How to price trophy properties

Herald- TribuneJuly 30, 2012
The heady prices of some recent transactions -- including $88 million for a penthouse at 15 Central Park West in New York City and the more than $90 million contract for a penthouse at One57 -- are emboldening some owners to test the market with sky-high price tags.

Or, as Shaun Osher, the chief executive of CORE, likes to say, "A lot of high-end buyers and sellers want to get on the gilded bandwagon."

Because of these intoxicating numbers, brokers say a new handful of properties in Manhattan are about to come on the market with listing prices of $90 million or more.

In Miami, too, trophy condominiums and single-family homes are being listed and sold for record numbers.

On paper, a good part of the optimism is based on economic problems elsewhere in the world that have led buyers to high-end real estate as a financial safe haven from stagnant stock markets, low-return bank accounts and onerous tax regimes.

But precisely how do brokers set these prices, particularly since many of the usual formulas and calculations do not add up?

As it turns out, pricing so-called trophy properties is an art, not a science.

"What makes a trophy property is the fact that it really is an intangible, priceless object, like a piece of art," Osher said. "This part of the market is not a rational decision, it is an emotional one."

Those intangibles include a subjective measurement of factors like building quality, views, ceiling heights, finishes, light, air and layout.
Square footage and outdoor space are factored in, as are the history and "pedigree" of the building, brokers say.

Cathy Franklin, a broker at Brown Harris Stevens, says she typically brings in four to six of her peers to help her price a property.

"You always have to look at views," she said. "You could see double or triple the price with an apartment with views versus one that doesn't have views."

Jonathan J. Miller, the president of Miller Samuel, a real estate appraisal firm, doesn't think the soaring asking prices are based on much more than a high-end herd mentality.

"If they got it, I am going to get it," the thinking goes, Miller said. "It is all ego management."

Within the appraisal industry there is a term for listings based on loose associations to reality, he said: "P.F.A.," which stands for "Pulled From Air."

"Take the highest sale you can find and apply some methodology in a very subjective way to talk yourself up to this bigger number," Miller added.

Some analysts believe the sale of Sanford I. Weill's one-of-a-kind penthouse, at 15 Central Park West, to Ekaterina Rybolovleva has set a new benchmark, at more than $13,000 a square foot.

"They are citing it constantly," Osher said.

No subsequent sale has yet reached much more than $10,000 a square foot, but brokers and appraisers say they believe the Weill-Rybolovleva benchmark has allowed prices to soar higher.

Meanwhile, buzz and bravado often go a long way for a property.

Nick and Christian Candy, the brothers behind the One Hyde Park development in London, caught the attention of the real estate world when they set several high-water marks in that city with sales above $10,900 a square foot.

They built a development tailor-made for the tastes and whims of jet-setting billionaires, said Peter Bevan, head of the Mayfair office of U.K. Sotheby's International Realty, persuading buyers with "rarity, quality of finish, facilities, services" and a "take it or leave it" attitude.

Brokers in New York have been looking at One Hyde Park as an example of how one development can set new records.

"Here, everybody is speaking about that project," Franklin said.

But success ultimately may depend in part on how many other trophy properties are on the market.

Osher, for instance, said he believes there were still 15 to 20 such trophy properties in Manhattan that have not traded hands recently, with new ones, like the $50 million penthouse at Walker Tower in Chelsea, starting to become available.

Franklin, the Brown Harris Stevens broker, thinks there could be as many as 30 properties available, if the owners of rare Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue penthouse co-ops decided to sell.

But will international buyers become turned off by the aggressive pricing of New York and Miami real estate?

If there is something brokers agree on, Osher said, it is that "there are more billionaires in the world than trophy properties."

But Howard Lorber, the chairman of Prudential Douglas Elliman, a prominent brokerage, says the well-heeled are not fools, either.

"The dream of every person that has something to sell is coming up with some international person that is going to pay substantially higher than what the market really is," he said.

"I always tell them that if those people did that, they wouldn't be rich, and they wouldn't be able to afford to buy such an apartment."

The Scoop on New Development

The Huffington PostJuly 24, 2012
In 2008, we saw the peak of housing permits issued in New York City and with it, the peak of new construction. Over the past few years, it seems developers, along with everyone else, have been unsure where the market was heading and consequently highly reluctant to take on any new projects.

This is absolutely evident from the number of new development listings currently on the market, down 20 percent last quarter from the previous year. But, with tight inventory across Manhattan and a plethora of buyers clamoring for high-end new construction, developers across the city are finally starting to get the message. According to the most recent us census data there where 4,059 new residential permits issued in NYC through the first five months of 2012. As a total this represents a 39.4 percent increase over the same period in 2011. While it is still a 58 percent decline from the peak in 2008 when there were 9,723 units permits issued, we are now going to see many more new development projects on the horizon. January to May 2012, Manhattan alone issued 1,422 permits, which was almost 10 times the 146 permits issued during the same period in 2011.

There has been a lot of talk about the new developments hitting the market; we've seen some amazing things including some record-breaking sales. As we all know the world has changed and so have the concepts for some of these developments. I am hearing about a lot of high-end projects hitting the market. If you think about it there have not been a ton of super high-end homes that have been developed. There have been really really nice finishes but not necessarily to the level you would use if you were picking the materials yourself. However that is rapidly changing. You can see this trend toward uber-luxury in the new Walker Tower (in what was the Verizon building) and Extell's One57. Crestron systems (a complete home remote control system), heated floors, high-end central heating/air conditioning systems, French herringbone oak flooring, and marble bathrooms with Waterworks fixtures, are just the some of the bells and whistles in these highly sought after buildings. I can't imagine the people who are buying here will rip out anything and start new, as I have seen happen in many cases over the last 10 years. And there's only more coming. I'm watching new developments closely and here are some of my favorites that will be hitting the market soon:

11 East 68th St

150 Charles St

301 East 50th St

290 West St

445 Lafayette St

Brokers expect more $90M-plus listingsBrokers expect more $90M-plus listings

The Real DealJuly 20, 2012
It’s been more than seven months since reports of the $88 million sale of Sanford Weill’s 15 Central Park West penthouse emerged, yet, combined with the recent $90 million-plus contract on a One57 penthouse and Steve Wynn’s $70 million purchase at the Ritz-Carlton, it continues to reverberate through the city’s real estate market. Brokers told the New York Times that they expect a slew of high-priced homes, including a handful asking more than $90 million, to hit the market in the near future.

“A lot of high-end buyers and sellers want to get on the gilded bandwagon,” Core CEO Shaun Osher told the Times. Sellers figure that with much of the globe mired in financial troubles, the world’s wealthiest are looking for investments in high-end cities, like New York.

But for the brokers listing these properties, setting an asking price can prove difficult. They factor in building qualities, views, ceiling heights, finishes, layout, and outdoor space. However, it’s still largely based on emotion, not ration.

As appraiser Jonathan Miller told the Times, sellers “take the highest sale [they] can find and apply some methodology in a very subjective way to talk [themselves] up to this bigger number.”

Though there are more billionaires in the world than trophy apartments, Prudential Douglas Elliman Chairman Howard Lorber said brokers must remind sellers who look to billionaires to pay above-market prices that those prospective buyers didn’t make their money by overestimating markets.

Shooting for the moon

The New York TimesJuly 20, 2012
A crowd is gathering around the silver punch bowl.

The heady prices of some recent transactions — including the $88 million sale of a penthouse at 15 Central Park West, the contract to sell a penthouse at One57 for more than $90 million and the recent $70 million sale of a duplex penthouse above the Ritz-Carlton to the casino magnate Steve Wynn — are emboldening owners to think this is the moment to see if some sky-high price tags will entice rather than scare off potential buyers. Or as Shaun Osher, the chief executive of CORE, likes to say, “A lot of high-end buyers and sellers want to get on the gilded bandwagon.”

Because of these intoxicating numbers, brokers say that a new handful of properties in Manhattan are about to come on the market with listing prices of $90 million or more.

They are also partying in Miami, where apartments and single-family homes in and around Miami Beach are being listed and sold for record numbers.

Is this wishful thinking on the part of property owners, or do they have reasons for their surging confidence to start setting prices that would have been considered outrageous only two years ago?

On paper, a good part of their optimism is based on economic problems elsewhere in the world that have sent buyers — and there are a lot of billionaires out there ready to wire over the cash — rushing to high-end real estate in cities like New York and Miami as a financial safe haven from stagnant stock markets, low-return bank accounts and onerous tax regimes.

That helps explain a lot of the frenzy, but precisely how do brokers set these prices, particularly since, at this level, a lot of the usual formulas and back-of-the-envelope calculations don’t add up?

As brokers tried to beat into my head this week, the pricing of so-called trophy properties is an art, not a science.

“What makes a trophy property is the fact that it really is an intangible, priceless object, like a piece of art,” Mr. Osher said. “This part of the market is not a rational decision, it is an emotional one.”

Those intangibles include a subjective measurement of factors like building quality, views, ceiling heights, finishes, light, air and layout. Square footage and outdoor space are factored in, as are the history and “pedigree” of the building, brokers say.

Cathy Franklin, a broker at Brown Harris Stevens, says she typically brings in four to six of her peers to help her price a property. “You always have to look at views,” she said. “You could see double or triple the price with an apartment with views versus one that doesn’t have views.”

Brokers try to rein in owners’ often lofty expectations. But they acknowledge that they haven’t cornered the market on wisdom, either. Howard Lorber, the chairman of Prudential Douglas Elliman, recalled a situation a few years ago in which he helped someone sell a house in the Hamptons. He told the seller it was worth $27 million or $28 million. The seller wanted $35 million. They agreed to list it at $33 million. “The first offer was $31 or $32 million,” Mr. Lorber said. “When I called the owner with the offer, they hung up on me.”

Jonathan J. Miller, the president of Miller Samuel, a real estate appraiser, doesn’t think the soaring asking prices are based on much more than a high-end herd mentality. “If they got it, I am going to get it,” the thinking goes, according to him. “It is all ego management.”

Within the appraisal industry there is a term for listings based on loose associations to reality, he said: “P.F.A.,” or “Pulled From Air.” As Mr. Miller explains it, “Take the highest sale you can find and apply some methodology in a very subjective way to talk yourself up to this bigger number.”

Of course, most people need appraisals to get mortgages, but not the rich. They pay cash.

With few comparable sales to go by, many would-be owners in New York are thinking P.F.A. They continue to see the sale of Sanford I. Weill’s one-of-a-kind penthouse at 15 Central Park West to Ekaterina Rybolovleva as a new benchmark at more than $13,000 a square foot. “They are citing it constantly,” Mr. Osher said. No subsequent sale has yet reached much more than $10,000 a square foot, but brokers and appraisers say they believe the benchmark has allowed prices to soar higher.

Some in the industry don’t see the seeming obsession with the $88 million sale as a bad thing. “It lifts the whole high end,” Mr. Lorber said. Mr. Osher, on the other hand, believes it is having a “negative ripple effect,” because “not all apartments in that building are created equal.”

Leroy Schecter, the steel magnate, was set to test that theory last week. He was planning to list his 15 Central Park West home — two apartments that take up the entire 35th floor of the building’s south tower — for $95 million, which would have been the highest-priced listing in the building. Last year he tried to sell the uncombined residences together for $55 million.

Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees previously rented one of the apartments from the 85-year-old Mr. Schecter, who has pledged to give 90 percent of his wealth to charity.

Mr. Schecter was in the process of combining and renovating the apartments but decided to halt the process and put the property on the market uncompleted. The idea was for Mr. Schecter to pay to finish the apartment to the buyer’s specifications, said Beth McBride, a spokeswoman for CORE. “It will be interesting to find a buyer at this price point that has an imagination and is willing to buy off of floor plans,” she said last week.

This week Mr. Schecter decided not to list the residence — for now. A Schecter Foundation spokeswoman did not return a call seeking further explanation.

Still, buzz and bravado can go a long way. Nick and Christian Candy, the brothers behind the One Hyde Park development in London, caught the attention of the world when they set several high-water marks in that city, topping off above £7,000 a square foot ($10,900 a square foot). They built a development tailor-made for the tastes and whims of jet-setting billionaires, said Peter Bevan, head of the Mayfair office of U.K. Sotheby’s International Realty, persuading buyers with “rarity, quality of finish, facilities, services” and a “take it or leave it” attitude.

Brokers in New York have been looking at One Hyde Park as an example of how one development can set new records. “Here everybody is speaking about that project,” Ms. Franklin said.

But as more people throng around the punch bowl, their success may depend in part on how many of their trophy properties are on the market.

Mr. Osher said he believed there were still 15 to 20 such properties in Manhattan that haven’t traded hands recently, with new ones, like the $50 million penthouse at Walker Tower in Chelsea, starting to become available. Ms. Franklin thinks there could be as many as 30 properties if owners of rare Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue penthouse co-ops decided to sell.

Will international buyers whom brokers in Manhattan and Miami so covet these days get turned off by the aggressive pricing?

If there is something brokers agree on, as Mr. Osher said, it is that “there are more billionaires in the world than trophy properties.”

But Mr. Lorber says they aren’t fools, either.

“The dream of every person that has something to sell is coming up with some international person that is going to pay substantially higher than what the market really is,” he said. “I always tell them that if those people did that, they wouldn’t be rich, and they wouldn’t be able to afford to buy an apartment.”

Behind the Scenes: Kevin Jonas at One Museum Mile

Kevin Jonas CentralJuly 20, 2012
We’re not the only admirers of the views from One Museum Mile: The new Fifth Avenue luxury development has also caught the eye of editors at the glossy magazines. Last week the building had a brush with fame as Kevin Jonas (of the Jonas Brothers) and his wife Danielle took part in a cover photo shoot for Social Life magazine, which will hit newsstands soon. The couple will soon star in the reality show “Married to Jonas” on the E! Network. As you can see from the photos above, the shoot wasn’t limited to the apartments — the young Mr. and Mrs. Jonas even took a dip in the rooftop pool while fully clothed. That’s one way to beat a New York heatwave! For more on One Museum Mile, click here.


Jonas WorldJuly 20, 2012
We’re not the only admirers of the views from One Museum Mile: The new Fifth Avenue luxury development has also caught the eye of editors at the glossy magazines. Last week the building had a brush with fame as Kevin Jonas (of the Jonas Brothers) and his wife Danielle took part in a cover photo shoot for Social Life magazine, which will hit newsstands soon. The couple will soon star in the reality show “Married to Jonas” on the E! Network. As you can see from the photos above, the shoot wasn’t limited to the apartments — the young Mr. and Mrs. Jonas even took a dip in the rooftop pool while fully clothed. That’s one way to beat a New York heatwave! For more on One Museum Mile, click here.

Manhattan Sellers Hop On the Money Train: Three Listings Over $20 M. in One Day - 2012-07-20

The New York ObserverJuly 20, 2012
It seems that all the money flowing through Manhattan’s luxury market these days is encouraging owners of extravagant abodes to try and cash in. After all, buyers keep signing decadent deed after decadent deed, even with the dog days of summer approaching.

Today, three properties hit the market in the $20 million to $29 million range. Which, after the recent debut of a $50 million listing at the Ritz-Carlton and the impending debut of Walker Tower’s $50 million penthouse listing, seems almost modest. And, according to The New York Times, we should all brace ourselves for the arrival of some more listings in the $90 million range in the near future.

As Shaun Osher, the chief executive of CORE told The Times: “A lot of high-end buyers and sellers want to get on the gilded bandwagon.”

Well, hop on! The most expensive listing of the day is a six-bedroom duplex penthouse at 1125 Park Avenue that is asking $29 million. A combined unit made from apartments 15 and 16A, the co-op boasts some 6,000 square feet. Apparently, after an extensive renovation to combine the two units, the owners decided that they no longer wanted “the ultimate Park Avenue penthouse,” as the listing held by Prudential Douglas Elliman broker Sabrina Saltiel boasts.

So what does $29 million get you these days? A master bedroom that is “a private sanctuary” with wood burning fireplace, own sitting room, marble bath, mahogany-lined double dressing room, walk-in closet and our favorite amenity of all: “endless hidden storage.” It must be so hidden that no one can find it! Also, there’s a large paneled laundry room (drywall in the laundry room is so low-end).

Next up is duplex 5/6 at 950 Fifth Avenue, which is asking a staggering $27.5 million (5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths). Listed with Stribling brokers Cindy Kurtin and Jessica Vertullo-Maher, the co-op has a library with built-ins, a fireplace and a dry bar and a south-facing dining room with travertine floors.

If course, not everyone loves a co-op, and the third listing of the day—a former carriage house at 184 East 64th Street—offers more than just two floors. At $20 million, it’s something of a fixer-upper that’s currently divided into two condos. But not to worry, those units “can be combined seamlessly to create a magnificent home or embassy,” the listing gushes. The house is being co-brokered by held by Corcoran’s Robb Saar and Peter Ashe’s Asher Alcobi and Meiray Gavrielov.

Like the other places, the buyer will get antique paneling, wood-burning fireplaces, pre war splendor, etc. And, if someone does convert it to a single-family, the carriage house will no doubt be asking $40 or $50 million the next time it hits the market.

Will these properties get their lofty asks? Only the future can say for sure, it isn’t only fashionable to sell high-end apartments at the moment, but to ask unheard of highs for them.

As Jonathan Miller, the president of Miller Samuel real estate appraisal firm told The Times , the term for listings based on loose associations to reality is P.F.A., a.k.a. pulled from the air: “Take the highest sale you can find and apply some methodology in a very subjective way to talk yourself up to this bigger number.”

Real Estate Feature-425 East 13th Street, PHFG

Modern NYCJuly 18, 2012
Step into your new penthouse duplex apartment with floor-to-ceiling windows featuring open city views in every direction, and a custom sculptural slide that combines the two floors. This convertible 4-bedroom, 4-bathroom home with over 2700-square feet is accessed through a private keyed elevator. Features include a media/game room, home office, 18-foot double height atrium, two large glass walled terraces, a private roof deck, along with a beautiful Italian-made Rintal staircase, as an alternative way down to the first floor. The kitchen features a Liebherr integrated refrigerator, Bosch oven and dishwasher, Celador Oyster Stone countertops with glass and lacquer cabinetry and white maple hardwood floors throughout. Located in Manhattan's East Village, the A Building is a full service luxury condominium with a 24-hour doorman and concierge.

Inside New Chelsea Luxury Conversion Walker Tower

CurbedJuly 17, 2012
Shortly after we checked out the views from new Chelsea conversion Walker Tower, photographer Will Femia returned to photograph the building's interiors, giving us the perfect excuse to discuss the place once again. There are 10 active listings, priced between $6.25 million and $13.495 million, with another eight units already in contract. The apartments with the most eye-popping prices have yet to be listed; we'll probably all be able to feel the earth shaking in Chelsea when they are.

In the meantime, the model unit is a 3BR, 3.5BA pad with a home office and a private terrace. There are a few fun custom features: Smallbone fixtures, French herringbone floors, the world's largest tilt-and-turn windows, and a powder room floor pattern based on an Art Deco wallpaper. (That's one of several throwbacks to architect Ralph Walker's Art Deco building design.) Wall switches control automatic shades that roll up into the doors and windows. The terrace wall was shortened (and glass added on top) to make the building a little more resident-friendly.

As for the building beyond the model unit, a few Verizon workers—the whole placed used to be Verizon property—remain on the building's lower floors, but their access is completely separate from residents' access. Sadly, we didn't get a look into the amenities spaces, which will include a roof deck with cabana room, fitness center, sauna and steam room, library lounge, and playroom designed like a miniature village. Hopefully complete with child-sized luxury condos!

Tapping the Last Central Park Addresses

The Epoch TimesJuly 17, 2012
NEW YORK—There are few luxuries greater than a parkside property in the city. Living adjacent to a park in Manhattan means having access to urban conveniences, as well as a bigger backyard than you could ever keep yourself. Properties along the west, east, and south sides of Central Park have long been some of the most coveted Manhattan real estate, and in the last decade, properties along its northern edge have come into vogue too.

“It is the last parkside neighborhood,” said Tom Postilio, managing director of CORE Group, the marketers of One Museum Mile.
A model home at One Museum Mile, with views overlooking the Dutch Meer in northern Central Park.

One Museum Mile is the newest condominium overlooking Central Park North. The 116-unit building is dubbed “One Museum Mile” for its location at the top of Fifth Avenue, after the city extended that honorary name, which originally referred to Fifth Avenue from 82nd Street to 105th Street, up to 110th Street.

To “anchor” the northernmost point of this culturally significant corridor, the developers built the Museum for African Art on the ground floor of One Museum Mile. The museum is set to open next year.

The area is rapidly changing, said Joyce Gold, New York historian and the giver of daily tours. “Ten to 15 years ago, you wouldn’t go into this part of the park,” she said. “It was derelict. Now there are new restaurants, jazz clubs, and hip clothing stores.”

Gentrification is undoubtedly a contentious issue, but is a growing reality in Manhattan and many parts of New York.

A small handful of luxury condos already populate Central Park North, and two more are under proposal, according to Postilio. Referring to the transformation of Columbus Circle at the southwest corner of Central Park, Postilio said that a similar change in Central Park north is “inevitable.”

Sofia Song of, a property listing and New York City real estate research website, said there has been a “notable rise in property values along this corridor [upper Fifth Avenue].” Their site and many others now call the area “Upper Carnegie Hill” rather than East Harlem.

“This area is distinct from the area to the east of it,” said Song. “It’s very much driven by new development.” According to, properties in Upper Carnegie Hill have a median price of close to $1.6 million, and a median price per square foot of $1,172.

The building’s amenities include a 24-hour doorman/concierge, gym, children’s play room, teen game room, live-in super, parking, roof deck, and swimming pool. Units range from studios to three-bedrooms with the option to purchase and connect adjacent units. New tenants have already moved in, and as of this writing, 20 listings are in contract, and 40 are active.

$1.795M for a Flatiron Con—Hey! A Puppy!

CurbedJuly 15, 2012
This 1.5BR in 141 Fifth Avenue might not have the cachet of its upstairs neighbor, the creamy cupola penthouse, but it makes up for it by having an adorable little dog that watches you while you check out the listing photos (well, one of them.) The apartment is asking $1.795 million and even if the little guy doesn't come with it (which, honestly, should knock the price down a few hundred thousand at least), it's still a very nice place—open and spacious at 1,203 square feet, with two bathrooms and a little home office. And you know you're in a fancy place when the toilet seat is made out of wood. The listing doesn't mention whether or not the building allows pets, but we're going to go with yes.

Tips of the Trade: Design with Joshua Cain

NBC:LXTVJuly 15, 2012
This episode of Open House was hosted from 72 Reade St., 4th Floor, New York, NY. For more information on this property, please contact Michael Graves of Core NYC at 212-932-2222. View the listing.

One Murray Park Condos Are Selling Fast

Boro MagazineJuly 13, 2012
One Murray Park, the first condominium development project in LIC in over a year, already has 33% signed contracts after being on the market for less than two months. The building, located at 11-25 45th Ave, has 45 units (10 studios, 25 one-bedrooms, and 10 two-bedrooms.) Murray Park/Playground is just outside the building, offering green space and a great area for children to play.

Hemali Lakhani, who purchased a unit along with her husband, says “One Murray Park has a pretty special meaning to my husband and me. We moved into the neighborhood almost five years ago and have been fortunate enough to see this property being built. Five years later, here we are purchasing a two-bedroom apartment in this wonderful new development. First and foremost, it was truly refreshing to see a building designed with such great consideration. The living space automatically feels so comfortable and bright, you can imagine yourself reading the morning paper and enjoying the comforts of home.

The gorgeous view of Murray Park adds the final touch to this space; we can watch our child run across the playground and we can enjoy the beautiful view. We cannot wait to call One Murray Park home.”

Love Letters: New Construction, High Prices and a Younger Crop of Renters and Buyers hit Alphabet City

New York PostJuly 12, 2012
New Yorkers who know their ABCs know to keep away from the D’s.

Naturally, we’re talking about Alphabet City. Those two words have an uncanny ability to summon up sordid images of Tompkins Square Park in the 1980s, with its infamous homeless encampments and crack vials. And violent crimes and graffiti. And the musical “Rent.”

Like in every neighborhood in lower Manhattan, real estate developers flirted with the idea of gentrification, but observers had three assumptions about the neighborhood:

1) Prices would never get too crazy.

2) It might lure hipsters, but you could forget about well-heeled professionals.

3) While Avenue A or B might be OK, no luxury developer would put up anything past Avenue C.

But it also looks like all three notions were seriously flawed. Take Arabella 101. The brand-new rental building is opening its leasing office next week and happens to be on Avenue D, across the street from public housing. Arabella 101 has 78 apartments (half of which are market-rate, the other half affordable) set atop the new Lower Eastside Girls Club.

“Starting prices [for market-rate units] are about $2,500 for a studio, $2,900 for one-bedrooms,” says Drew Spitler, director of development for the Dermot Company, Arabella 101’s developer. “And they’re going up from there.”

And the building isn’t a mere shiny box: The eco-friendly development is shooting for LEED certification, and it promises amenities like a gym and a roof deck.

Dermot is not alone in tackling this heretofore unloved part of Alphabet City.

At 316-318 E. Third St., which hugs Avenue D, the Brody Amirian Group is putting up an eight-story, 33-unit building with studios and one- and two-bedrooms; it should be finished in the fall of 2013. Yearly rents are going to be north of $50 per square foot (probably around $52 to $54 per square foot), which works out to over $4,300 a month on a 1,000-square-foot apartment.

“We were told you could get $58 to $62 per square foot if you really hit the market right, with the proper finishes,” says David Amirian, co-principal of the development firm. “But we’re not looking for those kinds of aggressive numbers.”

Amirian says that a deal was in the works for the empty lot directly across the street by a developer, and another project adjoining his (with frontage on Avenue D) is going to be a rental with both market-rate and affordable units.

Older, walkup apartment prices are also on the upswing.

“We were [trying] to stay under $3,800,” says Rebecca Newman, 22, a recent Barnard graduate, who went looking for an apartment in Alphabet City with two friends at the beginning of the month.

After seeing a few two- and three-bedrooms in the neighborhood, “our expectations changed,” says Amy Moroz, 21, who was looking with Newman and their friend Ashley Rose Stumbaugh, 21. “We definitely lowered expectations.”

Fortunately, their broker, Josiah Hyatt of Citi Habitats, found them a three-bedroom, two-bathroom walkup within their budget just off Avenue C.

“It was almost like a gem in the rough,” Stumbaugh says.

Indeed, professionals looking for a deal might find themselves startled by how much rents have risen in the area.

“I would say it was much more expensive than I thought it would be,” says Solaiman Futuri, 32, a doctor who went looking for a two-bedroom with a colleague. Both were excited by the area’s nightlife and restaurants and wanted to be on Avenue A or in the East Village.

“When I first started out it was difficult, very difficult,” says Futuri, who worked with broker Mariko Miyake of Citi Habitats. “Two-bedroom, two-bath apartments were going anywhere from $4,500 to $5,000.” (The two doctors finally lucked out and got a two-bedroom duplex for around $4,000 on Avenue A.)

While a $4,000 apartment might sound pricey if you’re thinking of the Alphabet City of yore, that figure is small fry in comparison to what some of the more tricked-out apartments are asking.

Danny Davis and Vladimir Luzader of Town Residential have a $25,000, four-bedroom rental in a former synagogue on East Eighth Street between Avenues B and C.

“It’s an incredibly unique property,” Davis says. “It’s a former synagogue, and in addition to being very cool architectural space, it has a great history. There were squatters. And if I remember, a rabbi [who worked and squatted there] was busted for dealing pot. But apparently, none of the transactions were out of the house.”

After a moment, Davis adds, “He claims it was for medicinal purposes.”

The 3,200-square-foot property is a beaut. There are custom-made stained-glass windows (one of which includes a Star of David), as well as Brazilian hardwood floors, cathedral ceilings, an Italian marble fireplace and more than 900 square feet of outdoor space.

“We’ve been getting a lot of good feedback,” he says. “A lot of interested people want to purchase the house.” (The owner isn’t interested in selling, Davis says.)

Davis has gotten nibbles from renters including an actress in town for a show.

Of course, the real estate gets more expensive as you move west, toward Avenue A. Potential buyers might want to check out another Town property on the market with Wilbur Gonzalez and Adam Taylor: a 6,000-square-foot, $8.5 million, four-bedroom, 2 1/2-bathroom townhouse on East Fourth Street between Avenues A and B, with 11-foot ceilings, Sub-Zero, Wolf and Miele appliances, a 900-square-foot patio and much more.

“It really is a trophy house,” Gonzalez says. “Which made it sort of difficult to price. If it was West Fourth Street, not East, it would be in the $12 to $15 million range.”

The big question is how Alphabet City went through such a transformation where properties could fetch high prices. Some, like Gonzalez, attribute it to the hotels and restaurants that cropped up around the neighborhood in the East Village and the Lower East Side.

“Inventory is so limited and so many people want to be in the neighborhood,” says Elizabeth Kee, a broker for Core who lived in the neighborhood in the early 2000s. “Never in our wildest dreams did we ever imagine [prices would be this high], but it’s a simple supply and demand curve.”

Kee has a listing at the A Building on East 13th Street between First Avenue and Avenue A, a $3.99 million penthouse, which is owned by poker pro Phil Galfond.

Galfond combined two units to make this 2,700-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-bathroom duplex, and added one quirk: He connected the top and bottom floors with a big metal slide in the middle of the apartment.

Kee reports that traffic at the open houses in the condo has been pretty good.

“This kind of property usually get gobbled up immediately,” Kee says. “Unless they have a slide.”

Upper Fifth’s Coveted One Museum Mile Hosts “Discover Our Neighborhood”

July 12, 2012
Lush Views of Central Park Frame a Rooftop Conversation About the Area’s History, Evolution and Offerings

New York, NY – Soaring above Central Park’s verdant landscape, One Museum Mile at 1280 Fifth Avenue– future home to the highly anticipated Museum for African Art – is grabbing headlines once again. Yesterday, between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m., the premier luxury residential development hosted members of the Foreign Press Association at an event titled “Discover Our Neighborhood.”

The evening kicked off with a walking tour led by historian Joyce Gold, who shared insight about the history of Upper Fifth and neighboring Central Park, as guests toured the park’s famed Conservatory Gardens and Harlem Meer. Later, the group returned to the exquisite 21-story structure, designed in part by noted architect, Robert A. M. Stern, for a panel discussion held on the building’s rooftop overlooking the northern end of Central Park.

With New York City’s skyline as a backdrop, expert panelists, including Gold, CORE managing director, Tom Postilio, and StreetEasy vice president of research, Sofia Song, discussed the history and evolution of the neighborhood, as well as trends in the local real estate market. Moderated by Katherine Clarke of The Real Deal, the event also allowed the audience to interact with the panel and ask questions.

“With condominiums and high-rise developments emerging rapidly in Upper Carnegie Hill and along Upper Fifth, there has been a tremendous uptick in foreign interest,” said Bruce Brickman, principal of real estate private equity firm, Brickman, the property’s developer. “The team at One Museum Mile is pleased to host and partake in a dialogue about this dynamic neighborhood and its attractive qualities.”

To conclude the night, guests were treated to a sumptuous cocktail reception at Red Rooster Harlem, comprising signature dishes by James Beard award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson.

"The event was a great success,” said Shaun Osher, co-founder and CEO of CORE, the building’s exclusive sales and marketing team. “Our international guests enjoyed the panel discussion and walked away with insight about why foreign buyers, in particular, have been drawn to this area.”

One Museum Mile offers studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom homes as well as penthouses ranging up to 2,118-square feet, which are available for immediate occupancy. The property also offers residences with outdoor terrace space.
For more information, please contact the sales office at (212) 996-1280 or visit the website at

Brickman is a private equity real estate firm that invests in debt and equity with the perspective of an owner-operator. Brickman combines its owner-operator expertise with deep experience in debt to produce excellent risk-adjusted returns for its investors. Brickman was formed in 1992 and has over $700 million of equity assets and $3 billion of portfolio value under management. Brickman owns and operates office and multi family properties in these markets, applies opportunistic and core plus / value-added investment strategies, and invests across the entire capital structure of real estate assets. Through its investment vehicles, the firm owns and manages over 3.5 million square feet of office, hotel and residential real estate.

CORE is a real estate sales and marketing firm delivering the best in brokerage, communications and advisory services for the luxury residential segment. In addition, CORE’s elite group of highly experienced and successful professionals service developers who value efficient, no-nonsense results. CORE was founded by Shaun Osher as a full-service boutique firm with a strict adherence to the principles of integrity, efficiency and results. For more information visit


Buyers in a Hurry to Buy at One Murray

Brokers WeeklyJuly 11, 2012
Last week, just after the Fourth of July, several prospective buyers toured One Murray Park, the first condo project to open in Long Island City in over a year.

“We’ve been very busy,” said Shaun Osher, founder of CORE, which is marketing the six-story glass and brick development.

Sales launched several months ago — and the finishing touches are still being placed on the interiors, including a library adjacent to the lobby, a fitness center, and a parking garage — but already 40 percent of the building’s 45 units are in contract. “We expect to reach the closing phase in a couple of weeks,” said Doron Zwickel, a broker at CORE.

Long Island City’s residential market — particularly its rental one — has been strong in recent years, prompting Eric Benaim to launch the firm Modern Spaces in the neighborhood, and Prudential Douglas Elliman to open an office on Vernon Boulevard, a major retail corridor. Rental buildings like Linc LIC, a 42-story luxury tower built by Rockrose, recently topped off.

With demand increasing for housing stock in the neighborhood, which is a seven-minute subway ride from Midtown Manhattan and home to a Citi Bank office tower, prices have been rising.

At One Murray Park, which is located opposite a playground at 11-25 45th Avenue, a short walk from the Court House Square subway station, asking prices have been marked up several times.

“Price ranges are like 2006, 2007 levels,” said Zwickel, who has marketed four projects in the neighborhood, including the 44-unit Badge Building on 47th Avenue. “Some prices are even higher.”

According to StreetEasy, available studios at One Murray Park start at $385,000, one-bedrooms at $490,000 and two-bedrooms at $750,000.
Penthouse A, which overlooks Murray Playground, the two and a half acre park across the street, and has a staircase leading to the roof, is the most expensive unit in the building, priced at $980,000.

The western half of the park recently underwent a renovation, and has new playground equipment. The eastern half is slated for a makeover soon. “The city has poured $2.5 million into it,” said Zwickel.

In the future, Zwickel joked, 11th Street, which runs along the park’s western border and is home to a handful of new luxury developments, will become the Long Island City equivalent of Park Avenue.

Nearby, Vernon Boulevard is home to several popular coffee shops, including Communitea and Cranky’s Café. As for arts and culture, MOMA’s PS1 museum is close by.

“People realize that, in no time, this will be the heart of the neighborhood,” Zwickel said.

Though a handful of buyers are Queens residents who stumbled across the building through local brokers, the neighborhood has drawn apartment hunters from across the East River, too. “We have a fair share of Manhattan buyers,” Zwickel said.

From the roof deck, the building’s position at the center of Long Island City is clear: to the east are the towers lining the waterfront, many of them built by TF Cornerstone, and further inland are the Courthouse and the Citi Bank tower. Surrounding the building are brick row-houses much like those in the East Village.

The building’s development team, Shuster Development & Management and TerraMax Development, have seen promise in this section of Long Island City, and may continue to build there down the road. “The developer is here to stay,” said Zwickel.

In the News: 335 Broadway Configurations

Tribeca CitizenJuly 09, 2012
Popstarr2000 commented on this post that the TV show “Selling New York” (as per Curbed‘s recap) had a segment about 335 Broadway (at the northwest corner of Worth), and whether the developer should decrease the planned number of studios for larger units. (Heaven forbid single people live in Tribeca!) Anyway, 335 Broadway is also known as 93 Worth, which is what I had thought the project was being marketed as…. New windows went in last week—the photo is from before that—and four stories are being added to the top.

••• “Eater hears that [Shaun] Hergatt departed [his] restaurant at the end of last week. [...] Also, apparently members of the staff were walking off the floor on Friday night.”

••• “The starting gun sounded Saturday morning, at 11 a.m. for the KRYS Ocean Race, the first-ever race from New York to Brest, France, for a new class of racer: the Multihull One-Design trimaran. Five of these cutting-edge boats first docked at North Cove last Tuesday, just in time for the Fourth of July celebrations.” —Broadsheet

••• “What to Eat at Cómodo, Opening July 16 in Soho.” Cómodo is the restaurant being opened by the Worth Kitchen couple. —Grub Street
••• “Three of [E.E.] Cummings’ letters—which have never been shown publicly—just went on display at Poets House.” —DNAinfo

Residential Sales Around the Region: 56 Warren Street

The New York TimesJuly 08, 2012

Selling New York S5E13: The Art of Persuasion

CurbedJuly 06, 2012
Brokers in last night's Selling New York had occasion to break out their persuasion when it came to convincing their clients that BKB (Broker Knows Best)! Mama Bear and her cubs shift into staging madness for their Upper East client who has a temptation for overdecoration. Will the seller stage a staging strike and tell Mama to take a hike? Then, a real estate prez tries to convince a developer that his Tribeca loft building conversion should expand beyond mere studios. Will the developer be miffed at the square footage shift? I promise not to give you the short shrift in this ALL-OUT shifty nifty partially heat-stroke induced recap! P.S. Happy Two Days After Independence Day!

Will there be fireworks in this episode? >>


It's fancy lunch time at the Upper East Side's Agata & Valentina and Mama Michele Kleier and her cubs, Samantha and Sabrina, are snacking with long time client Mary Canter. Mary and her hubs are selling the unit Mama sold them six years ago at 408 East 79th Street,The Arcadia. Where are they moving? The Land O' Liberty Bell!

Mama's reaction to Philly:

She's all "PhilaHOWCOULDYOU,YOUCITYTRAITORdelphia?!" Mary's daughters live there and they want to be closer to the grand/kids, something Mama completely understands given her "must live within three-block radius of children" rule.

The problem with Mary's pad? "She bought a modern apartment but does not have modern taste," says Mama.

A gawk at Mary's 2BR/2BA ode to old-school style:

Mama is concerned that buyers will be distracted by Mary's many, many beloved items such as tchotchkes on the wall, ornate crap and stenciled stuff. Sensing Mary will not agree to a complete overhaul, Sab and Sam have a suggestion: NEUTRALIZE!

Sab in Wonder Woman mode about to neutralize the you know what out of Mary's place. Note her gold dress belt doubles as a neutralizing whip:

To further persuade Mary to drink the neutralizing Kool-Aid, Mama and co. show her a comparable yet sleekified apartment in the same building listed at $1.85 million:

After seeing the spotless space, Mary reluctantly agrees to allowing a stager to soup up her apartment. Mama heads to Gracious Home and calls on designer Rebekah Brown for some decor 911.

The cure? This pillow!

Mama is digging the purple and sparkly motif and gives a thumbs up to Rebekah's brighter, lighter vision. But will Mary modify her taste so drastically for the sake of a sale?

Yes she will! Next, Mama and Rebekah meet up at Mary's for a style shift. Dark pillows get replaced by glittery ones. Seventy-five percent of her things get whisked aside in favor of clean lines and unobstructed views. Rebekah maintains that the look is still "big and bold," but less of it.

Now open house ready, it's time for the big reveal! What a diff a few cosmetic changes and a ton of hiding of things like this makes!

A post-staged look at the $1.85 million, 1,424-square-foot unit:

Later, at lunch, Mama and cubs give Mary an update: there are two offers on the table, both low-ballin' in the mid $1.5 millions. Mary ain't biting, but Mama suggests a counter offer to keep potential buyers talking. Mary wonders if a short-term rental might be a good option since the comp apartment ended up doing that, to which Mama says HELLZ NO. A counter offer is the way to go, mmm'k?

Did Mama's strategy work? The update informs that one of the offers increased to $1.65 million...aaaand, my update informs that the listing is still open and has been decreased to $1.65 million. Seems like the offer fell through, but the downshift in price stuck!


CORE head Shaun Osher has his eyes on securing the S&M (Sales & Marketing, people!) for a new shmancy converted loft building at 335 Broadway in Tribeca. He meets the Israeli developers,IGI, at the mid-construction building to pitch CORE's services.

Shaun and the IGI men in hard hats looking like a trio of...

Shaun sees a $300 million sales potential in the development, but isn't keen on IGI's square footage strategy:

Shaun is adamant about having more 3 bedroom units and less studios since that's WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT. And to further prove his point, he takes Eldad Blaustein, one of the Israeli dudes, on a tricked out Tribeca tour:

Rule #1 in Tribeca: everyone must wear black coats, sunglasses and super serious expressions:

Shaun calls Tribeca "the most changed neighborhood in NYC," what with all the babies, restaurants, and boutiques.

Why is there no mention of the frightening influx of inflatable zebras and superheroes threatening the sidewalks?

It's like that mom pushing the stroller doesn't even notice her baby is about to be lightly swatted at by Spiderman.

Eldad appreciates Shaun's tour, but wait! There's more tour! Shaun takes Eldad to a comparable converted loft development at 95 Reade Street to show him a 2BR/2BA unit listed at $2.25 million:

With the prospect of raking more shekels with larger units, Eldad is starting to see the light. Meanwhile, Shaun is wondering if Eldad is going to take his suggestions and WILL HE GET THE LISTING? Or will Eldad take the suggestions and run away to another agency?

Later, at Tribeca's Plein Sud, Eldad reveals he is going to reconfigure the units to mostly two- and three-bedrooms with a sprinkling of studios and one-bedrooms. And, much to his dismay...Shaun is not awarded a rejection from Eldad AKA HE GOT THE PROJECT! I was trying to trick you for a sec—did it work?

The update explains that sales are set to start later this year aaaand Shaun and Eldad have already shaken hands on another project. Mazel tov!

Episode Review: It's always fun to see someone's style get subjected to a stuff-ectomy! That, and Shaun's super-sized success earns this episode 4.0 out of 5 THIS IS THE LAST NEW EPISODE FOR A WHILE, HAPPY HYDRATED SUMMER EVERYONE! cackling Kleiers.

Manhattan’s Top 75 Listing Agents

The Real DealJuly 01, 2012
John Burger has had a good year. Not only did the Brown Harris Stevens broker earn the No. 1 spot on The Real Deal’s annual ranking of Manhattan’s top listing agents, he also more than doubled his dollar volume of listings from a year ago to $411.7 million.

That number sets a new bar for the ranking, which is based on dollar volume of active Manhattan residential listings, gathered from Online Residential in mid-June. (Scroll down to see the chart of Manhattan’s top agents.)

Last year, the top agent, Brown Harris Stevens’s Paula Del Nunzio, had $358.4 million in listings. This year, she ranked No. 3, with $293.8 million. That tally includes an exclusive for the Woolworth Mansion at 4 East 80th Street, which has been included in Del Nunzio’s total since it was listed in March 2011 for $90 million.

Rounding out the top five are the Corcoran Group’s Carrie Chiang at No. 2 with $316.2 million in listings, Prudential Douglas Elliman’s Dolly Lenz at No. 4 with $255.1 million and Sotheby’s International Realty’s Serena Boardman at No. 5 with $198.9 million.

Collectively, the 75 agents with the highest dollar volume of listings had more than $6.34 billion worth of properties on the market, up 8 percent from last year’s total of about $5.96 billion.

Burger — who employs one full-time assistant but otherwise works alone — chalks up his success to the network of clients he has built over a 28- year career.

“Those people have fortunately come back to me over the years for all of their real estate needs and the needs of the next generation,” he told TRD during a phone interview from London, where he was attending a birthday party for a friend and client.

A Manhattan native, Burger was 22 years old when he obtained his real estate license, lured by the chance to work with both investment assets and people. “It’s sales and marketing, like many other forms of sales and marketing, but the end of the pipeline is somebody’s home, and that’s a very meaningful process to be involved in,” he said.

But this year has been a particularly successful one for Burger, thanks to eight-figure transactions like the $34.6 million sale of William Lie Zeckendorf’s co-op at 927 Fifth Avenue, and listings like a private investor’s full-floor co-op at 944 Fifth Avenue, priced at $50 million.
In addition, there are outside factors contributing to Burger’s — and other agents’ — jump in dollar volume of listings this year.

With the presidential election looming, homeowners may have a heightened sense of urgency to sell before new capital gains tax rates take effect, Burger said. He has also noted a “newfound confi- dence” in the Manhattan market.

Burger listed the unit at 944 Fifth, which comes with 70 feet of Central Park frontage and a separate guest apartment, on June 1. He declined to say whether the seller had received any offers since, but said interest in the home was “very strong.”

At another of Burger’s listings at 907 Fifth Avenue — a combination of three apartments that can be reconfigured back to architect J.E.R. Carpenter’s original 18-room layout — the seller bumped up the asking price to $29 million in May. It first went on the market for $25 million in January.

Trophy listings

This year, several brokers are appearing in the top 10 for the first time, due in part to the presence of several extremely high-priced trophy properties on the market. Landing just one of these ultraexpen- sive listings can propel a broker into the top echelon of Manhattan listing agents.

Consider Noble Black, a former securities lawyer who joined Corcoran in 2005.

Black has never ranked on TRD’s top 75 list, but this year he is No. 7 with $135.1 million in listings. In January, he and Corcoran colleague Bonnie Pfeifer Evans listed songwriter Denise Rich’s pent- house at 785 Fifth Avenue for $65 million. (Evans, who frequently teams up with Black on listings, is a personal acquaintance of Rich’s.) Billed as the largest-ever penthouse offered on Fifth Avenue, the 20-room apartment is the third most expensive home on the market, according to StreetEasy.

Black is also listing a townhouse at 101 East 63rd Street — formerly the home of the late fashion designer Halston — for $38.5 million.
But despite a longstanding interest in real estate, Black almost didn’t join the profession: He was intimidated by staking his livelihood on commissions.

Then, while he was working at a law firm, the producers of “The Apprentice” approached the hand- some young New Yorker about auditioning for the reality show. He didn’t get the part, but he did land a brief consulting gig with the production company. Then, instead of returning to his legal ca- reer, he reevaluated his professional life and decided to give real estate a shot.

That decision appears to be paying off: Black said he is now making more money than the partners at his ex-firm.

So would Black ever return to law? “Oh, God no,” he said.

Coming in one spot below, at No. 8, is real estate veteran Sharon Baum, director of Corcoran’s ex- clusive properties division, with $127.5 million in listings. Despite her long history in Manhattan real estate, Baum is making her first appearance on TRD’s top 10 list. (She did not appear on the 2011 ranking, and was No. 22 in 2010.)

Baum is one of four brokers sharing a $72 million co-exclusive listing at 828 Fifth Avenue. The spread is actually made up of three units: a duplex maisonette off the lobby; a triplex apartment spanning the second, third and fourth floors; and a penthouse on the sixth floor. The apartments previously belonged to the skyscraper developer Howard Ronson.

The other brokers on the listing include Corcoran’s Deborah Grubman and Leighton Candler, who occupy TRD’s No. 11 and No. 22 spots, respectively, as well as Stribling & Associates broker Alexa Lambert, who landed at No. 14.

“Do we like having it to ourselves better? Sure,” Baum said of sharing the listing with Stribling. “[But] we’re fine working with Alexa, because she’s terrific.”

Baum estimates that about 90 percent of her deals take place on Fifth Avenue, Park Avenue and Central Park West, plus the “great side streets” in the area. A former banking executive who was a member of the first Harvard Business School class to include women, Baum works with her younger brother, David Enloe, and three other team members.

Today’s market is unlike any other in her experience — not a seller’s market, not a buyer’s market and not quite a changing market either, Baum said.

“In a changing market, nobody’s right,” Baum said. “In today’s market, for the first time that I’ve ever seen it, I feel that everybody’s right.”
In other words, both buyers and sellers stand to benefit from market conditions, such as low interest rates, off-peak prices and a shortage of good properties.

To be sure, measuring brokers by dollar volume of listings — itself a moving target — does not give a complete picture of a broker’s abilities, since it eliminates important factors such as buyer’s side representation and closed deals — data that can’t be obtained in a comprehensive way presently.

The ranking also excludes certain properties, such as a $65 million townhouse at 7 West 54th Street, which is zoned commercial, noted Brown Harris Stevens’ Del Nunzio, who has the listing. Del Nun- zio, a townhouse specialist, told TRD she got into real estate “through a love of architecture and its transformation of space and light.”

There are a number of other brokers this year with listings above $50 million.

Multiple ways to the top

Sotheby’s duo Elizabeth Sample and Brenda Powers have a $60 million listing at the Time Warner Center. After TRD collected the data, however, they took the property off the market for the slow summer months; the owner hopes to get a better price for the unit in September, Sample said.

“He is willing to wait for the market to catch up to where he wants to sell his apartment,” she added.

Sample and Powers are also listing a 4,825-square-foot unit at the Time Warner Center for $42.5 million.

All told, Sample and Powers had $162.9 million in listings, pushing them up to the No. 6 spot, a significant jump from their No. 19 position last year when they were still at Brown Harris Stevens. In 2010, they were No. 5.

Sample attributed their success in part to the strength of the luxury market.

“Just across the board, there are some record-breaking numbers — record-breaking dollars per square foot — and there is extremely limited inventory because there is such strong demand again,” she said.

Of course, marketing one or two trophy properties is not the only way to pull in hundreds of millions of dollars in listings.

Corcoran’s Chiang, for example, works on new developments as well as individual homes. Currently, she and her team are managing sales for the Cassa NY Hotel & Residences at 70 West 45th Street, where 39 units are on the market, ranging from about $951,000 to $20.3 million. (Chiang and Board- man, of Sotheby’s, both declined to be interviewed for this article.)

Chiang took over the marketing of Cassa from Ilan Bracha, founder of Keller Williams NYC, in Feb- ruary after Chinese firm HNA Property Holding Group acquired the building from an affiliate of Assa Properties.

Bracha is No. 18 on TRD’s ranking, with $100.4 million in listings.

Meanwhile, the Kleier team — made up of Michele Kleier and daughters Sabrina Kleier Morgenstern and Sa- mantha Kleier Forbes — ranked No. 9 with 20 properties on the market. Their $127.5 million in listings range from a junior one-bedroom for $459,000 to a six-story mansion at 158 East 61st Street asking $13.5 million. The trio, which appears on HGTV’s “Selling New York,” debuted on the top 10 for the first time this year after coming in at No. 25 in 2011 and No. 51 in 2010.

Elliman’s Lenz seems to take a similarly diverse approach to list- ings.

Her exclusives include a three-bed-room unit at 15 Central Park West priced at $35 million — which Lenz called a “bargain” during an appearance on Bloomberg TV inthe spring — and fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld’s three-bedroom apartment at 50 Gramercy Park North, now asking $4.95 million.

Ranked at No. 10 is Elliman’s Leonard Steinberg, who works closely with Hervé Senequier and seven other team members.
The Leonard Steinberg Group has a total of $127.3 million in listings, including the $11.5 million triplex penthouse and two other units at the Arman, an eight-unit condo building at 482 Greenwich Street where they are overseeing sales.

The group is also listing 54 East 81st Street, a 7,500-square-foot townhouse that is undergoing a gut renovation, available for $17.95 million.

If you don’t have a product to sell, you have to create it,” said Stein- berg, a former fashion designer. He realized long ago that he’d rather be involved in the conceptual stage of new developments, he said, rather than merely executing a developer’s vision.

In the next few months, Steinberg plans to start marketing 150 Charles Street, a 98-unit West Village condo conversion developed by the Wit- koff Group.

Steinberg called the project the “most exciting” one he has ever worked on.

“It is shrouded in a veil of secrecy,” he said, “but when the veil is re- vealed, it will be beyond anything anyone’s ever expected downtown.”

Counting Condos

The Real DealJuly 01, 2012
New development condos have been in the spotlight recently, thanks in part to the success of Extell Development’s One57.
In May, Extell announced that the building (after hitting the market six months earlier) had sold 50 percent of its units, and had reached a milestone of $1 billion in sales. The 90-story glass tower, which topped off last month, also announced that one of its penthouses had sold for somewhere between $90 and $100 million, a new high mark for condo prices in New York City.

Extell president Gary Barnett told The Real Deal that the lack of new construction in the last few years has helped drum up demand for his project.

“For the next couple of years, we’re probably the only game in town — especially for that kind of quality,” he said.

But One57 isn’t the only new development in the city doing well. The median listing price for new development condos in Manhattan grew by 10 percent in May to $1.49 million, up from the same period of last year, according to a report released by listings aggregator StreetEasy.

Contract activity and median sales prices for new homes in Manhattan and Brooklyn also increased year-over-year, the report said.

major Manhattan and Brooklyn for-sale buildings with at least five sponsor units still on the market. We found around 55 buildings in Manhattan, and roughly 20 in Brooklyn. We also took stock of the projects currently in the pipeline and slated to hit the market in the next several years.
The condos on our list came from StreetEasy, which often receives advance information about upcoming new developments, as well as from brokers, developers and news reports.
It’s tricky to pin down exact figures about units in the pipeline, since developers often keep details under wraps when a project is in the planning stages. But TRD’s analysis found more than 50 new condo buildings — roughly half in Manhattan and half in Brooklyn — some with hundreds of new units on the drawing board. The Marketing Directors put the number of condo units expected to hit the market in the next several years at about 5,580. In contrast, around 7,500 new condo units per year are absorbed in the city annually, according to the firm.

As a result of this inventory shortage, prices are expected to rise for all condos, new and old.

“There’s not a whole lot of people going crazy [building new developments,]” Barnett added. “It’s not easy to get projects done. It’s not easy to get financing. The leverage levels are way down.”

Extell, he noted, has several projects in the pipeline, including the 68-unit Helmsley Carlton House, a former hotel property set to return as a luxury condo in 2013.

Read on for a closer look at the Manhattan and Brooklyn buildings that hit the market in 2012, and a sneak peak at what’s coming down the pike.

The Citizen (29 units)
124 West 23rd Street

Sales launched in early April at the Citizen, a 16-story doorman condo building developed by Anbau Enterprises. But Anbau told The Real Deal last month that sales at the building had been temporarily suspended in order to complete construction at the property over the summer.

Iva Spitzer, an executive vice president at the Corcoran Group, which is handling sales at the property, said it was difficult to market the building with no units to show prospective buyers.

Sales will relaunch in September, a spokesperson for the developer said, with prices ranging from $650,000 to about $4 million. The project is currently 45 percent sold, according to Stephen Glascock of Anbau.

The Abingdon (10 units)
607 Hudson Street
West Village

Flank Architects purchased this former nursing home for $33.3 million last January and converted it into condos. Two penthouses, priced at $21 million and $19.5 million, hit the market in April, and six of the building’s other units came on the market last month.
The decision to bring the top-tier apartments to the market first was made to allow prospective penthouse buyers to customize their apartments (and possibly combine units) before other buyers came in, according to Tim Crowley, managing director at Flank.
The two penthouses are both in contract for close to their asking prices, Crowley said.

The remaining condos, which are nearing completion, are all larger than 3,200 square feet. The smallest, which is 3,263 square feet, is asking $8.75 million. The largest, which is 3,537 square feet, is on the market for $10.75 million.

Meanwhile, two ground-floor units at the base of the building will hit the market this fall, Crowley said.
Chelsea Green (51 units)
151 West 21st Street

Chelsea Green, a 14-story condo, hit the market in late May and was already 50 percent sold by the end of last month.

Sales in the 51-unit building so far have averaged approximately $1,396 per square foot, for a total of $31 million, according to Corcoran Sunshine, the exclusive marketing agent for the property. Construction is currently underway, with occupancy slated for fall 2013.
Developed by Alfa Development — the team behind the fast-selling, 36-unit Village Green at 311 East 11th Street — the project is comprised of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, in addition to a four-bedroom penthouse with a private roof terrace.
In March 2011, Alfa bought the land — which included the four brownstones that used to sit on the site — and development rights from Extell for $17.14 million.

The property has incorporated green technology into its designs, including energy-efficient dishwashers and water-conserving faucets.
The Arman (8 units)

482 Greenwich Street

Sales launched in February at the Arman, a boutique nine-story condo under construction on the site of what was previously the studio of the late painter and sculptor Arman.

The eight-unit, Karl Fischer–designed building now has only three units remaining, according to developer Ben Shaoul of Magnum Real Estate Group. The building, which is scheduled for occupancy in the fall, features full-floor, three-bedroom units of approximately 2,470 square feet. The remaining units are priced from $3.9 to $6 million.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Arman’s wife gave Magnum the land in 2005, a year after the artist’s death, in exchange for several residences at the building as well as a parking space.

The building is being marketed by Leonard Steinberg and Hervé Senequier of Prudential Douglas Elliman. (See “The all-star team.”)
225 Rector Place (289 units)

Battery Park City
Emerging from years of controversy, the 289-unit condo conversion at 225 Rector Place returned to the market in May after a three-year hiatus.

Approximately 180 units are now on the market, priced between $475,000 and $1 million, with 12 more penthouses being held back till the fall.

The Related Companies first constructed the property in 1985 as a rental, then in 2005 sold it to developer Yair Levy, who planned to convert it to a condo. But Levy defaulted on his loans and the condo buyers there sued him over incomplete construction.
As has been widely reported, Related bought the building out of foreclosure last summer for $82.8 million.

As The Real Deal previously reported, a state Supreme Court judge ordered Levy last August to pay $7.4 million in restitution to the condominium, and permanently banned him from selling real estate in New York State after he was found guilty of spending millions of dollars of the building’s reserve fund money on personal and general business expenses.

Under Levy, 25 percent of the units in the building were sold. In the month since Related restarted sales, the company has sold an additional 10 percent of the units, to reach a total of 35 percent sold, a spokesperson for the developer said.

422W20 (36 units)
422 West 20th Street

At press time, there were only six units remaining at 422W20, the 36-unit condo developed by the Brodsky Organization, according to Corcoran Sunshine, the exclusive marketing agent for the building. The project — which is just two blocks from Brodsky’s Chelsea Enclave — hit the market in March.

The building, which was most recently used as a dormitory for married General Theological Seminary students, is slated to be ready for occupancy by the end of the summer.

The project includes one- to three-bedroom units ranging from $640,000 to $2.1 million. It has been selling quickly, thanks in part to its relatively affordable prices compared with other developments in the High Line–adjacent neighborhood, according to recent news reports.

Outside of this project, there are currently only 10 one-bedrooms on the market in Chelsea priced for less than $750,000, according to StreetEasy.

Walker Tower (50 units)
212 West 18th Street
This conversion of the Verizon building in Chelsea, designed in 1929 by architect Ralph Walker, came on the market last month, with 50 condo units priced between $3,000 and $10,000 per square foot. Units range in size from 1,350 to 6,500 square feet.

The project is a joint venture between Michael Stern’s JDS Development and the acquisition and development firm Property Markets Group. It was financed in part by Barry Sternlicht’s Starwood Capital.

Core brokers Vickey Barron and Emily Beare are heading up sales. Architecture firm Cetra/Ruddy oversaw the conversion of the building to condos.

Verizon, which previously used the 24-story building to store copper wire for landlines, is retaining ownership of the second through seventh floors, which it will use as offices.

250 East 57th Street (320 rentals/condos)

This $700 million, 1 million-square-foot, mixed-use project is currently rising at 250 East 57th Street and Second Avenue. It’s a partnership between the World-Wide Group, headed by Victor Elmaleh, and the Educational Construction Fund, a government fund that encourages development that includes new schools.

ECF, which owns the land, in 2006 selected World-Wide to develop the 1.5-acre site. The project is slated to include a Whole Foods Market, two new schools, a 59-story residential tower with 320 rental and condo units and an additional 78,000 square feet of retail.
The new, 38,000-square-foot Whole Foods is scheduled to open in the fall, while the residential units will be completed in a second phase of development beginning by the end of the year.

Stribling Marketing Associates has been tapped to head up sales. A spokesperson for World-Wide said it was not immediately clear when sales would begin.

211 East 13th Street (82 units)
East Village

New Jersey–based Ironstate Development is partnering with developers Charles Blaichman, Abram Shnay and Shnay’s son, Scott, on this condo building, which is slated for completion next year.

The developers bought the lots that comprise the site for $33.2 million last October from Builtgross Associates, which had owned them since 1986.

The project, designed by BKSK Architects, will feature a mix of studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, plus 4,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space on East 14th Street.

The Marketing Directors will handle sales at the building, which is slated to break ground this summer. Sales will launch in the spring of 2013, according to the sales team.

Ironstate was not immediately available for comment.
The Printing House (TBA units)
421 Hudson Street
West Village

In January, a group led by real estate investment fund Belvedere Capital and private equity firm Angelo Gordon & Co. purchased this converted rental property — a former industry printing house — for $67.6 million from Mountbatten Equities.

The purchase included the roughly 105 rental units in the 183-unit building. Mountbatten had previously sold the remaining units as condos.

The January sale came shortly after Mountbatten and Taconic Investment Partners settled a lengthy legal battle over the property. Taconic claimed it had a deal to buy the apartments for $77.25 million in 2010, but that Mountbatten reneged and was only using the
company as a “stalking horse” to find a rival bidder.

The new owners, who ended up paying nearly $10 million less than what Taconic was supposed to pay, are now ready to sell the remaining units as condos. They’ve hired rental-to-condo conversion specialist Myles Horn, principal of MJH Birchwood, and sales are set to begin in September.

Ninety-five of the apartments in the building will be upgraded, and some will be combined to form larger units, The Real Deal has reported. It is unclear exactly how many units will be hitting the market in total, however.

Tricia Cole of Corcoran Sunshine is advising the owners on sales and marketing strategy. However, Corcoran Sunshine is not officially handling sales at the building yet.

345Meatpacking (37 units)
345 West 14th Street

Thirty-seven luxury condos are slated to be built at the site where rapper Jay-Z and hotelier Andre Balazs tried and failed to build a hotel.
After the investors defaulted on the property’s $52 million senior loan in August 2009, Jay-Z reached a settlement with the lenders and deeded the property back to them for the value of the senior mortgage.

DDG Partners, the developer of 41 Bond Street, then acquired the project’s loan at a discount from Capital Source Finance and took control of the site in 2010.

The condo units are slated to come on the market by the first quarter of 2013, according to Joe McMillan, CEO of DDG.

The Madison Jackson (110 units)
371 Madison Street
Lower East Side

Sales at Michael Bolla’s 110-unit condo project were supposed to launch this spring, but were bumped back to the summer, according to a spokesperson for Bolla, who did not respond to a request for comment on the reason for the delay.

A managing director at Elliman, Bolla — who had previously restored a historic townhouse in Chelsea — partnered with the Sung family on this Lower East Side project.

The six-story building, which was formerly home to a school, will offer loftlike units ranging from 700 to 1,600 square feet. There are also plans for a 7,000-square-foot penthouse. Prices are slated to start at $542,000.

As previously reported, the building will be designed to appeal to the Orthodox Jewish community with 24-hour kosher and vegan food service, and a pool with designated single-gender swimming hours. Bolla also stepped in to save a Judaica store in the area earlier
this year by arranging financing for the retailer who was having trouble making rent payments.

The Toy Building (145 units)
1107 Broadway

The Witkoff Group is working on a highly anticipated condo conversion of this former International Toy Center building, but it’s not clear when the units will hit the market.

Witkoff, which acquired the 16-story property from the now-defunct Lehman Brothers in a one-day auction last September, will reportedly convert the building to 145 condos. The company, headed by Steven Witkoff, reportedly paid $190 million for the building, and is planning to plow another $100 million into renovations.

According to news reports, a Morgan Stanley real estate fund is providing financing for the conversion.

The building has been vacant since 2007. It was previously owned by Tessler Developments, but was returned to Lehman, its lender, when Tessler defaulted on its loan in 2010 — two years after Lehman declared bankruptcy. (Lehman emerged from bankruptcy last year and is now in the process of liquidating its assets.)

Witkoff did not respond to requests for comment.

150 Charles Street (98 units)
West Village

In the next few months, Elliman agents Leonard Steinberg, Raphael De Niro and Darren Sukenik will start marketing a new condo conversion at 150 Charles Street.

The conversion, also a Witkoff Group project, will have 98 units. Pricing has not yet been released. The property was formerly the Whitehall Storage building.

The new Cook + Fox–designed building, which retains the warehouse’s old three-story façade, is slated to add up to 20 stories, according to news reports. Not surprisingly, Witkoff has faced criticism from the local community over the proposed height. Neighbors argue that the addition will block light in their buildings. Plans also call for a series of waterfalls cascading from the roof to the street level of the building.

20 Henry (38 units)
20 Henry Street
Brooklyn Heights

Developer Urban Realty Partners and its equity partner, insurance giant AIG, started converting this former candy factory to condominiums in 2007. But Urban defaulted on its loan from Bank of New York, and AIG collapsed during the financial crisis.
Then in 2010, Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund, the development team that includes NBA legend Magic Johnson, bought the stalled project, according to public reports. Bank of New York sold the note to Canyon-Johnson at a roughly 25 percent discount off the unpaid loan balance. It is not clear exactly how much Canyon-Johnson paid.

But sales started in February and, at press time, 25 of the project’s 38 units were in contract, according to Stribling & Associates, which is handling sales in the building.

The project is slated for completion later this year, with closings expected to begin in late summer.

“Current sales are averaging more than $1,000 per square foot, and four of the six penthouses are in contract,” said Michael Chapman, an executive vice president at Stribling.

Fino 122 (19 units)
122 Adelphi Street
Fort Greene

New Fort Greene condo Fino 122 launched sales in February. The 11-story property is comprised of one-, two- and three-bedroom units with price tags ranging from $295,000 to $3.3 million.

The building, developed by Fort Greene resident and Venezuela native Antonio Calvo, is more than 15 percent sold, according to Halstead Property Development Marketing, which is handling the sales.

The project features private, keyed elevator access to all apartments, parking, a private roof terrace and a fitness and recreation room.

The project is Calvo’s fourth in Fort Greene. He told TRD that he first acquired the site in 2005, but spent three years acquiring surrounding air rights before starting construction. The development was held up for another year because of an error on a document
he submitted to the city Department of Buildings, he said.

The Venetian (33units)
447 Avenue P

A decade after it was first planned, the Venetian condo in the Midwood section of Brooklyn finally came on the market in May.

As The Real Deal has reported, Sitt Asset Management (no relation to developer Joe Sitt) assembled the necessary parcels for the project in 2002 and 2003, with plans to bring a 54,000-square-foot project to the site. But due to a slow market during the recession, the developers delayed bringing the project to market until now.

The property, which was designed to look like a European Renaissance building, is being marketed by Elliman’s Avi Voda and Rachel Medalie. Interiors are by architect Costas Kondylis.

According to Voda, there are contracts out on a couple of units, but none of them have closed yet.

29 Montrose Avenue (10 units)

Apartments at 29 Montrose Avenue started coming on the market last month. The condos range from a 507-square-foot one-bedroom asking $365,000, to a 1,061-square-foot two-bedroom asking $659,000.

The project — which is being developed by the investment fund Pros Management — was stalled for more than two years, due in part to financing difficulties that arose from the debt crisis. It’s being marketed by

David Maundrell, president of, said Pros Management had also developed 189 Greenpoint Avenue and 121 Kingsland Avenue, both in Brooklyn.

Maundrell added that 50 percent of 29 Montrose is already in contract.

388 Bridge Street (144 condos, 34 rentals)
Downtown Brooklyn

The Stahl Organization broke ground earlier this year on a 590-foot residential tower at 388 Bridge Street. The SLCE Architects–designed skyscraper is slated to include 34 rental units and 144 condos.

The $265 million project has been in the planning stages for several years, with the developer painstakingly assembling batches of air rights. According to news reports, a loanfrom an investment group led by M&T Bank at the end of last year finally allowed the development to move forward.

Upon completion in 2013, the building will be the tallest in the borough, but not for long: Just across the street at 88 Willoughby, AvalonBay Communities is planning a 596-foot, 860-unit rental tower. Construction on that project is not slated to begin until the end of
the year.

Stahl did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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