Zen tranquility room for yoga, Pilates or meditation, a residence lounge and private wellness treatment room, which offers a serene space for massage or beauty treatments.

These photos may represent the unit or similar units in the building.
02-01-2014 | The Real Deal News

Manhattan's Top Agents

In the battle for broker supremacy, John Burger of Brown Harris Stevens held on to the top spot again this past year after finishing at the top in 2012. The white-glove broker had more than $410 million in listing at the time of the survey in mid-2013. Serena Boeardman of Sotheby's, meanwhile, jumped to the second place spot from the number five slot in the ranking the prior year. And Deborah Grubman on the Corcoran Group finished third, a big leap from 11th place the previous year.
02-01-2014 | The Real Deal News

Top Mid-Size Brokerages

Call them the in-betweeners. They're too small to be gigantic firms and too large to be boutiques. They're New York City's mid-size residential firms. And in 2013, for the first time, The Real Deal compiled a list ranking these firms by dollar volume of listings (in addition to looking at brokerage behemoths and boutiques as in years past). CORE finished first, followed by Warburg Realty.
02-01-2014 | The Real Deal News

Top Residential Brokerage Firms by Closed Manhattan Deals

In addition to ranking Manhattan's biggest brokerage firms by listings (see charts on adjacent pages) as it had done in years past, The Real Deal ran its first-ever ranking of Manhattan firms by closed deals (encompassing only sales above $1 million) in its May 2013 issue. The ability to rank firms based on closed sales rather than on a snapshot of listings was the result of improved data-gathering methods as well as better transparency in the industry. Data was provided by the website StreetEasy with additional research by The Real Deal.
02-01-2014 | The Real Deal Press

Top Rental Deals of the Year

Deals at the very tippy top of the rental market got even pricier in 2013. There were 13 rental deals in Manhattan that got signed for $100,000 a month or more during the course of the year, up from just one such deal last year. The Towers of the Waldorf-Astoria and the Pierre saw three of the top deals each, the most of any building, and 15 Central Park West saw two deals that made the list.
02-01-2014 | NYREJ Press

NYRS Begins 2014 With new Executive Members Martin, Sargent, and Caponergo

New York Residential Specialists (NYRS), the REBNY-certified program that recognizes top New York City residential real estate agents with the highest professional credential, is pleased to begin 2014 with new sponsors and executive committee members. The announcement comes following two sold-out semesters in 2013, bringing the number of NYRS graduates to 296.

New executive committee members include: Trish Martin, executive director of sales for Halstead Property's Brooklyn division; Tony Sargent, associate broker with CORE; and Tom Caponegro, associate broker with Brown Harris Stevens. They join the now 14-member committee.
02-01-2014 | SCENE Magazine Press

Rent Forecast

There’s snow in the forecast, and not a single day in the next month is expected to reach 32 degrees or higher, so when’s a better time to move? As brutal as New York’s winter is, the real estate market depresses its prices during the cold months. “The New York City residential rental market is seasonal, with the highest rents of the year coming every August and the lowest every February,” said Jeffrey Schleider, managing director of Miron Properties. “Renters in the market now can expect the best deals of the year with many landlords offering to cover the brokers fee and/or give a free month's rent.” Landlords do not need to be the ones to offer, either. Prospective renters have just as much of a right to bring their own terms to the negotiation table.
01-31-2014 | The Real Deal Press

Lucrative Super Bowl Listings Tempt Brokers — Despite Risks

The number of short-term rental listings – and their prices – have skyrocketed ahead of Super Bowl XLVIII, and not even New York City real estate brokers are immune to the siren call of potential cash.

Airbnb, arguably the most popular site for short-term rental wheeling and dealing these days, still has more than a 1,000 listings available for this weekend only two days before the big game. The site has seen a 46 percent week-over-week increase in bookings on listings near MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, a spokesman for the company told The Real Deal. Bookings in the surrounding area – including the five boroughs – are expected to double from their volume at the same time last year.

The boom has prompted users to dramatically lift their rates, much as the city’s hotels commonly do during especially busy periods. Some hosts are charging as much as $1,000 per night for their pads over the weekend and are pointedly courting gridiron junkies.

“Perfect party space for Super Bowl weekend,” reads one StuyTown offering asking $6,500 for six nights. Even famous faces are getting in on the action, with Kevin Jonas, eldest of the eponymous brothers, renting out his Denville, New Jersey home (near the game site in East Rutherford) for $20,000 per night. The five-figure tab does include tickets to the game, at least.

Brokers are tempted by the potential windfall as much as anyone else. Several told The Real Deal that they have been approached by past or long-term clients seeking help marketing their property as a Super Bowl outpost.

“I had a client ask me to deal with her Staten Island lease for the weekend for $20,000,” said Jonathan Tager, managing director of MNS Real Estate. He didn’t wind up taking her up on the offer, he said, but was intrigued enough by the possibilities to list his own Brooklyn apartment for $6,500 per night after the inquiry. (As of press time he hadn’t snagged any takers.)

He isn’t the only one. Morgan Graham, a broker with Miron Properties, said that the Super Bowl isn’t on his radar but that he “sure as H-E-double hockey sticks” would rent via Airbnb if he had the space. “I live in Hell’s Kitchen and this neighborhood is very Airbnb-friendly. During the summer I meet several random Europeans in my building who are staying for the week [because of the] convenience of Midtown.”

Though it’s quicker and cheaper to list an offering themselves on a site like Airbnb, Roomorama or HomeAway, going through a broker may ease worries of party destruction over a beer and buffalo wing-filled weekend. The peace of mind, some brokers said, is what often makes a broker’s involvement, and commission, worth it.

“The reason I think they would use a broker is because they want the tenant vetted,” said Emily Beare, a broker with the CORE Group. “Most people do post it themselves, but I think that is the reason.”

The rush to cash in on the weekend’s potentially pricey rentals flies in the face of New York City’s 2010 illegal hotel law, which bars residential apartment rentals for fewer than 30 days. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is currently on the march against Airbnb to this end, having subpoenaed data on the site’s 15,000 hosts in October. Most brokerages and individual agents are aware of the risks, and quite a few told The Real Deal that they are steering clear of short-term Super Bowl listings to avoid any potential legal fallout.

Others, however, appeared unfazed by the potential dangers.

“I would totally do it regardless of the risks,” Graham said. “And landlords seem to be okay with it because their rent is still getting paid, if not being paid quicker and in full.”
01-30-2014 | The Real Deal  Press

Ismael Leyva Snaps Up 57th Street Pad in Building He Designed

Ismael Leyva, the architect behind notable Manhattan buildings such as the Yves Chelsea, has nabbed an apartment at a Midtown building he designed.

The Mexican-American design guru paid $3.91 million for a three-bedroom, three-bathroom pad at Place 57, the same 36-story story tower at 207 East 57th Street in which chat show host Oprah Winfrey previously owned an apartment, according to public records filed with the city today.

Blu Kokin of residential brokerage CORE represented Levya in the deal. The sellers, Brian and Kathryn Ballard, were represented by Mark Schoenfeld and Brandon Cohen of the Corcoran Group.

As the architect of the building, Levya knew the property well prior to the deal, Schoenfeld said.

“There was very little due diligence to do,” he said.

Neither Kokin nor Levya were immediately available for comment.

The 30th floor apartment has a triangular living room, mahogany floors and views reaching as far north as the George Washington Bridge, according to the listing. The building has a 24-hour concierge, a fitness center, a conference room and garden.

The deal follows the sale of Levya’s former home at 353 Central Park West in August, for $7.55 million. He had owned that property since 2007.

Levya’s more recent projects include the Charles Condominium at 1355 First Avenue. He was also recently tapped to design the new School of Visual Arts dormitory at 407 First Avenue on 24th street on behalf of developer Magnum Real Estate Group.

Oprah’s penthouse at Place 57 sold to London-based hedge fund partner Mark Hillery and his wife Melissa for $7.9 million in 2012.
01-29-2014 | Brownstoner Press

Record $1.98 Million Sale in Windsor Terrace

A house at 107 Terrace Place set a record when it sold for $1,980,000 this month, according to The New York Daily News. The previous record was set by 18 Sherman Place, which traded for $1,900,000 in 2007, said the story.

The 1960s house at 107 Terrace Place was extensively renovated and came with a garage. The floor plan is unusual, with the kitchen and dining room on the same floor as the bedrooms, but the living room is on the ground floor. The five-bedroom home has 3,500 square feet of space and a top-floor rental unit.

The story asked if Windsor Terrace could be “the next Park Slope” and noted soaring multi-million-dollar prices there are pushing up prices in Windsor Terrace and elsewhere throughout Brooklyn.
01-29-2014 | Curbed Press

Very Suburban $2M Windsor Terrace House Sets Record

A two-car garage, a big back yard, wall-to-wall carpeting—everything about the stand-alone house at 107 Terrace Place screams "suburbia"—except for the fact that it's located in Brooklyn. Though some might scoff at the suburban-ness of it, it's those characteristics that led to the house setting a price record for Windsor Terrace when it sold for $1.98 million earlier this month. The Daily News reports that the previous neighborhood record was held by a much more New York-esque limestone house at 18 Sherman Street, which sold for $1.9M in 2007. The sellers of the two-family house on Terrace Place bought it in 2011 for $1.2M, and they fully renovated it to create a three-bedroom rental on the top floor and a 3,500-square-foot owners' unit on the lower two floors.
01-28-2014 | New York Daily News Press

The Next Park Slope? Unique Windsor Terrace Home Sells For Record $1.98 Million

The new, most expensive home in Windsor Terrace is not some glorious rowhouse facing Prospect Park or a wood-framed, 200-year-old beauty.

But the home at 107 Terrace Place, which just sold for $1.98 million, boasts a feature the competition is missing, something even more valuable than original molding or parquet floors a two-car garage.

It also comes with the neighborhood’s quickly increasing cachet.

“Windsor Terrace always had this suburban feel, but now it’s getting much cooler, too, and I think this house, which is two blocks from the park and the cafes, is the perfect marriage of the two Windsor Terraces,” said CORE broker Doug Bowen, who had the listing.

The five-bedroom detached home was actually built in 1960 by a bridge contractor as his own residence, which accounts for its unique layout.

The current owners, who purchased the property for $1.12 million in 2011, undertook a full renovation to open up the lower floors, creating a grand 3,500-square-foot home of modern proportions, with two bedrooms and a kitchen, dining and living rooms that sharing an open space. A den and game room are on the floor below, alongside the garage.

The previous record in Windsor Terrace was for a traditional limestone townhouse at 18 Sherman Place, which sold for $1.9 million in 2007, during the last boom.

As prices continue to rise to the north, buyers who want to stay in Brooklyn, rather than following their parents to the suburbs, are bidding up prices all over.

“When a typical brownstone is going for $3 million and even $4 million now, it’s going to push people to Windsor Terrace, and it’s going to push up the prices in Windsor Terrace,” Bowen said.

The sellers are actually bucking this trend. They just had their second child and have decided to relocate more upstate to Rhinebeck, since the husband splits his work in the high-end summer camp sector between Manhattan and upstate.

The buyers, meanwhile, are leaving behind a rental in Park Slope. They were among a number of bidders for the home, which was originally listed at $1.95 million.

And even though they will be waving goodbye to their beloved Slope, Bowen said his family will be gaining so much more.

“The joy of never having to fight for a parking space again,” he said. “Can you imagine?”
01-25-2014 | The Real Deal Press

A Look at the Swankiest Bathrooms on the Market

Luxury homebuilders often tempt buyers with massive and spectacular bathrooms. But these gorgeous en suites from around the country go far beyond the high-end status quo.

Here is a look at the swankiest bathrooms on the market, according to Bloomberg News.
01-24-2014 | Bloomberg Press

Homes for Sale with Spectacular Bathrooms

Manhattan, New York
For sale: $8,995,000

23 Downing Street is a 3,700-square-foot, single-family residence located in Greenwich Village. The five-floor home boasts a large master suite, three additional bedrooms, four full baths and two half-baths, spacious living areas and 900 exterior square free, including a private garden and rooftop terrace.
01-21-2014 | CNBC Press

Mega Home Report: Sweet Sounds Inside NYC Apartments

CNBC's Robert Frank reports on two town houses in Manhattan that come with luxury music rooms.
01-17-2014 | Fox Business Press

Money Talker

Certified Career and Life-Purpose Coach Maggie Mistal, luxury real estate developer Jarrod Guy Randolph and Marie Claire Features and Special Projects Director Lea Goldman offer tips for boosting your salary.
01-17-2014 | The Real Deal Press

Artsy Condo Projects Take Advantage of Museum Proximity

Sales are booming in buildings clustered around New York City’s public art destinations, as evidenced by the success of buildings near the Museum of Modern Art and the New Museum.

1280 Fifth Avenue, which is anchored by the Museum of African Art, wasn’t doing so hot in 2011, according to the New York Daily News. Only 16 of its 90 units had sold when brokerage firm CORE took over and rebranded the building as One Museum Mile. But things took off in 2013; a $3.6 million property sold there last year set the record for home sale price in East Harlem, as The Real Deal reported.

“Now we’ve only got eight left,” CORE broker Tom Postilio told the News.

250 Bowery’s developer, VE Equities, is also taking advantage of its artsy neighbor the New Museum — actress Scarlett Johansson checked out the property, for instance, according to the News. A penthouse there for $2,500 per square foot – the highest price per square foot ever on the Bowery — in 2013, in a sale brokered by Douglas Elliman’s Fredrik Eklund.

Other museum-friendly buildings include 1001 Fifth Avenue near the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a $1 billion tower called Torre Verre near MoMa by Jean Nouvel in the works.
01-17-2014 | New York Daily News Press

Condos That Are Close to Arts Institutions like MoMA, The Met and The New Museum Get a Big Lift

The Whitney isn’t the only condo development capitalizing on its proximity to a top arts institution. Being next door to — or in some case on top of — a museum can provide a project with serious cachet.

MoMA practically pioneered the practice when it developed Museum Tower in the 1980s, which poured millions into the institution’s endowment.

Here are some recent examples:

One Museum Mile

When brokerage Core took over 1280 Fifth Ave. two years ago, only 16 of the 90 units were sold. But after the building’s name was changed to One Museum Mile — a hat tip to the Museum of African Art downstairs — sales started booming.

“Now, we’ve only got eight left,” says Core broker Tom Postilio.


250 Bowery

The New Museum capped the Bowery’s transformation from skid row to high brow. As a result, 250 Bowery has attracted the likes of apartment shoppers Scarlett Johansson and other celebs.


1001 Fifth Ave.

Since it opened in 1902, the Met has been giving brokers something to crow about — as if park views weren’t enough.

“Savor the quintessential view of what New York City has to offer by waking up to one of the world’s most famous museums, the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” writes Kristen Magnani in her listing for a $2.8 million two-bedroom.


Torre Verre

The Museum of Modern Art quite literally has the most obvious museum-driven development in the works: Jean Nouvel’s $1 billion Torre Verre, which will rise 1,050 feet, as high as the Chrysler Building and with views of Central Park.

01-13-2014 | New York Observer Press

The Aging Ingenue of Neighborhoods: Long Island City Has Been on the Cusp for 30 Years

All neighborhoods are somewhat in thrall to Manhattan, but Long Island City is haunted by it. By day, it’s noisy with the squeal and clatter of elevated trains, the rumble of delivery trucks on the 59th Street Bridge and the hum of subways beneath the sidewalks—a cacophony of people and paraphernalia, all shuttling across the East River. In the evening, the neighborhood is illuminated by the pale glow of Midtown skyscrapers and the streets hue yellow with the tide of returning taxis.

That Long Island City should be the next up-and-coming neighborhood has seemed obvious for decades; New York magazine christened it the next hot neighborhood in 1980, an imprimatur it would not give to Williamsburg for 12 more years. “Plainly, something is happening in Long Island City,” the magazine wrote and plainly, something was. Condos and chic restaurants were in the works, giddy developers were throwing around phrases like “Soho-plus” and “oil field,” and Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman were zipping over to play afternoon games at Tennisport. Its vast stretches of sparsely populated land were so obviously ripe for redevelopment that its ascendance seemed all but inevitable—a fait accompli that for reasons no one ever quite seems able to account for has always fallen just short of accompli.

In the decades since, it has been called the next Williamsburg, the next Dumbo, the next Bushwick, Astoria-lite and, most inelegantly, “Fort Greene 10 years ago”—its arrival just as inevitable and just as elusive as it has always been, a thing that must be and yet is not.
To walk Long Island City’s wide sidewalks is to find evidence that the neighborhood has, at long last, arrived. There are haute comfort-food purveyors and classic cocktails cooled by hand-cut ice, a climbing gym and a weekend flea market, coffee shops, gourmet groceries, wine bars, breweries, art galleries, waterfront parks and an ever-multiplying number of luxury towers. Murakami has a studio there; so does David Byrne. M. Wells, the adventurous Quebecois steakhouse, recently reopened in an old garage by Court Square.

There’s even a rooftop farm and a pop-up ramen bar. On a Saturday afternoon this fall, hordes of canvas-bag-toting twenty-somethings emerged from the G train, setting off for either P.S. 1 or 5Pointz.

And yet, while it would be easy to fashion so many pieces into an argument for the place’s vitality, the truth is that they do not cohere. The spaces between the wine bars and art galleries are desolate, darkened expanses of low-lying warehouses, parked waste-oil trucks, taxi lots and auto body repair shops.

It is a neighborhood at odds with itself, a place that can neither shake its potential Manhattanness nor its pervasive otherness, the vague loneliness that comes with being on the edge of a great metropolis, beyond the crowds and the busy cheer and the all-night cafés. It has the kind of unsettled quality that makes some people a little uneasy, like the late-middle-aged couple I passed on the street one night not long ago. They were standing, watching a young man fumble with the front-door lock of a begrimed apartment building on Jackson Avenue. The couple wore the apprehensive expression of parents seeing the grim New York apartment their adult child now calls home.

Sensing their discomfort, the man turned, gesturing Manhattanward with his chin. “Look,” he said. “You can see the Empire State Building.”
01-10-2014 | The New York Times Press

A Scarcity of New One-Bedrooms

For decades, one-bedroom apartments have been a fixture of New York. But finding one going forward, at least in new developments, may become as hard as hailing a cab in a downpour.
Developers convinced that buyers want extra legroom — and often seeking to recoup their own sky-high investments in land — are phasing one-bedrooms out of new buildings in favor of much more spacious units.

“I don’t know that one-bedrooms will ever become extinct,” said Charles R. Bendit, a chief executive at Taconic Investment Partners, “but I think the nature of the city is changing. Young kids aren’t leaving as quickly as they once did, and people who are making an investment are investing in a family home.”

Mr. Bendit is putting his analysis to the test as he develops Sterling Mason, a once-stalled condo at 71 Laight Street in TriBeCa. When conceived during the last real estate boom, by a different developer, the project was to have offered five one-bedrooms out of 36 units, in a complex made up of a new building and a renovated one, side by side.

But after buying the building for $65 million in 2012, Taconic decided that bigger would be better, and it reconfigured the interiors to allow for larger apartments, a process that involved removing two elevator banks and stairways. Today there are no one-bedrooms at Sterling Mason, which has 32 units, 14 of them three-bedrooms.

And the bet may have been a smart one. Since last summer, when sales began, eight of the units have sold, at an average of $2,700 a square foot, according to Streeteasy.com. And “no one is coming in to say, ‘Gee whiz, I wish you had one-bedrooms,’ ” Mr. Bendit added.

Whether to be family-friendlier, or for reasons affecting the bottom line, developers generally appear to be decreasing the supply of new one-bedrooms.

At the start of this month, there were 104 for sale in new condos in Manhattan, out of 654 units in total, or a 16 percent share, according to research from the Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group.

Over the same time last year, there were 194 one-bedrooms for sale out of 718 units, or a 27 percent share, the data show. Similarly, at the beginning of 2010, there were 463 one-bedrooms on the market, out of 1,798 units, or a 26 percent share.

Even when resale units are taken into account, the one-bedroom market seems a shade of its former self — though of course the shortage bodes well for anyone with a one-bedroom to sell.

Last week, there were 1,227 one-bedrooms for sale in Manhattan, according to Streeteasy.com.
The units, mostly south of 110th Street, were listed at a median price of $745,000, or about $1,130 a square foot, the data show. At their peak in December 2008, by contrast, the number of one-bedrooms in Manhattan reached 3,257, according to Streeteasy.

As the recession roiled the market, one-bedrooms encountered strong headwinds; many of the first-time buyers drawn to these starter apartments were unable to get loans, which caused units to linger and dip in price. Since then, in the last couple of years, as the housing and lending markets have improved, one-bedrooms have practically flown off the shelves. Sales, in fact, made up about 41 percent of all deals in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to the Miller Samuel appraisal firm; the quarterly showing was the strongest since 1997, when they represented about 43 percent off all deals.

Given that one-bedrooms constitute such a large portion of the market, one might think developers would want to build more of them. But many developers have had to shell out more for land purchases — in Manhattan, prime lots can cost around $850 a square foot — so there is often pressure to build the larger, more expensive units, said Jonathan J. Miller, the president of Miller Samuel.

“It’s not that there is no demand for one-bedrooms,” he said. “It’s that there is no demand for one-bedrooms at $4,000 a foot, which would make some of these sites feasible.”

The market share of one-bedroom sales is expected to drop further in 2014 as new multi-bedroom products begin to work their way through the system.

The list of condominiums with few one-bedrooms is long and splashy. Walker Tower, the conversion of a former telephone building in Chelsea, on West 18th Street, had just three one-bedrooms out of 53 units. Closings there began in November.

There are only eight one-bedrooms, out of 145 units, at 56 Leonard in TriBeCa, according to a spokeswoman for the Alexico Group, a developer in the project. At One57, the skyscraping condominium from the Extell Development Company on West 57th Street, just eight of 94 units are one-bedrooms, according to a company spokeswoman. Brokers say that one-bedrooms are often used for nannies. But at Walker Tower, which ended up with a total of 47 units in the building, some of the scarce one-bedrooms were combined, according to Michael Stern, the managing partner of the JDS Development Group, which developed the building, along with Property Markets Group.

Even smaller projects are supersizing: the Schumacher, a condo conversion at 36 Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, has no one-bedrooms among its 20 units, according to its website, though it does have several four-bedrooms.

Still, even though one-bedrooms seem to be fading in importance in the sales market, they are plentiful as rentals, brokers point out. Nor are all Manhattan developers eschewing one-bedrooms, which make sense for some projects’ economics. When they are offered alongside larger units, they can prove more popular, as at 530 Park Avenue, a 109-unit condo conversion on the Upper East Side, at 61st Street. Since last spring, 60 units have sold, 22 of them one-bedrooms, according to Aby J. Rosen, a principal of RFR Holding, its developer. Only three one-bedrooms are left, he added.

In less affluent areas, where land prices are lower, one-bedrooms may be a better fit.

At Edgecombe Parc Condominium, a project underway at 456 West 167th Street in Washington Heights, more than half the units, or 27 out of 49, are one-bedrooms. Seventeen have sold since marketing began in November, according to Ilan Bracha, a broker with Keller Williams New York City, which is handling sales. Prices at the building, which is being developed by Gleam Realty, have averaged $700 a square foot, Mr. Bracha said.

Large units in areas like TriBeCa attract families in part because of the top-rated public schools. But in neighborhoods like 530 Park’s, where the schools are not as much of an attraction, family-size units can be a harder sell, said Mr. Rosen, adding that many one-bedroom buyers have said they will use them as pieds-à-terre.

“Everybody is chasing the $50 million buyer,” he said, “but I would rather focus on the $7 million to $10 million buyer.”

Sometimes the sites themselves determine the sizes of units. “You don’t want to bastardize the shape of a building; if it dictates larger apartments, it’s better not to create tiny units,” said Doron Zwickel, a Core Group broker in charge of sales at 93 Worth Street, a 91-unit project in a former textile factory in TriBeCa. “But this was not a very deep building, with lots of windows, so it was very efficient to do.”

At 93 Worth, there are 16 one-bedrooms, or 18 percent of the total, as well as 22 studios; eight units remain for sale after a little over a year of marketing, Mr. Zwickel said. Average sale prices have been $1,850 a square foot.

At a new condo that Mr. Zwickel is marketing at 241 Fifth Avenue, the one-bedroom count is even higher: 35 percent of the listings, or 16 out of 46 units. Only one of the units remains.

“I believe that most of the product in the works is still geared toward the high end and the mega-rich,” he said. “I think it would be wise to create more variety.”
01-09-2014 | CBS Press

Living Large: 45 Walker Street

Emily Beare takes CBS’ Emily Smith on a tour of her and Shaun Osher’s $6.75 million listing at 45 Walker Street.
01-09-2014 | Brokers Weekly Press

CORE Duo Singing Their Way to Success

At a past showing on East 83rd Street, Tom Postilio decided to go with his gut. The tour of the apartment was almost over and he felt the interested couple needed a final nudge. So Postilio stopped in his track and started singing Frank Sinatra’s “All the Way” – the couple’s wedding song.

What would be weird coming from any other broker worked for Postilio, who had spent years singing Sinatra on stage. “That sealed the deal,” he said.

With college and graduate degrees in real estate mushrooming across the country, more and more people are entering the field as fully trained professionals. But Tom Postilio and his partner Mickey Conlon at CORE are living proof that an unconventional background can still be a big advantage.
01-09-2014 | Brokers Weekly Press

HAVE YOU HEARD: One World Property Advisors takes over leasing at 66 Franklin Street, CORE agent featured on “Selling New York”

New York’s “pre-sale” apartment stylists James Hart and Barbara Brock of Sold with Style, were featured on HGTV’s Selling New York Jan. 7 episode along with Core agent Lisa Graham.

The pair staged 4,500 s/f 30th floor duplex penthouse at 211 Madison Avenue listed for sale for $5.595 million.

Graham sought out Sold with Style’s expertise when she was faced with selling the five bedroom, six bathroom apartment that had not been upgraded since it was built in the 1980’s.

A health and wellness enthusiast, Graham enlisted help from Big Apple Feng Shui expert Ann Gallops who called in Hart and Brock.

They brought in some amazing pieces of furniture and accessories from their 5,000 s/f.

The apartment is now in contract.
01-03-2014 | Fox Business Press

Money Talker

Jarrod Guy Randolph, James Freeman and Remi Spencer on a new study showing that many workers don't trust their bosses and want to quit.
01-03-2014 | The Real Deal Press

Broker vs. Broker: How Low Can You Go on Commissions?

The Manhattan residential inventory crisis is forcing brokers into a tight corner when it comes to negotiating commissions and terms of exclusive agreements with sellers, brokers told The Real Deal.

With brokers competing for work thanks to the overwhelming shortage of exclusive product, savvy sellers are pitting agents against each other in an attempt to secure advantageous arrangements. Some of the things these sellers are after? Paying lower commissions, of course, and shorter exclusive arrangements (often three, instead of six, months.)

“They’ll say ‘X, Y and Z broker offered to go as low as this,’” said Ryan Fitzpatrick, director of sales at residential brokerage CORE. “‘Can you match that?’”

Brokers who are hungry for listings, particularly those without long track records or with smaller firms, are agreeing to those terms in order to break into the deal stream, sources said. But that, in turn, is putting pressure on the residential brokerage community at large.

“The brokers that are desperate are using that angle to get work,” said Mara Flash Blum, a broker at Sotheby’s International Realty who recently pitched against a broker willing to take a lower commission. “I said ‘I’m sorry, I can’t do that,’ ” she said.

The inventory crunch shows little sign of letting up. In the fourth quarter of 2013, inventory dropped to 4,164 co-op and condominium units, a 12.3 percent dip from the fourth quarter of 2012, according to brokerage Douglas Elliman. That’s the lowest inventory level since Elliman began tracking the data in 2000. The drop was even more pronounced for new development units, whose availability fell 19.6 percent year-over-year.

The situation was much better on the luxury end of the market — the top 10 percent of all units — where the listing count was 1,190, a 24.9 percent increase over the same period in 2012.

At the same time, turnover of product in the market is still happening at a fast pace. The absorption rate in the fourth quarter was 3.8 months, nearly two months faster than the 5.5-month pace in the prior-year quarter.

“There are a lot of agents competing for a small number of listings,” said Fitzpatrick. “It makes for a very intense playing field. Most sellers are savvy. They realize they have options. They realize that they can call the shots in some respects.”

The standard commission for a deal is 6 percent — 3 percent for the seller’s broker and 3 percent for the buyer’s — while for luxury properties, it can inch down depending on the price of the unit.
One broker told TRD that he’d been competing for an exclusive against a broker who offered a commission of less than 2 percent on a $2 million property, but he declined to provide specifics.

For brokers at large corporate firms like the Corcoran Group and Douglas Elliman, undercutting on commissions is strongly discouraged, if not tacitly banned.

Indeed, at a recent panel event, Elliman CEO Dottie Herman spoke out against the practice.
“If the only thing you think about is who’s the cheapest, and you couldn’t care less about the service, then I’m not really even going to have a conversation with you, because there’s nothing to talk about,” she said. “Good luck to you.”

Meanwhile, smaller companies, like Miron Properties, have more wiggle room for discussion.

“We have certainly been able to pick up listings where the corporate firms haven’t, because we were able to be creative with fee structures,” said Jeff Schleider, managing director at Miron. “If there’s some special circumstance, like the client is going to be selling and buying with us, we’ll of course work with them on commissions. Before I started Miron, I worked at Corcoran, and agents would lose deals all the time because [they wouldn’t drop their commissions]. Six percent doesn’t always work.”

But many warn that giving up too much on commissions is a slippery slope and, from a broker’s prospective, sets a dangerous precedent for future deals.

“There is a clear value in the work of a professional broker,” said Michael Graves, a broker at Elliman. “A skilled agent will deliver results far beyond the percentages of any discount. Most sellers understand that taking a discount agent is akin to jumping over dollars to reach for pennies.”

CORE’s Fitzpatrick agreed. “We’re not a discount brokerage. We’re not going to enter a race to the bottom,” he said.

“If you go into three plastic surgeons, you’re not going to barter on price. It’s about the results,” he quipped. “You want the broker that’s going to get you the highest price for your apartment. Many sellers respond to that once they understand where we’re coming from. Not everyone, but many do.”

Sellers are also increasingly asking to reduce the length of exclusive agreements to less than six months, because they think that’s plenty of time to sell a well-priced unit in today’s quick market. But experienced brokers said that despite market conditions, three months is rarely enough time to complete a deal.

“The perception is that things are flying off the shelf. But unless it’s new construction, it’s not flying off the shelf,” said Flash Blum.

If a broker is going to invest the time and, in some cases, their own money in preparing the apartment for sale and securing advertising and media exposure for their exclusive, they can’t run the risk of losing the exclusive after just three months, Flash Blum said.

“I don’t like to take a three-month exclusive,” she said. “You lose the first two weeks just getting the apartment ready for sale.”
01-03-2014 | New York Post Press

We Hear...

That American Airlines Arena and Sam Nazarian’s SBE will launch a new, 32-person VIP Hyde suite for Miami Heat games and other events this month . . . That model Julie Henderson hosted the opening of the Professional Bull Riders Monster Energy Buck Off at MSG on Friday . . . That after his Feinstein’s at the Regency shuttered, piano man Michael Feinstein performed his annual New Year’s Eve show in San Francisco at Feinstein’s at the Nikko, where he was joined onstage by Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon.
01-01-2014 | The Real Deal Press

Predicting 2014: Pros weigh in on everything from de Blasio to prices, but agree that market can’t keep up with last year’s pace

Sure, nobody knows what’s actually going to happen in the New York City residential real estate market in the New Year. But it’s still fun to guess.

In this month’s Q&A, The Real Deal asked residential brokerage heads, market analysts and developers to give us their best educated guesses on everything from residential pricing to how the beginning of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s term in City Hall will impact the market.

Most seemed to be in agreement on at least one thing: the 2014 market will not be able to sustain the pace of the 2013 market. But, they said, that’s more a function of the record-setting pace of nearly every metric in 2013 than it is of the coming year.

“It’s unrealistic to expect deal volume to compete with what we just experienced, so I would lower my expectations on the future pace of contract activity and ultimately price action for 2014,” said Noah Rosenblatt, the founder of brokerage and research platform UrbanDigs.

While Rosenblatt and others said a shortage of inventory will continue into the New Year and will lift prices, some said buyers have hit their limit on price increases. That’s partly because much of the inventory that is coming on the market is being “posited toward the ultra-luxury buyer,” said Core CEO Shaun Osher, who noted that the “affordable luxury” sector —between $1.5 million and $3 million — is still seeing a void of quality product. He said anything listed in that price range this year will do well.

In addition, several sources said they didn’t expect de Blasio’s first year in office to impact market conditions immediately, partly because it will be hard for him to get anything passed in Albany because of the state elections this year. But they said, depending on what the new mayor does this year, his presence could impact the pipeline of residential product more long-term.

For more on which areas of the city are expected to do best and worst, what developers are looking out for, and what to anticipate in

terms of a residential bubble, we turn to our panel of experts.

Shaun Osher: founder and CEO, CORE

NYC’s residential market has strengthened beyond what many could have anticipated a year ago. What are you expecting to see in the New Year? Where do you expect the market to be a year from now?

A year from now I think we will be in a more stabilized place and I don’t think there will be the rate of appreciation in property value that we have seen over the last 12 months. We have actually seen a bit of a slowdown in appreciation on values and a little bit of a slowdown on some absorption.

The residential inventory shortage is obviously one of the big factors driving market conditions right now in NYC. What are you expecting on the inventory front in the coming year?

There is not much of a pipeline of new product coming on the market in terms of numbers. We are still historically low with respect to inventory. There are less than 5,000 available units on the market right now. We are at 50 percent of where we should be. There are a number of new projects coming on the market, but in total unit numbers, it’s going to have an insignificant impact on inventory. I think there is going to be a housing shortage and I think the shortage is going to be exacerbated by the fact that a lot of the inventory that we are going to see coming on the market is going to be posited toward the ultra-luxury buyer.

Residential sellers had the upper hand in 2013. Do you expect that to continue in 2014 or do you expect that dynamic to change?

I expect the dynamic to change slightly because buyers feel that value has reached a threshold. Buyers are going to start saying no to irrationally exuberant values. So I think we are going to see a more stabilized market where the momentum will go more to the buyer and there will be more equilibrium.

Sales volume hit the second-highest level in Manhattan in 24 years in 2013’s third quarter. What are you expecting when it comes to deal volume in the coming year?

It’s going to have to slow down at some point, but I don’t see that happening over the next 12 months because of the shortage. Absorption on market-rate properties will be very quick. Good product in a strong market will always sell very quickly.

The luxury market obviously did extremely well in 2013, but some have expressed concerns that developers are now paying too much for land and banking on getting per-square-foot prices that are unrealistic. What do you expect from the luxury sector in the coming year?

I agree with that statement and I think that the luxury sector of the market is going to feel some pressure, especially where developers need to meet certain prices because of the land cost and construction cost. Any developer that is expecting prices in a neighborhood that won’t command them will be caught with their pants down.

Which sectors of the market do you expect to perform well in NYC this year?

The market that has the largest void is the affordable housing in the luxury segment — anything priced between $1.5 million and $3 million. There is a void of good quality product in that category. Anything at that price point should do better than any other segment of the market.

Which geographic areas do you expect to struggle most in NYC in the coming year?

Anywhere that is too pioneering, where they are demanding prices that are too high for the neighborhood. It will be interesting to see what Hudson Yards does, but I am very bullish on West Chelsea and Tribeca and the fringe areas around those neighborhoods. The neighborhoods that could be disappointing would be Hell’s Kitchen and pockets of the Far East side.

What are your thoughts on a residential bubble? Do you have concerns about that in the coming year?

I think certain segments are in a bubble. There is always a concern about an unforeseen event that is going to initiate a correction or adjustment.

What new, big residential projects (other than One57 and 432 Park) do you expect to generate the most buzz in the NYC residential market in the coming year?

Larry Silverstein’s Four Seasons [hotel and condo] project in the Financial District will be one to pay attention to because it’s uncharted territory where prices have not been tested.

What impact, if any, do you think the new mayoral administration will have on the residential market in the coming year?

In the next 12 months, almost none. But it will have an impact into the pipeline of product for the next five years.
01-01-2014 | The Real Deal Press

The $40 million buyer: They’re often not bold-faced names, but understated billionaires in obscure fields

Forget fame and glamour: The buyers of Manhattan’s most costly real estate are often not the boldfaced names that appear in the gossip pages.

Those spending $40 million or more on a home are seldom bankers, starlets, tech billionaires or Russian oligarchs and their children, brokers say. Instead, these big spenders often tend to have roots in the working classes, making their fortunes from manufacturing, inventions and sales.

“Everyone expects buyers at this price point to be extremely glamorous, but really they are the minority,” said Leonard Steinberg, who leads the luxury brokerage team at Douglas Elliman. “Ninety percent of buyers in the $40 million-plus range are just extremely clever people that have invested wisely, or invented something extraordinary.”

Steinberg is currently marketing a 7,250-square-foot condo penthouse at the Elad Group’s 250 West Street, for $39.5 million. And despite the apartment’s hefty price tag so far, the potential buyers coming to view the property have been largely under-the-radar players with unrecognizable names.

And while Steinberg stressed the growing influence of highly cosmopolitan foreign billionaires on the New York market —from places like China, Russia and Western Europe, as well as new wealth emerging in countries like Nigeria, South Africa and Mexico — he said Americans are still the primary buyers of this type of home.

For example, one potential buyer who recently viewed the property was a towel manufacturer. But the buyer’s fortune was not built on a recognizable name brand of bath or beach towel, nor through sales at big retail chains. Instead, she produced towels distributed exclusively at wholesale centers — hardly haute couture.

“You have to think, who invented the technology in your keyboard? Who manufactured the screws and hinges in the products all around you? Who innovated the latest medical device?” Steinberg asked.

“Buyers in this market usually aren’t people who got rich raping the system. They tend to be either ingenious or rather lucky.”

While Wall Streeters, technology millionaires, heirs and TV, movie and sports stars obviously have millions to spend, brokers say those buyers usually top out below the $40 million price point. There are, of course, exceptions — like Leslie Alexander, the billionaire owner of Houston Rockets, who snapped up a $42 million unit at 18 Gramercy Park South last year (see “A drop at the top”).

But more often than not, the $40 million-plus buyers work in obscure fields. Indeed, while senior executives at the big global banks often earn total compensation packages that come in around $20 million, in many cases much of that headline number isn’t in cash. Typically, half or even two-thirds of their total will come from restricted stock awards or options that vest over time, making their fortunes less liquid.

There are, of course, exceptions — hedger funder Bill Ackman and a group of investors are reportedly in contract for a $90 million unit at Extell Development’s One57 — but there are also more than a few New York City trophy homes listed above $40 million. In fact, approximately 30 homes in the city are currently on the market for $40 million or more, according to real estate listings website StreetEasy.

Sotheby’s International Realty’s Elizabeth Sample, who along with partner Brenda Powers has four properties listed at $50 million or above, added that there are currently at least another five off-market “whisper” listings in the same price range.

But don’t expect Hollywood glitterati or high-visibility TV and music personalities to chase those properties. Stars typically buy at lower price points.

Case in point: Judy Sheindlin, better known as “Judge Judy,” is the highest-paid TV personality in any genre, grossing $47 million a year, according to TV Guide magazine. Yet, as The Real Deal previously reported, the no-nonsense justice spent $8.5 million on her four-bedroom co-op at 14 Sutton Place South in 2013.

Other notables such as Yoko Ono, Lance Bass and Norah Jones all sold Manhattan apartments in 2013 with asking prices ranging from $2.14 million to $8.9 million. And this fall, actress Rosie O’Donnell spent $6.4 million on a Saddle River, N.J., estate.

Another misconception is that the titans of Silicon Valley are spending their hundreds of millions on urban domiciles. But think again: Steinberg says that while older tech billionaires do on occasion buy at this level, many prefer to live more organically, in smaller and more sustainable luxury homes.

As for heirs and heiresses, brokers agreed that there is often a sense of humility that keeps richly bequeathed children from spending too much all at once. Yes, there are twentysomethings like Ekaterina Rybolovleva who settled on an $88 million apartment in the exclusive 15 Central Park West.
(Her father, fertilizer magnate Dmitry Rybolovlev, reportedly bought it for her.) But many of those who inherit their fortunes tend to be more modest — and guilt-ridden about spending too much money.

“[Overall,] the common thread with buyers at this level is that they are often extremely humble,” said
Vickey Barron, associate broker at Douglas Elliman and director of sales at JDS Development and Property Markets Group’s Walker Tower in Chelsea, which is currently listing a full-floor penthouse for $47 million. “These buyers are not wound up. They tend to be gentle souls that just happen to be very successful entrepreneurs, which is refreshing and lovely to see.”

Barron said a more accurate portrait of the apartment hunter with more than $40 million to spend is a salt-of-the-earth businessperson. Sample added that in many cases, the broker is better dressed than the client, sometimes leading to embarrassing mix-ups with owners.

“If you just saw them in a coffee shop, you wouldn’t know they were rich.” Barron said. “These people care about quality, not glitz. They want to fly under the radar; they can even be a little artsy.”

Barron recounted one recent case at Walker Tower involving a T-shirt-and-jeans-wearing apartment hunter interested in one of the building’s lavish penthouse units. When she learned the origins of her client’s fortune, Barron said she was embarrassed to have never heard of the company or the product it sold.

“Their business is crazy successful, but I had no idea what in the world it was,” Barron said. “Later, I learned that it was an expensive product that you wear from a brand that does absolutely no marketing, yet sells over a million dollars worth of product each month.”

The common denominator uniting this demographic of high-end buyer is that they are self-made, according to Emily Beare, a broker at CORE.

“These buyers aren’t Harvard Business School graduates with millionaire parents. They are very savvy and very street smart,” said Beare, who listed 15 Central Park West’s first combination unit for $70 million and represented the same seller, steel magnate Leroy Schecter, in his purchase of the Rothschild Mansion on the Upper East Side for $25 million in 2012. “They like to stay low-key and they don’t want to flaunt their wealth.”

Beare even remembered one client who made a fortune manufacturing machines like the ones used to cook hot dogs in baseball parks and street carts.
01-01-2014 | The Real Deal Press

Predicting 2014: Pros weigh in on everything from de Blasio to prices, but agree that market can’t keep up with last year’s pace

Sure, nobody knows what’s actually going to happen in the New York City residential real estate market in the New Year. But it’s still fun to guess.

In this month’s Q&A, The Real Deal asked residential brokerage heads, market analysts and developers to give us their best educated guesses on everything from residential pricing to how the beginning of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s term in City Hall will impact the market.

Most seemed to be in agreement on at least one thing: the 2014 market will not be able to sustain the pace of the 2013 market. But, they said, that’s more a function of the record-setting pace of nearly every metric in 2013 than it is of the coming year.

“It’s unrealistic to expect deal volume to compete with what we just experienced, so I would lower my expectations on the future pace of contract activity and ultimately price action for 2014,” said Noah Rosenblatt, the founder of brokerage and research platform UrbanDigs.

While Rosenblatt and others said a shortage of inventory will continue into the New Year and will lift prices, some said buyers have hit their limit on price increases. That’s partly because much of the inventory that is coming on the market is being “posited toward the ultra-luxury buyer,” said Core CEO Shaun Osher, who noted that the “affordable luxury” sector —between $1.5 million and $3 million — is still seeing a void of quality product. He said anything listed in that price range this year will do well.

In addition, several sources said they didn’t expect de Blasio’s first year in office to impact market conditions immediately, partly because it will be hard for him to get anything passed in Albany because of the state elections this year. But they said, depending on what the new mayor does this year, his presence could impact the pipeline of residential product more long-term.

For more on which areas of the city are expected to do best and worst, what developers are looking out for, and what to anticipate in terms of a residential bubble, we turn to our panel of experts.
01-01-2014 | The Real Deal Press

A Drop at the Top: 2013’s priciest closed residential deals pale in comparison to 2012’s biggest sales

With the New Year underway, it’s time for a post-mortem on last year’s residential market. And in an unusual twist, industry insiders who normally rely on statistics to understand the ins-and-outs of the market are saying that it’s best to avoid the numbers when gauging how the uppermost echelon did in 2013.

That’s because while the luxury market got all the buzz last year, some of the numbers tell a different story.

Indeed, 2013’s top five Manhattan residential deals totaled $162.13 million, a 47 percent drop from 2012’s $306.5 million. In addition, the highs weren’t so high: the most expensive closed sale was the $42 million purchase of a sponsor unit at 18 Gramercy Park, compared with the $88 million sale of financier Sanford Weill’s apartment at 15 Central Park West in 2012.

Considering this data, it may seem as though the residential market took a dip last year.
However, most of the year’s priciest sales — including a transaction reportedly in excess of $90 million — won’t actually close until well into 2014, brokers told The Real Deal.

Those deals are expected to break records.

The reason that they’re slow to hit the tape? Those priciest deals are predominantly in new-development condominiums in which closings have not yet begun. So, with the exception of the $42 million deal, most of 2013’s top deals were resales, which are traditionally less pricey than brand-new product, or condominiums that hit the market in 2012.

It is also symptomatic of the lack of available high-end properties, brokers said.

“I would have to assume that the [drop in the numbers] is a function of available inventory and does not necessarily represent a shift in buyer motivation or an exhaustion of the buyer pool,” said Tim Crowley, a broker with Flank Brokerage, the brokerage arm of the development and architecture firm by the same name, who sold the third priciest deal of the year. “There have been contracts signed this year in mega Midtown projects like One57 [at 157 West 57th Street] and 432 Park Avenue that prove this point.”

Those Midtown contracts, which are set to close this year and into 2015, will provide the true and final accounting of how well the market performed in both 2012 and 2013, Crowley noted. (Some of the pending sales at One57 went into contract in 2012.)

Still, not everyone is confident that the demand for units priced above $5,000 per square foot, the norm at towers like One57 and 432 Park Avenue, will continue at the level needed to absorb the supply. Indeed, developers, encouraged by the appetite for those units in the last two years, have brought more of those high-priced residences to market in the last year than in recent memory. Despite the overall inventory shortage, there were nearly twice as many units that came to market asking above $5,000 a foot in 2013 than in 2012, according to data from CityRealty.

“Developers are using One57 and 432 Park as benchmarks for 2014, but it’s difficult to know how deep that market is,” said Emily Beare, a luxury broker at CORE. “One building in a neighborhood does not necessarily make a market.”

Beare, whose $70 million listing at 15 Central Park West was taken off the market in the fall, noted that the $88 million sale last year at 15 Central Park West, the record-setting condo project developed by Arthur and William Lie Zeckendorf, had created an irrational frenzy in the market.

“Once sellers realized that the sale did not truly reflect the market, prices [for comparable listings] came down as much as 25 percent. The sale was an example of the right buyer at the right time,” she said.

But while 2013’s top five closed deals maybe not have matched the deals that went into contract the prior year, they were not shabby, either.

Read on for a closer look at which units made the cut.
01-01-2014 | Luxury Listings NYC Press

Time for Change

Last year was a historic one for New York City real estate, with price records shattered and the luxury market on fire.

Hedge funder Bill Ackman and a group of investors reportedly paid more than $90 million for a unit at Extell Development’s luxury condo tower One57. If the sale closes at that price, it will set a record for the most expensive Manhattan condominium.

With a new mayor and a slew of luxury condos coming to the market, what can we expect this year? Read on for a look at some key issues.

Interest rate jitters

Speculation that the Federal Reserve could begin to wind down its signature easy-money program has renewed buyers’ sense of urgency to take advantage of historically low rates before the cost of borrowing shoots up.

The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate loan is currently hovering around 4.6 percent, but experts predict rates could reach as high as 6 percent this year.

Over the past few months, there’s been an uptick in buying—which was already going strong, despite the relative lack of inventory—as interest rates have inched up, said Jordan Roth, a senior branch manager at GFI Mortgage Bankers, a residential mortgage provider in Manhattan.

“If rates had stayed where they were in the first part of 2013, buyers might have stayed on the sidelines,” he said. “Now, we’re seeing people get into the game.”

The de Blasio agenda

Many people are watching to see which of Mayor de Blasio’s real estate-related issues he raised on the campaign trail gets tackled first.

More affordable housing is likely on the way: On the mayor’s agenda is mandatory inclusionary zoning, which would change the rules on affordable housing for developers.

At the moment, many residential projects are planned as 80/20 buildings—a program through which developers receive tax-exempt financing in exchange for making 20 percent of their units affordable—though de Blasio may change that ratio for new residential developments.

The condo concern

Luxury super-towers One57 and 432 Park Avenue hogged headlines last year. Now we’ll see if the batch of high-end projects conceived in the wake of those two high-profile condos can survive.
“Developers are looking at those projects as benchmarks, but they’re on a different playing field,” said Shaun Osher, CEO of real estate brokerage CORE, who predicts that new units coming to market with exaggerated price tags will linger. “Buyers are not going to be foolish.”

Among the most anticipated projects set to go up in Midtown is JDS’ so-called “skinny” tower at 107 West 57th Street, which is slated to rise to 1,350 feet, and the 1,423-foot glassy skyscraper Extell is building at 225 West 57th Street.

The renewal of Seward Park

Big changes are coming to the Lower East Side, which will see a 1.65-million-square-foot, mixed-use project in and around Seward Park, slightly north of East Broadway.

The six-acre site is the largest swath of undeveloped city-owned land in Manhattan below 96th Street.

The project will include 1,000 units of housing (half of which must be permanently affordable) as well as a 15,000-square-foot open space, a school, a community center, 250,000 square feet of office property and a mix of retail spaces.

“Smart people are buying in the area before this is built,” said Stephen Kliegerman, president of Halstead Property Development Marketing. “This is potentially the most exciting mass new development to happen in the city. You’re going to see values in that area jump by 50 percent over the next five years.”

Other large-scale projects to watch: South Street Seaport, the World Trade Center site and Hudson Yards, which is rising on the far West Side.
01-01-2014 | Luxury Listings NYC Press

Aiming High

Basketballer Paul Pierce scored a full-floor loft at Franklin tower, at 90 Franklin Street. The 5,000-square-foot rental—with four bedrooms and a wood-burning fireplace—was asking $35,000 per month. The building is also home to Mariah Carey, who owns the penthouse.
01-01-2014 | Luxury Listings NYC Press

NYC's Premier Properties: 131 West 24th Street, #5/6

131 West 24th Street, #5/6 in Chelsea - $5,000,000

Co-op: 12 rooms, 5 beds, 3 baths | Amenities: Pets Allowed, Storage Available, Hot Tub
Maintenance: $1,300 | Listing ID: S1052972

Magnificent 4,200 square foot duplex loft now available. The home's flexible layout is currently configured with five bedrooms. Listed at CORE by the Patrick Lilly Team, 212-612-9681, patricklillyteam@corenyc.com.
01-01-2014 | Leverage Lookbook Press

Put it to Use in New York

"New York is a true melting pot of culinary, cultural, financial, social and creative people, where the cream can rise to the top! The dining scene here is particularly special, and because of the abundance and convenience of incredible restaurants in New York, most people eat out. However, lately, I've started to see a trend in more people actually using their kitchens for functional purposes rather than just looking at them like a piece of furniture." --Shaun Osher, CORE
01-01-2014 | Leverage Lookbook Press

Greenwich Village Gem

23 Downing Street, $8,995,000
01-01-2014 | Leverage Lookbook Press

Magnificent Uptown Townhouse

135 West 69th Street -- $12,000,000
01-01-2014 | Leverage Lookbook Press

Razzle Dazzle: Colin Cowie's Manhattan Marvel

"It reeks of chic," says event planner to the stars Colin Cowie, of the duplex penthouse he has put on the market for $5.75 million. The 15-story modern edifice of limestone and gray brick -- named The Emory and located in Manhattan's historic Flatiron district -- is by Morris Adjmi Architects. Cowie closed on the top two units in 2009 and proceeded to customize the resulting nearly 3,000-square-foot space into a glamorous couture haven where he could host his legendary parties. The apartment, available with furnishings for an additional sum, is awash in materials and surfaces that emanate shimmer and shine.
12-27-2013 | Fox Business Press

Money Talker

The Wall Street Journal’s Veronica Dagher, Jarrod Guy Randolph and communications expert Rachel D’Alto on the impact of work on one’s health.
12-27-2013 | The Real Deal Press

2013 Was Great for NYC Condos — But Can it Last?

While this year has been hailed as having a near-perfect confluence of factors driving New York City residential real estate, some industry leaders are predicting it could pass.
Rising demand for sparse Manhattan condominiums combined with a no-holds-barred attitude towards luxury development has shattered records, with the average contract price exploding 60 percent in the third quarter of 2013 to a record $3.43 million, according to the Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group.

Meanwhile, the number of new units coming online in Manhattan is still below the average, according to Corcoran Sunshine. In 2013, 49 residential buildings with a total of 2,269 units opened in Manhattan, south of Harlem, compared to 30 buildings with 1,309 units in the previous year, Corcoran Sunshine said.

And a rise in building permit applications, to 3,339 filed in the first 10 months of this year, up from 2,328 in all of 2012, has the market looking up since the days of 2010.
Not surprisingly, new condos are getting scooped up. For example, at least 90 percent of the 125-unit NoMad condos at 10 Madison Square West are under contract, and the 66-unit Leonard at 101 Leonard Street in Tribeca was 80 percent sold two months after opening, the New York Times reported.

However not everyone thinks the flurry of new development is a good thing. Shaun Osher, CEO of real estate brokerage CORE, voiced concerns to the Times that the pool of buyers may not be deep enough to snap up high-end condos that lack value.

“Buyers are not going to be irrational in their purchases,” Osher told the Times. “I think there will be a pushback to price-per-square-foot numbers that don’t meet the quality or location of the product.”
12-27-2013 | The New York Times Press

In 2013, the High End Ruled

Rising demand and a record shortage of apartment listings set the stage for a seller’s market in 2013. But new development stole the spotlight.

After a four-year dry spell, a crop of new luxury condominiums aimed at the superrich opened in Manhattan and were snapped up faster and at prices surpassing those attained before the recession.

The total number of new development contracts jumped 20 percent, to 1,847, through the third quarter of 2013, compared with the same period last year, as wealthy buyers rushed to sign contracts for apartments still in the construction phase, according to the Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group.

For the same period the average contract price surged nearly 60 percent, to a record $3.43 million from $2.16 million, surpassing the previous new-development high of $2.21 million in the third quarter of 2008. And the pace of sales was rapid-fire, underscoring the strength of demand for Manhattan condos built for the upper echelons.

“Newly introduced development absorbed far faster than anyone could have predicted,” said Kelly Kennedy Mack, the president of Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group. “Extremely compelling properties, limited supply and a hungry pool of both domestic and international buyers drove rapid sales.”

Just 49 residential buildings opened in Manhattan in 2013, not counting Harlem and Upper Manhattan, with a total of 2,269 units, according to Corcoran Sunshine. That’s more than the 1,309 units across 30 buildings that came to market last year. But it’s still below historical averages of about 3,000 units normally required to meet demand, Corcoran Sunshine found. During the boom of 2007, 8,052 new units were listed.

Developers focused on ultra-high-end condos with every conceivable amenity to justify the expense of building amid surging land costs. In early December there were 256 listings for less than $2 million in new condo developments, down from more than 2,000 at the end of 2008. By contrast, there were 458 for more than $2 million, down from 1,129 about five years ago.

In many cases, prices met or exceeded expectations, particularly in the downtown market, where about 260 deals over $7 million took place, compared with 80 in 2012, with the majority in new developments.

Among the most talked-about buildings was 56 Leonard, a 145-unit TriBeCa tower by Alexico Group and Hines that was shelved during the recession, only to open to enormous interest earlier this year. More than 90 percent of its units were sold within nine months, at an average price of $3,200 a square foot.

In June, a penthouse at 56 Leonard went into contract for $47 million, a new high for a condo sale downtown. But it was soon outdone by a $50-million-plus penthouse atop Walker Tower, a newly converted luxury condominium in Chelsea.

Stories abounded of condos flying off the shelves. A luxury condominium developed by the Witkoff Group in the West Village, 150 Charles Street, had found buyers for all 91 luxury apartments just six weeks after sales opened in February. The average price was $3,400 a square foot, according to Susan M. de França, the president of Douglas Elliman Development Marketing, which handled the sales.

“We had a list of hundreds of individuals that were waiting for the property to be launched,” Ms. de França said. “We never even featured an advertisement.”

In NoMad, another Witkoff project, 10 Madison Square West, a 125-unit condominium conversion, had similar success, with nearly 90 percent of its one- to five-bedroom residences in contract within five months of opening sales in July. That included the penthouse, which was never officially listed but went into contract for about $36.5 million in under 90 days.

In TriBeCa, the Leonard, a 66-unit condo conversion at 101 Leonard Street by Bizzi & Partners Development, was more than 80 percent sold within two months of its July opening. Just three units are left, including a three-bedroom for about $3 million and a four-bedroom penthouse with a private rooftop terrace for $7.5 million.

The Jefferson, a project by CBSK Ironstate, was the only condo to open in the East Village this year. Its 82 units were priced from $795,000 to $3.595 million; the final contract was signed earlier this month.

The frenetic sales activity wasn’t limited to downtown. Sales began earlier this year at 432 Park Avenue, a Midtown luxury condominium developed by CIM Group and Macklowe Properties. When completed in 2015, it will be the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere. Half of its 104 units are in contract, for roughly $1 billion in potential sales, including a $95 million penthouse that will set a price record if it closes.

On the Upper West Side, the sales campaign at 101 West 87 Street, a 62-unit condominium by Bazbaz Development that opened in January, lasted just seven and half months, with the $7.6 million penthouse among the first units to go.

One Riverside Park, an Extell Development project overlooking the Hudson at 50 Riverside Boulevard, opened sales last month. Already half of the 219 units are in contract.

Although new development started its comeback in 2012, with sales velocity and prices rising in a market starved for fresh inventory, the pace only accelerated in 2013. “It wasn’t until this year when we saw new development was achieving success on such a widespread scale,” said Ms. Mack of Corcoran Sunshine. “New development was not only really back, but performing at a level not seen before.”

How long the frenzy can continue is anyone’s guess. Too many high-end units coming to market at the same time could lead to a softening. “Buyers are not going to be irrational in their purchases,” said Shaun Osher, the chief executive of the brokerage firm CORE in Manhattan. “I think there will be a pushback to price-per-square-foot numbers that don’t meet the quality or location of the product.”

Building permits for new developments are on the rise. Permits were filed for 3,399 units in Manhattan through the first 10 months of the year, as opposed to 2,328 for all of last year, according to the latest census figures.

The outlook has certainly improved since 2010, when Manhattan permits were filed for just 704 units, amid a lack of financing that squelched further growth. Yet even if all the permits filed for Manhattan this year were to translate into new units, said Gregory J. Heym, the chief economist at Brown Harris Stevens and Halstead Property, “you would still have what would be considered a neutral market.”
“This pipeline,” he said, “it can’t come fast enough.”

The Big Ticket

The pricing of resale apartments and townhouses clung to the stratosphere in 2013, and the luxury market was active, but most buyers did not let trophy properties entice them into sticker-shock territory.

The handful of residences priced for resale above $100 million, along with those priced above $50 million, lingered unsold as of mid-December, according to city records.

The most expensive sale to close this year was for $43 million: a former shoe warehouse at 144 Duane Street in TriBeCa. Built as a department store in 1862 and now destined to become a posh 21st-century family compound, it clocked in at $45 million less than the record-shattering $88 million paid last year for Sanford I. Weill’s penthouse at 15 Central Park West. It was also $7 million behind the 2012 runner-up, an 11th-floor co-op with 70 feet of Central Park frontage at 944 Fifth Avenue that sold at year’s end for its full $50 million asking price.

But the sale of 144 Duane Street, a historic limestone building that hit the market in 2011 for $45 million — and climbed to $49.5 million in 2012 — did establish, albeit temporarily, a downtown record. Tricked out with 23,100 square feet of residential space, including a triplex penthouse and a basement basketball court, it nudged just ahead of the pristine $42 million duplex penthouse at 18 Gramercy Park South for which Leslie Alexander, the billionaire owner of the Houston Rockets basketball team, paid the full asking price.
The lavishly appointed 6,300-square-foot PH17 on the 17th and 18th floors has four terraces and a heated infinity pool among its amenities.

There was no lack of variety at the top: the year’s third-most-expensive resale, at $34.35 million, was the Ellen Shipman Biddle house at 21 Beekman Place, an appealing century-old Turtle Bay townhouse named for the renowned landscape architect who lived there from 1919 to 1946.

The elegant brick house, restored in 2008 and priced at $48.5 million in 2012, set a record for a 20-foot-wide townhouse ($4,754 per square foot) when it was bought last summer by the State of Qatar, presumably as a diplomatic residence.

The restoration-ready Walter N. Rothschild Mansion at 41 East 70th Street finished in fourth place at $32 million, and a chic combination that created an 8,500-square-foot triplex penthouse at the Abingdon, at 320 West 12th Street, rounded out an eclectic Top 5 of closed sales at $29.78 million.

“I look at 2013 as a bit of an anomaly,” said Jonathan J. Miller, the president of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel. “All of the year’s records set by property type — co-op, condo and townhouse — were actually lower than last year’s records, yet the luxury market has not weakened. There is a randomness to pricing at the very top, and aside from trophy sales, price trends for the overall market were fairly mundane over the year, despite record low inventory.”

Two of the most prolific new developments were luxury reinterpretations of downtown antiques: 18 Gramercy Park closed 10 of its 16 spacious prewar-themed residences for an aggregate return of just over $187 million ($4,208 per square foot) for the sponsors, Zeckendorf Development and Global Holdings. In Chelsea, the sponsors of Walker Tower at 212 West 18th Street, JDS Development Group and the Property Markets Group, announced 22 closed sales, with three more scheduled before the end of the year, for a total of $226,904,290 (this does not include its most expensive units, a pair of penthouses for $55 million and $47.5 million).

Although 2013 was not a year of blockbuster closings, big money was in motion — a flurry of contractual commitments for extraordinarily expensive condos in as-yet unfinished luxury developments. Downtown at 56 Leonard Street, Penthouse 60, at the jagged pinnacle of the building, is in contract for $47 million; PH1 at Walker Tower is in contract just under its rather bold $55 million asking price and poised to break the downtown record upon closure.

In Midtown, where Central Park views authorize premium price points, 432 Park Avenue announced the signing of a $95 million contract for the top-floor penthouse, and at Extell Development’s juggernaut tower, One57, more than 10 condos priced above $45 million are under contract, two for more than $90 million. One57 is more than 70 percent sold, with total projected sales exceeding $2 billion.
At that rate, One57 appears to be positioning itself as next year’s “It” development. And if the avalanche of trophy contracts signed all over town in 2013 translate into closed sales, 2014 may well earn the sobriquet of the year of the splurge.

ROBIN FINN

Landmarks

The seemingly endless debate about whether a landmark designation hurts real estate values continued bubbling in 2013, even as the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission designated two new districts and one extension in the fiscal year ending in June, and began preparing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the city’s landmarks law starting in 2015.

In the fiscal year that ended in June, the commission approved the East Village/Lower East Side Historic District; the West End-Collegiate Historic District Extension, roughly along West End Avenue between 70th and 79th Streets; and the Bedford-Stuyvesant/Expanded Stuyvesant Heights Historic District in Brooklyn. In the current fiscal year, the commission is to vote on the Harrison Street Historic District on Staten Island and the Central Ridgewood Historic District in Queens. The South Village Historic District, a 13-block area north of West Houston Street, was approved unanimously on Dec. 17.

Public hearings have been held on the Riverside-West End Historic District Extension II; the Crown Heights North III Historic District in Brooklyn and the Bedford Historic District, also in Brooklyn; and the Douglaston Historic District Extension in Queens.

The Real Estate Board of New York, known by its acronym Rebny, continued to be vocal in citing the downsides of historic designation.
In a June report, Rebny stated that more than one in four properties in Manhattan are protected as landmarks, and argued that designation as a historic district “effectively prohibits the full development potential of underdeveloped sites.” The report also stated that “there are numerous cases where properties with no historic value like vacant lots, parking lots and gas stations are included in the designation of a historic district.”

“There are many occasions when we’ve been supportive of landmark designation,” said Michael Slattery, Rebny’s senior vice president for research. “For example, the extension of the Park Slope District and the area in Chelsea where the Underground Railroad was. Where the process breaks down is when the quality of buildings is not up to standards — for example, when a district includes too many no-style buildings.”

In response, Elisabeth de Bourbon, the commission’s director of communications, said: “What critics don’t take into account are issues like neighborhood stability and neighborhood pride. Those sorts of benefits cannot be measured.”

Mitchell Moss, a professor of urban policy and planning at New York University, says both viewpoints have certain merits.
“On the one hand,” Professor Moss said, “some protected areas, like the proposed South Village extension, are of questionable historical identity. On the other hand, in many protected areas, landmarking has not been an impediment to development. Designation hasn’t stopped development in NoHo or West Chelsea. In many areas, landmarking has encouraged intelligent development. Dumbo is one of the great successes of landmarking.”

Ingrid Gould Ellen, the director of the urban planning program at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University and a director of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University, points out that the Rebny reports study only Manhattan. “Both camps are focused on Manhattan,” said Professor Ellen, noting that designation might have a very different impact in Manhattan than on the rest of the city. In addition, she said, “the challenge for any study of historic district designation is that it’s always difficult to know what would have happened in the absence of a designation.”

The goal, in her view, should be a broader conversation about land use. “We need to balance the goal of increasing new construction and that of preserving the city’s cultural heritage,” she said.

CONSTANCE ROSENBLUM
12-26-2013 | Real Estate Weekly Press

CORE - Another Record at One Museum Mile

One Museum Mile, the new residential condominium at 1280 Fifth Avenue on Central Park in Manhattan, has reached 90 percent closed and in contract.

The development has closed 33 sales in the past six months totaling more than $65 million, announced CORE, the exclusive sales and marketing firm for the building.

Recent sales include a three-bedroom that closed for $3.745 million or $2,133 psf, the highest price per square foot ever achieved for an apartment in the neighborhood.

The sale broke the previous record held by another three-bedroom apartment at One Museum Mile, which sold for $2,030 psf.

“This milestone is as much a testament to this exquisite Robert A.M. Stern building as it is to the transformation of perception. At the top of Central Park, this is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the city,” said Tom Postilio, CORE’s director of sales for One Museum Mile.

“We have again toppled our previous record pricing. This neighborhood is not emerging — it is blossoming.”

Among the remaining units are a one-bedroom, 1,200 s/f unit with private terrace offered at $1.395 million. Two-bedrooms with Central Park views start at $1.725 million, and three-bedroom homes start at $1.895 million.