Brokers WeeklySeptember 26, 2012
Building relationships with clients is a part of every broker’s life.
But reality television allows those brave enough to step in front of the camera a chance to take that personal touch a step further, as television audiences around the world get to feel like they know the stars personally.
“Potential clients recognize us, we’re familiar to them,” said Tom Postilio of CORE, who appeared in the first season of HGTV’s Selling New York. “We show up in their living room and we’ve already been in their living room because of the TV show.”
What’s more, adds fellow CORE broker Mickey Conlon, the show allows potential clients to see them in action.
“In your average listing presentation, someone will spend maybe 15 minutes or half an hour with a broker, and maybe they think they have a nice personality, but the show really shows us out on the street, making plans — they get to know how we sell,” he said. “It’s amazing the number of people who watch the show who don’t necessarily want to be on it but who use it as a part of your resume.”
Some brokers who appear regularly on television report an almost overwhelming spike in business.
Ryan Serhant of Nestseekers, one of the trio of brokers featured in the New York edition of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing, said his business has quadrupled since the show hit the air, and he’s working as much as 18 hours a day.
“I went from being a broker with an assistant working with different brokers to having a team of seven agents and two full-time assistants and my own storefront office in Tribeca where I manage 17 agents,” he said.
Both shows are syndicated around the world, and Serhant can sense a new season airing from thousands of miles away. When the first season of Million Dollar Listing recently aired in Australia, he said, “phone calls and email from brokers in Australia went through the roof.”
Serhant’s Million Dollar Listing co-star Fredrik Eklund of Prudential Douglas Elliman declined to quantify the boost his business has taken as a result of the show, but he said he is contacted two of three times a week about serious potential listings or purchases from people who have seen him on the show.
And then there’s the less-than-serious queries, and calls from fans.
“I don’t answer my own phone anymore,” Eklund said. “I can’t.”
At the start, of course, there was no way for these brokers-turned-TV-personalities to know that allowing a camera crew into their dealmaking and — particularly in the case of Million Dollar Listing — their lives was going to be worth the exposure.
“It was very nerve-wracking for me to sign on for something like that,” admitted Eklund, who had already spent 10 years establishing his business as a broker in the city and in his native Sweden when Million Dollar Listing started filming.
“I had no control over how I was going to be portrayed … I was hoping, or thought it would help, but it was scary. Bravo as a network has only one goal, which is to make good, fun, dramatic TV, and that’s my goal, too, but I also have to keep my integrity as a good, responsible professional in the real estate business.”
Those early fears have been allayed, however, by the response to the show.
While online comments on certain real estate blogs may come down hard on the reality stars, the brokers say, they’re comfortable with the way they and their deals come across on screen.
“There are people that stop me on the street all the time, every day, and say, ‘Can I take a picture? I really love you.’ It’s a lot of love,” he said.
CORE’s offices get regular drop-ins from fans looking for autographed photos of their favorite brokers, Postilio said. And it’s not just brokers who appreciate the exposure these shows offer.
“The producers are out there to make people feel good about pretty properties,” Conlon said. “And as the word has gotten out we’ve been very successful with getting celebrity clients” who can see the show as a way to connect with their own fans.
Postilio and Conlon are currently marketing the actress Joan Collins’ $2.35 million, three-bedroom, three-bath apartment in the Dorchester on East 57th Street.
Apparently, even stars in other industries enjoy watching star brokers at work.
“We’ve had ‘celebrity sightings’ where celebrities recognize us from the show,” Postilio said.
CurbedSeptember 26, 2012
On October 6 and 7, more than 300 sites around New York City—from new hotels and private residence to in-progress parks and historic buildings—will open to the public for the annual fall highlight Open House New York. Some of the sites and events require reservations, which will open at 10 a.m. Thursday morning (that's tomorrow), and OHNY will release the full list of sites this evening. To whet your appetite, they sent over a press release detailing a few dozen of the sites. There are nine new sites this year, and, as always, there are a bunch of Curbed obsessions.
Treehugger's Graham Hill will be welcoming visitors into his foldable 420-square-foot apartment, and designer Apryl Miller is opening her fantastically whimsical Upper East Side home. Interior Design magazine curated a collection of 15 private homes of contemporary architects living in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and there are a few new residential developments on the agenda, including One Museum Mile, Via Verde in the Bronx, and Tribeca's 93 Worth Street.
Two non-residential but new, and bound to be popular, sites are the Wythe Hotel and 40/40 Club. In the realm of under-construction/renovation projects, there's a lot to see: Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 5, the Park Avenue Armory, the New School's University Center, Prospect Park's Lakeside development, and more.
Popular sites like the TWA Flight Center at JFK, the Brooklyn Army Terminal, the High Line Rail Yards, and 7 World Trade Center will be returning, but of course, this is all just the tip of the iceberg, so do head over to the official OHNY site.
New York PostSeptember 20, 2012
Call it the perfect storm. The supply of NYC condos for sale is down (48 percent from the peak in 2008). Demand is up (with mortgage rates low and rents high). And consumer confidence has been reinstated. So says Kelly Mack, president of Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group. Together, these factors have lead to what looks like a very promising fall for new condos.
“It is incredibly active,” Mack says of the new development market. “We’re seeing increased velocity, increased inventory, which is pushing pricing up.”
Buyers’ response to the lucky 13 new condo developments we’re featuring here today — all either just on or about to hit the market — should say a lot. Not to mention they set the stage for the next crop of new buildings, which those in the industry are already anticipating.
“You’re seeing new cranes in the city. The architects are busy again. It’s the first stage of the next wave of new development,” says Jacqueline Urgo, president of the Marketing Directors. “And sites are trading; developers are vying for the same sites. They see the strengthening of the market.”
93 WORTH ST.
Built in 1924, 93 Worth St. began as a garment factory. For the past 50 years, it has served as an office building. And now it has met its destiny — the same destiny as so many buildings in this city — as a luxury condominium. The 13-story TriBeCa building will offer 92 units, studios to four-bedrooms, priced from $1,250 to $2,000 a square foot. Amenities will include a 24-hour doorman, fitness center, playroom, lounge and 3,845-square-foot roof deck. On the ground floor will be 10,000 square feet of commercial space. Sales will start this fall. Contact: Doron Zwickel, Core Group Marketing, 212-612-9607
455 W. 20TH ST.
Part new construction, part conversion, the Brodsky Organization’s second foray into the General Theological Seminary grounds (the first was 422 W. 20th St.) will take the form of 23 condos built both in the renovated “West Building,” originally constructed in 1836, and in an adjacent new-construction building. The two buildings will be connected by a glass atrium and surrounded by an enclosed garden landscaped with trees and flagstone pathways. The one-, two- and three-bedroom units, including duplexes and penthouses with outdoor space and ranging from 1,191 to 3,790 square feet, will start at $2.2 million and have interiors by Alan Wanzenberg Architect and Design. Amenities will include a 24-hour doorman, gym, bike room and private storage. Sales are slated to begin by the end of the year. Contact: Corcoran Sunshine Marketing, 212-727-0455
752 WEST END AVE.
More than 80 years after its construction, the Paris Hotel at 97th Street and West End Avenue is being renovated into surprisingly affordable apartments with Bosch washer/dryers, marble bathrooms and red-oak flooring. Expected pricing has studios starting at $389,000, one-bedrooms at $497,000 and two-bedrooms at $895,000. Some units have terraces. Boasting a renovated lobby, 24-hour doorman and gym with pool and spinning room, the building is ready for immediate occupancy. Contact: Ariel Cohen, Prudential Douglas Elliman, 212-337-6100
101 W. 87TH ST.
One block from Central Park, a mix of 60 newly renovated and newly constructed (sometimes within the same unit!) one- to four-bedroom condos are coming. Residences will be equipped with LG washer/dryers and wide-plank European-oak floors. Kitchens will have custom white-oak cabinets, polished white quartz counters and Liebherr, Bertazzoni and Bosch appliances, plus a Summit wine cooler. Master bathrooms will offer white Calacatta marble walls and floors, double white-oak vanities and towel warmers. Units, priced from $800,000 to $7 million, will range from 657-square-foot one-bedrooms to a 3,000-plus-square-foot four-bedroom penthouse with two private roof terraces. Contact: Corcoran Sunshine Marketing, 212-877-8707
A feng shui-certified condo building in New York? It’s true. Consultant Laura Cerrano of Feng Shui Long Island has advised the developers on every facet of the design and construction of this 15-story, 48-unit Long Island City newcomer. In accordance with all things feng shui, there will be no fourth floor, residences will not have balconies adjacent to living rooms and the entrances to each apartment will not face another interior door. Whew. The studios and one- and two-bedroom residences will range from 475 to 965 square feet with prices starting at $360,000. Amenities will include a landscaped rooftop terrace, parking garage, fitness center with yoga room, entertainment room with Wi-Fi, dog spa and bike storage. Sales will launch in October, with move-ins expected in June 2013. Contact: Modern Spaces, 718-786-1063
200 E. 79TH ST.
Family-sized, indeed: Each of the 39 units in this 19-story building will have three to five bedrooms. Accordingly, there will be eat-in kitchens (designed by SieMatic), dining rooms, family rooms and laundry rooms. And higher-floor apartments will have terraces. Amenities will include a gym with children’s basketball court, Ping-Pong, ballet bar and yoga area. A lounge with a bar will overlook a landscaped terrace with a dining table and semi-private seating areas. Sales will begin in October, with prices starting at just less than $3 million. Occupancy is slated for the second quarter of 2013. Contact: Stribling Marketing Associates, 212-729-4355
Philip House — named in homage to the original patriarch of the Rhinelander family, the early New York real estate barons who built the building at 141 E. 88th St. — will have 79 condos, ranging from one to five bedrooms. They’ll feature crown moldings, wide-plank oak flooring, coffered ceilings and woodburning fireplaces designed with custom stone surrounds. Kitchens will come with bells and whistles like honed Belgian bluestone counters and stainless-steel Sub-Zero, Wolf and Miele appliances. Bathrooms will have radiant-heat flooring. Some residences will boast custom banquettes, wet bars, pocket doors, under-counter Sub-Zero wine refrigerators and six-burner Wolf ranges. Amenities will include a landscaped rooftop terrace with two club rooms offering Wi-Fi. The building also will have a gaming room with foosball table, music practice room, Technogym fitness area and storage. Pricing starts at $850,000. Contact: Stribling Marketing Associates, 212-860-4188
Located at the nexus of TriBeCa and the Financial District, this building, at 37 Warren St., has elements of both neighborhoods. The first seven stories are the conversion of a 1930s construction that once housed a seed and flower purveyor (very TriBeCa). And four new stories will be built to accommodate the penthouses (like FiDi, ever higher). The building’s 18 units, with two-bedrooms starting at $1.8 million and penthouses at $6 million, will have ceiling heights of up to 11 feet, energy-efficient windows, LG washer/dryers, dark-oak flooring and wiring for Verizon FiOS. Kitchens will have Italian oak cabinets, granite counters and Viking and Sub-Zero appliances. The marble master bathrooms will have freestanding cast-iron soaking tubs. Amenities will include a 17-foot vertical garden in the lobby, a training studio designed by the Wright Fit, a rooftop garden, a clubhouse and bike storage. Occupancy is slated for winter 2013. Contact: Barrie Mandel, Corcoran Sunshine Marketing, 212-571-3700
118 PRESIDENT ST.
This boutique four-unit renovation of a century-old brownstone in Brooklyn’s Columbia Street Waterfront District offers brownstone living without the responsibility of owning your own building. Each unit has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, open kitchens, exposed brick, washer/dryers and central air/heat. Oak floors and fireplaces round out the townhouse feel. Every unit has outdoor space and a separate storage space in the basement. Kitchens come with white Caesarstone counters and Liebherr and Bertazzoni appliances. The units, each more than 1,000 square feet, are priced from $799,000 to $1.295 million. Contact: Christina Fallon, Realty Collective, 718-924-5353
This black metal-and-glass new-construction building in Nolita plays well with the New Museum right across the street, bringing more modernity to the Bowery. The 20 one- and two-bedroom loft condos start at $700,000, and the four three- to five-bedroom duplex penthouses with private roof terraces and indoor and outdoor fireplaces go up to $5 million. Sales are underway. Contact: Fredrik Eklund, Prudential Douglas Elliman, 212-727-6158
46 LISPENARD ST.
This prewar cast-iron Baroque-style building, originally constructed by Isaac Duckworth in 1866, has become 10 condo lofts. These TriBeCa residences each have two bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms, except for the penthouse, which has four bedrooms and four bathrooms. Units range from 1,920 to 4,171 square feet and from $2.65 million to $8 million. Contact: Fredrik Eklund, Prudential Douglas Elliman, 212-727-6158
112 S. SECOND ST.
Slipping in among the seemingly unstoppable growth in Williamsburg is this boutique building with eight one- and two-bedroom condos featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, bamboo floors and washer/dryers. Kitchens have stainless-steel appliances, wine coolers, tiled backsplashes and white-lacquered custom cabinets with tempered glass. Bathrooms have steam showers, soaking tubs, dual-flush toilets and custom vanities. Grohe sink fixtures complete both the kitchen and the bathroom. Amenities include a common roof area (there are also select rooftop spaces for sale). Available apartments start at $699,000. Contact: David Maundrell, aptsandlofts.com, 718-384-5304
67 LIBERTY ST.
Amid the skyscrapers in the Financial District comes this boutique building. Private elevator entrances will open up to each of the 14 one- and two-bedroom full-floor and duplex homes. Inside you’ll find gray-stained oak floors and kitchens with white mocha mahogany cabinets and Caesarstone counters. Master bathrooms will have Travertine stone walls, marble floors accented with a limestone border and bronze hardware. Soaking tubs and rainfall showers will round out the package. Units start in the $800,000s. Contact: Jacqueline Urgo, The Marketing Directors, 212-308-6777
CurbedSeptember 20, 2012
'Tis the season for new developments, as the sales market returns from its traditional summer slowdown. Today thePost profiles a few of the new condos headed NYC's way this fall. Here's a quick rundown of pricing, amenity, and other reveals for some projects that have flown under our radar:
1) 93 Worth Street: The signage andteaser website recently went up for this condo project (right), with studio through four-bedroom units, and now we know the rough prices, too. The 92 condos will be priced between $1,250 and $2,000 per square foot. Amenities: fitness center, 3,845-square-foot roof deck, playroom.
2) 752 West End Avenue: This building sold at a loss in fall 2010, and the new owners planned to keep the building as a rental. Turns out that plan didn't last long: the Paris Hotel building will actually be studio through two-bedroom condos with a gym and renovated lobby. Studios will start at $389,000, one-bedrooms at $497,000, and two-bedrooms at $895,000.
3) The Vista: This is a new 48-unit LIC condo with all kinds of Feng Shui—"no fourth floor, residences will not have balconies adjacent to living rooms and the entrances to each apartment will not face another interior door." Prices will start at $360,000 for studios through 2BRs.
4) Philip House: This building's less classy appellation is 141 East 88th Street, and its 79 condos, 1BRs to 5BRs, start at $850,000. (The "Philip House" name is for the Philip Rhinelander, of the family that originally built the building.) Amenities: gym, music practice space, foosball table! Perfect for training the Upper East Side's next generation of lords and ladies.
5) 67 Liberty Street: There are 14 units in this addition to a long-boarded-up five-story commercial buidling, and they've been a long time coming. They're finally ready to hit the market with their oak floors and white mocha mahogany cabinets, and they'll start in the $800,000s.
Brokers WeeklySeptember 19, 2012
210 East 36th Street, 6B
Bright south facing studio apartment that can be converted to a Junior One bedroom. Low-key co-op located by the mid¬town tunnel on a quiet block. Close to restaurants, lounges and transportation lines. Broker: Parul Brahmbhatt, CORE.
CurbedSeptember 19, 2012
How are sales going at One Murray Park, the 45-unit condo building now on the market in Long Island City? The building is 64 percent in contract, and closings have begun, though we have yet to see any in public record. There are eight units left ranging from $415,000 to $900,000. The marketing materials have officially moved from renderings to a real shot of the building.
Buzz Buzz HomeSeptember 19, 2012
Long Island City’s long-awaited One Murray Park, which is wrapping up construction, is now 64 percent in contract.
The available apartments at the 45-unit luxury condo, located at 11-25 4th Avenue, range from $445,000 to $900,000. Amenities include a doorman, fitness center, library lounge, roof deck, bike room and indoor parking. The two-bedroom, two-bath $900,000 condo measures 1,085 square feet and has a private 1,277-square-foot terrace.
CORE Executive Vice President Doron Zwickel is leading sales at the six-story building, which was designed by Soho-based Fogarty Finger. The condominium, located at the recently renovated Murray Park, has 10 studios, 25 one-bedrooms and 10 two-bedrooms.
One Murray Park was the first new condo development in Long Island City to start sales in more than a year.
Pictures of a model unit below from the CORE site:
The New York ObserverSeptember 17, 2012
If you’ve got it, flaunt it. That’s the new rule of thumb in luxury real estate, anyway. After decades in which secrecy was the better part of high-end sales (the “if you’ve really got it, you don’t need to flaunt it” philosophy favored by buttoned-up Park Avenue types), top brokers are increasingly adopting aggressive PR and marketing strategies that, however scandalous to the old guard, are helping to draw deep-pocketed buyers.
In 2000, insurance mogul Saul Steinberg decided to sell what was arguably the most magnificent apartment in the city: a 34-room triplex penthouse at 740 Park Avenue. Mr. Steinberg had purchased the 20,000-square foot spread from the estate from the estate of John D. Rockefeller Jr. in 1971. Among its many wonders, it had a library with English pine paneling that dated to 1760, a dining room that seated 48 and a two-bedroom governess suite. The exceptional thing, however, was that Mr. Steinberg wanted $40 million for it—a price that caused such a maelstrom of gossip that this salmon-tinted paper even accused him of indiscretion for allegedly “leaking” the incredible asking price to the public.
Gossip notwithstanding, the deal went down in the socially-sanctified, hush-hush manner that the city’s top residential real estate deals had always been conducted up to that point. Mr. Steinberg enlisted the help of his former sister-in-law Kathryn Steinberg, a broker at Edward Lee Cave’s consummate old-guard brokerage. The apartment never made a formal market debut, nor was it entered into the broker database. Ms. Steinberg just whispered in a few of the right ears and the apartment sold quickly—for $33 million—not quite ask, but still a record high for residential real estate.
A decade later, on the far side of the park, a new record, many times higher, was set in a very different way. When ex-Citibank CEO Sandy Weill decided to unload his 10-room penthouse at 15 Central Park West, he didn’t reach out to his dearest friends. Instead, Mr. Weill called (or more likely had his assistant call) The Wall Street Journal to announce that he was listing the apartment for $88 million. The strategy was effective—a little over a month later, a Russian fertilizer tycoon paid the full asking price, setting another record high. Soon, sellers were offering up one tantalizing property after another, there for all the world to drool over. After all, splashing the photos across the dailies, the glossies or the Internet (preferably all three) might catch the eye of another fertilizer king.
After years of playing things close to the vest, New York’s most affluent home sellers were showing some leg. Just as the Parises and Tinsleys of the world had supplanted Brookes and Nans—at least in the public’s imagination—a studied showiness is supplanting the established customs of white shoe brokerages where brokers lived and died by their Rolodexes. Throughout the spring and summer, brokers and sellers welcomed reporters from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal to wander through their gleaming lairs.
The Times wrote about Christopher M. Jeffries’s magnificent duplex at the Ritz Carlton, listed for $77.5 million. The Journal gushed about Howard Marks’s $50 million spread, also at the Ritz. Next came the granddaddy of them all—a $100 million listing at CitySpire for the octagonally shaped quadroplex penthouse, which was featured in both The Times and a CNN segment. In mid-August, not one but two $95 million listings appeared back to back, at 15 CPW and the Ritz, in The Journal and The Times, respectively. The new trophy condos were, it seemed, always ready for their close-up.
As were the brokers. Few trends reveal the changing nature of luxury marketing more than the rise of real estate reality T.V. shows like Selling New York and Million Dollar Listing, where the brokers are the stars and the properties supporting players. None embody this more than Prudential Douglas Elliman broker Fredrik Eklund, who stars in Million Dollar Listing. A preternaturally handsome Swede and former gay porn star, Mr. Eklund and his broker partner John Gomes (Mr. Gomes was a former star of Selling New York) have racked up a staggering sales record by being, as they put it on their website “at the vanguard of the new guard.” Naturally, they were happy to meet with us at the Douglas Elliman offices one muggy August afternoon.
“My job is to have as many wealthy buyers as possible in the world come to my website,” Mr. Eklund said, claiming that when Million
Dollar Listing was airing, he had hundreds of thousands of clicks on his company bio. “The industry has changed. The old guard was always in back of the listing. The new guard, we put ourselves in front.”
“We’re selling ourselves as much as our properties,” piped in Mr. Gomes. “We have google alerts on ourselves, we have google alerts on our properties. Our objective is to be in the paper or on TV every day.”
”It really helps,” said Mr. Eklund.
“It really does,” echoed Mr. Gomes.
“The old guard did their business from their Rolodexes. But no one today really knows everyone with money, no one knows everything,” Mr. Eklund opined.
“It’s a global marketplace, there’s no limit to the boundaries when we go globally,” said Mr. Gomes. “We realize that we’re alienating ourselves from some clients who don’t want to be anywhere near the press. But honestly, those clients get the best of both worlds, because we can offer them complete discretion, but they still get all the traffic to their listings.”
“It’s why the phones won’t stop ringing,” Mr. Gomes said, gesturing at Mr. Eklund. “It’s why people stop him on the streets.” He pointed beyond the glass doors to a slightly chubby broker in nondescript business clothes at one of the shared standing terminals. “That wouldn’t happen to that guy.”
They both laughed, but life was not all fun and games. Mr. Gomes had to dash to a meeting. And dash he did, smart phone in one hand, lunch in the other—slipping into the backseat of a flame-blue Porsche that zipped into traffic as soon as he pulled the door shut.
Real estate marketing is nothing new, but the spotlight has long been shunned in the upper echelons of Manhattan real estate—River House, the snootiest of old New York co-ops, is famous for forbidding the use of its name in advertising. Luxury brokerages were as famed for their discretion as for their ability to sell an apartment (indeed, the two were often one and the same). And that was when discretion meant a way of life rather than honoring a client’s non-disclosure agreement.
“I was always taught that the spouting whale gets harpooned,” remarked A. Laurance Kaiser, the proprietor of Upper East Side boutique brokerage Key-Ventures, Inc. “My clients do not like publicity. The people that I deal with are repulsed by the whole thing.”
“Prices are tremendously high,” Mr. Kaiser added. “But properties are not in the same hands they once were. And some of those hands are not as manicured as others.”
New York has always been an international city, but co-ops have made no secret of their preference for buyers who make Manhattan their primary address, and for those who will not draw unwanted—or really any—attention to their buildings. Listings specifically note when a co-op is pied-a-terre friendly; the assumption, of course, is that it’s not. Moreover, the strict financial disclosure requirements, letters of recommendation and interview requirements mean that acceptance to the top co-ops is virtually impossible for those without a New York pedigree. In the past, people who couldn’t pass muster with a co-op board—including the former president Richard
Nixon—had little recourse but to buy a townhouse or rent.
As a result, many brokers even made it a point of pride to eschew advertising. “I don’t want people we don’t know asking us to help them, because we don’t know where we can put them,” Edward Cave told Steven Gaines, when he interviewed Mr. Cave for the book The Sky’s the Limit. “I have sold only two apartments in 20 years through advertising.”
How did he sell apartments? He and the brokers who worked for him knew people, of course. At least they knew the right people. Of the 25 people at his firm, Mr. Cave noted that practically all of them were either married to, related to or went to school with all of the firm’s clients.
But in the last decade, a seismic shift has occurred in the world of New York’s ultra luxurious real estate, a shift that is intimately tied to the rise of a class of super-luxury condos like those in the Time Warner Center, 15 CPW, One57, the Ritz Carlton and the Plaza. Condos have long drawn wealthy foreigners, but these full-service amenity-laden buildings offered trophies as gleaming as those in the top co-ops. And given the larger pool of eager buyers, they soon started selling for as much as, and sometimes more.
The landscape of wealth is also shifting. “Foreigners traditionally bought in London and the South of France,” said Kirk Henckels, the executive VP at Stribling. “But now the U.S. has become the attractive place to park money, particularly with all the financial troubles in Europe. We sort of have a perfect storm of good properties and foreign buyers, and price is no object.”
Foreign buyers have lots of money and they wanted to spend it on a magnificent apartment, but they do not necessarily have the inclination, or the social connections, to land in Manhattan’s best co-ops. As one broker noted, the co-op market may not be open to these individuals, but very big sales in mega condos are helping to raise prices for all trophy properties. (The Courtney Sale Ross apartment, which spent years on the market as a whisper listing, finally set a co-op record when it sold this spring for $52.5 million.) And as it happens, the global elite often find the bright glare of the spotlight helpful rather than gauche.
“Public relations are enormously important,” Mr. Henckels said. “Having a good story behind a property plays an important role. Foreign publications are picking them up and that’s where a lot of buyers are coming from.”
CORE broker Emily Beare, who has a $95 million listing at 15 CPW, noted that in many ways advertising and publicity have helped to make the building one of the most successful in the world. “It educated the world on the building,” she said. “We know that New York is a place where people want to invest. So how do you reach out to them?”
The looming specter of wealth taxes in countries like France and the economic uncertainty across the continent makes New York real estate particularly attractive right now, according to Stijn Van Nieuwerburg, the director of the Center for Real Estate Finance Research at NYU’s business school.
“Real estate is becoming an appealing investment and New York is emerging as a leader in the global marketplace,” Mr. Van Nieuwerburg said. “It’s tied to the emerging upper and middle classes in places like India and China. Those countries still lack a lot of financial stability, but you have people with money to invest. Global marketing is key to reaching a lot of those buyers.”
Many brokers pointed out that when it comes to publicity, the Internet has changed everything. As soon as a listing goes online, it’s there for the world to see anyway, so why not try to control the message? Property transfers, including co-ops, can now be found online and both buyers and looky-loos can peruse detailed histories and photo galleries on StreetEasy.
“When we first started we were met with a lot of resistance from brokers who were angry that we were showing price changes and time on the market,” said Sofia Song, the vice president of research at StreetEasy. “The real estate industry in New York used to be so opaque, especially because we don’t have an MLS,” she added, referring to a multiple listing service.
But these days, Ms. Song said that brokers will often call if they cut the prices on their listings and don’t see it reflected on the site immediately.
Brokers emphasized, however, that while trophy condos may have embraced a new existence in the public eye, co-op deals are still conducted in the same way they always have been. A prime example is the multi-floor co-op at 2 East 70th Street that belonged to the estate of the late private equity billionaire Teddy Fortsmann. When it came on the market in March, it had no online photos, no public listing and no entry in the broker database.
“With a property of that stature, we thought less was more, and that frankly, a big PR campaign and intense marketing would be sort of gilding the lily,” said Meredyth Smith, who co-brokered the sale with her Sotheby’s colleague Serena Boardman. The property sold almost immediately, for $4 million above the $36 million ask.
Word, as it always does, did get out—the New York Post featured a gossipy item on both the listing and the contract—the key distinction was that neither Ms. Smith nor Ms. Boardman returned the Post’s calls and they certainly didn’t invite the newspaper in for a tour.
Ms. Smith likened top co-op sales to a very successful IPO, with a first round of very quiet showings for a small number of potential buyers.
“With co-ops there is the feeling that too much drum beating can be counterproductive,” she said. “For the very sophisticated buyer who is the target audience for these apartments, their point of entry into the market is not through advertising, but through word of mouth. They’re in the inner circle already.”
And regardless of whether a trophy hunting billionaire is looking to land an apartment in the most exclusive co-op or the shiniest new condo tower rising on the horizon, advertising can only do so much.
“Publicity gets people to the properties, but it has to be a good product,” said Douglas Elliman’s CEO and President Dottie Herman.“The publicity alone wouldn’t do it if the property was in Hoboken.”
Crain's New YorkSeptember 16, 2012
Late last month, the developers of what will be the city's tallest residential spire, now rising on Park Avenue, submitted a plan to increase asking prices for its 128 condominiums to an average of $5,800 per square foot. Not only is that a double-digit hike from the original price set just two months earlier, it comes three years before the 1,398-foot tower is scheduled to be completed.
According to the filing with the state attorney general's office, a one-bedroom apartment will start at $4.96 million and a six-bedroom at $64.4 million. Experts say that such hikes of already astronomical prices for high-end housing are symptomatic of a phenomenon that is beginning to be felt across much of Manhattan. It is being driven by everything from people being priced out of the red-hot rental market to a lack of new building in recent years.
"Prices will be pushed higher if there is no relief in terms of supply," said Jonathan Miller, chief executive of appraisal firm Miller Samuel Inc. "It's the basic law of economics."
So far this year, 432 Park Ave. is one of just 15 new condo projects whose offering plans were submitted to the attorney general's office, which must approve them before sales can begin. Although several stalled condo projects have been revived this past year and new developments are in the works as construction lending loosens, the number of units projected to enter the market in the next few years is still likely to fall short of demand.
As of last week, plans for just 27 new condos, co-ops or conversions in Manhattan, with a grand total of a mere 875 units, had been submitted to the AG's office in 2012. That is a fraction of the 52 plans, with a total of 2,472 units, submitted last year—much less the recent peak hit in 2006. Back then, there were plans for 211 developments with 15,827 units.
Meanwhile, fewer homeowners have been putting their co-ops or condos on the market, apparently hoping for better prices down the road. As a result, the number of listings for co-ops and condos in Manhattan slipped to 5,593 last month, the lowest ebb in more than five years, according to Mr. Miller.
"We can use more inventory, whether it's new development or sellers listing their homes," said Gregory Heym, chief economist for Terra Holdings, parent company to residential brokerages Brown Harris Stevens and Halstead Property.
Fanned by strong demand from foreign buyers, and average apartment rents that have set records each month since March, the outlook for sales in Manhattan has been improving in recent months. Last week's announcement from the Federal Reserve that it would massively stimulate the housing market as a way to boost employment will only heighten expectations.
"We are seeing a lot of people who were waiting on the sidelines now jumping in," said Kelly Kennedy Mack, president of Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group.
The bottom line in Manhattan is that sales of new apartments are expected to outpace additions to supply through 2015, according to Corcoran Sunshine. It found that 1,980 units were absorbed during the 12-month period ended March 31. In contrast, just 1,676 units are expected to be released into the market in the next three years.
"It's a perfect storm," said Fredrik Eklund, a broker at Prudential Douglas Elliman and a star of the reality-television show Million Dollar Listing New York. "The beauty of it is we are at the beginning of it."
Downtown, a condo conversion at 46 Lispenard St. is a perfect example. After just one week on the market, all but two of the building's 11 units were sold at prices that ranged from $2.65 million for a two-bedroom, to nearly $8 million for a four-bedroom. Mr. Eklund, the broker for that property, said units went at the full asking price without any contingencies or buyer incentives.
Meanwhile, at 250 Bowery, he noted, 900 people have already signed up to see a new 24-unit development whose condo plan has not yet been approved and therefore cannot be shown.
"There are more buyers than available apartments," said Shaun Osher, chief executive of Core, the boutique brokerage marketing Walker Tower, a 50-unit condo conversion in Chelsea that is more than 30% in contract after less than three months on the market.
Mr. Osher would not disclose prices, but according to StreetEasy.com, a two-bedroom, three-bath plus home-office unit with 2,400 square feet went into contract late last month at its asking price of $7.2 million—which was up 11% from its previous price.
"Walker Tower is shattering record prices for downtown," he said.
Stephen Kliegerman, president of Terra Development Marketing, said that in the past four months, developers planning new condos that will begin marketing next spring or fall are contemplating initial asking prices 3% to 10% higher than projected at the beginning of this year.
"Don't expect developers to be negotiable with prices because demand is so high," he said.
Interest in NYC Condos Spreads Across Latin America
The Real DealSeptember 14, 2012
Latin American countries have been a consistent source of buyers for Manhattan’s luxury condominium market through the downturn, but the New York Times pointed out that the specific country producing these buyers continues to change.
In a story that focuses on Argenties surpassing Brazilians as the largest buyer of luxury condos in Miami, Prudential Douglas Elliman broker Maria Velazquez told the Times that a similar shift has occurred in New York City. Last month, Velazquez sold six apartments for $8 million to Argentines she escorted through the city, including four at One Museum Mile. She said many of the buyers already have multiple apartments in Miami.
But the shift is ongoing. Argentina is now being surpassed by Venezuelans. In the past year Velazquez sold $35 million in real estate to Venezuelan including the three $7 million penthouses at the Aldyn, at 60 Riverside Boulevard.
The Times said Venezuelans are concerned about the Oct. 7 elections. A legitimate challenger to President Hugo Chavez has arose in Henrique Capriles, and the wealthy are desperate to get their cash out of the country. In fact, many are employing expensive and illegal methods to do so.
Last year, Stribling & Associates said foreign buyers make up one-third of city’s condo purchasers. [NYT] – Adam Fusfeld
CurbedSeptember 14, 2012
CORE to Open Retail Office on UES: Boutique Firm is Headed to Madison Avenue
The Real DealSeptember 11, 2012
Boutique brokerage CORE is set to open its second Manhattan retail location, this one on the Upper East Side, a company spokesperson told The Real Deal today.
The firm, which was recently ranked by TRD as the city’s top boutique brokerage, based on the value of listings, has inked a 10-year lease for a 3,500-square-foot office at 673 Madison Avenue, which will open next spring, the spokesperson said. A gut renovation of the place will begin this fall.
The retail office will occupy the second and third floors of a historic brownstone between 61st and 62nd streets. Jewelry brand Judith Ripka operates a boutique store on the ground floor of the building.
“Jack [Cayre] and I are extremely excited to continue to grow our luxury boutique brand,” Shaun Osher, CEO of CORE, said in a statement.
It was not immediately clear how many agents will be working out of the new office, though CORE’s Reba Miller will be heading operations at the location with Osher. The firm will be making a number of additional hires to fill the space, a spokesperson said.
The brokerage currently has one other storefront office at 127 Seventh Avenue, between 17th and 18th streets, which it opened in the midst of the financial crisis in 2009. Meanwhile, its headquarters are at 104 Fifth Avenue. Cayre previously claimed that Core’s Chelsea office was “one of the most profitable brokerage offices in the country.”
CORE beat out Upper East Side brokerage Leslie J. Garfield & Co. this year to earn the title of the city’s top boutique firm in an annual ranking by The Real Deal. It was the first time the firm had garnered the top spot since The Real Deal began ranking firms in 2009. The firm currently has 52 agents.
CORE Announces Plans To Open Upper East Side Retail Space
September 11, 2012
NEW YORK, N.Y. (September 11, 2012) – CORE is pleased to announce plans to open a new Upper East Side retail location slated for Spring 2013. Located at 673 Madison Avenue at 61st Street, CORE’s Upper East Side office is set in a prime retail location and will occupy the second and third floors of a historic brownstone.
"Jack and I are extremely excited to continue to grow our luxury boutique brand to Madison Avenue where we will continue to service the needs of our clients with the highest level of service and integrity,” notes Shaun Osher, CEO of CORE.
A gut renovation on the 3,500-square foot space will begin this fall.
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 www.corenyc.com.
Yahoo! Homes: SpacesSeptember 10, 2012
New Jersey might not scream royalty to you, but real estate agent Michael Graves assures Yahoo! Homes that his listing in Saddle River, New Jersey, is truly a "palatial estate." (We'd add: at least of the William Randolph Hearst castle-owning variety.)
Appropriately enough given these pretensions to royalty, we first spotted the 25,000-square-foot Jersey estate on the website of the United Kingdom's Daily Mail.
The newspaper bills it as "The incredible $19 million New Jersey mansion with a swimming pool in the living room," and although Graves cautions that the Daily Mail exaggerates to claim the pool is in the living room -- because, after all, the house already has a living room -- it's certainly safe to say that the indoor watering hole is a focal point:
The tiled expanses on either side of the floor-to-ceiling window are two 24-foot "water walls" that send water cascading down into the pool. The inset infinity hot tub is heated by geothermal energy -- "in a way, it's like a hot spring," says Graves -- and spills warm water into the rest of the pool to help maintain a comfortable temperature. The home's grand entry hall opens onto the pool, and a balcony in the master bedroom suite overlooks it. (You can see floor plans and more pictures of the estate inour slideshow; click here or on the photo above to check it out.)
Is it too much of a reach that we see an ever-so-slight resemblance to the Roman Pool at Hearst Castle? See what you think:
To see more photos of the house and learn more about its lavish amenities -- such as a massive hand-carved cherry-wood kitchen, five spiral staircases and 2-ton marble pillars -- visit our slideshow.
RE Tech BitsSeptember 07, 2012
I have long been an admirer of Shaun Osher and his New York-based residential sales and marketing firm, CORE Group Marketing. CORE is a leading, full-service, boutique real estate brokerage specializing in the marketing of premiere residential properties. CORE was founded by CEO Shaun Osher and Jack Cayre, who envisioned a dynamic boutique brokerage driven by innovation. Within the past six years, CORE has introduced more than 25 new development properties to the New York City real estate market, selling more than $1 billion in real estate.
One of the things that always struck me about Shaun and his firm is how passionate they are about thinking out of the box. Many people are familiar with their TV Show “Selling NY”, but they have been doing cool and innovative things since I first met them about six years ago. It’s not surprising then to learn of CORE’s commitment and investment in social media.
See how other real estate leaders use social media in an interview with Jeremy Neuer of CBRE.
I spoke with Kristina Helb, Director of Communications at CORE, and got her take on social media, how CORE uses it and where she thinks it’s all headed.
Michael: How does CORE view the importance of social media in getting its message out about the firm, its people and properties?
Kristina: At CORE we pride ourselves on being innovative in the real estate marketing space. Social media allows us to communicate in unique and direct ways. We are also able to share content that would not fit in traditional media.
Michael: What social media tools does the company use and which are most effective?
Kristina: We use several social media tools including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and the CORE Blog. Through these mediums, we are able to connect with our target audiences. CORE is the first real estate company to start a blog and we use this as a platform to showcase CORE projects, spotlight agents, share market insights and break news on CORE projects.
CORE Group’s Pinterest Page
Michael: How do you actually define success in the social media space? Which metrics do you use to determine if something is effective or not?
Kristina: Our success is a combination of quantifying visitors and followers and qualifying their level of engagement. We examine the traffic we are getting and how people are interacting with the content.
Michael: What are some of the tactics the company deploys that are unique in the marketplace?
Kristina: We were the first real estate brokerage in New York City to utilize Pinterest, in addition to being the first to start a blog. We also utilize beautiful imagery and video content – users are very visual so this has proven to be successful.
Michael: How do you encourage your associates to use social media? What percentage do you think are active in social media?
Kristina: We encourage our agents to follow CORE on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, and to subscribe to our blog’s RSS feed. The content we generate is great for our agents to repost to help market their brands and position them as experts. We also help agents who may not be as familiar with social media develop their personal pages through training seminars. It is important that agents not only leverage social media, but that they are communicating relevant, brand-building content.
Michael: Where does the firm see the future of social media heading as it relates to residential real estate?
Kristina: We’ll have to wait to see what the next hot social media platform is!
If you know of someone or a company that you would consider a leader in this arena, let me know and you may just see their profile in a future post.
Mail OnlineSeptember 06, 2012
If you're spending $19 million on a new home, you would expect a few extras thrown in.
And, with a swimming pool in the living room, this opulent French manor house won't let you down.
The pool at the mansion in the exclusive Saddle River, New Jersey neighbourhood stretches between plush white sofas and overlooks the property's 4.4 acres through floor-to-ceiling windows.
It's just a stone's throw from the in-house bar - making it all the easier to fetch champagne cocktails to help you muster a leisurely swim.
And if it all gets just a little too much to bear, the room also houses an infinity hot tub to de-stress.
But the pool, which is tiled with mosaics, is not the only notable feature of the home, which was completed just six months ago.
The 25,000-square-foot mansion is entirely green, relying solely on geothermic and solar energy - making sure there isn't so much guilt after shelling out $19 million for such unabashed luxury.
The furnished house also offers an impressive entryway with eight dramatic stone columns weighing two-and-a-half tons each and a hallway dripping with crystal chandeliers.
Up the twin staircases upstairs - or the elevator - there is a master suite with two bathrooms and dressing rooms, and four guest bedrooms.
The mansion also offers a cinema room, a dining room, library, second living room and five grand marble fireplaces. Outside, there's a double parking garage and gates to protect the house.
There is also an outdoor lit tennis court, just one of two homes with the feature in the neighbourhood.
'The swimming pool is just one of the incredible features of the property,' Michael Graves from realtors Core NYC told MailOnline.
He added that he expects the home will garner interest from business executives or celebrities in need of top security and privacy, as the house has a gate and cannot be seen from the road.
AOL Real EstateSeptember 05, 2012
Now we've seen some crazy homes (ones with slides, zeppelins, dolls hanging from the ceiling, you name it), but our heart still skips a beat when we see a swimming pool where it shouldn't be. In this case, it's smack in the middle of this gorgeous living room in Saddle River, N.J.
Look at that thing: It may be totally out of place, but it's also exquisite (that mosaic tiling!).
Pool aside, the house itself is equally exquisite. It has French manor-style interiors, a "Gone With the Wind"-worthy grand hall boasting dramatic stone columns, custom moldings, dripping crystal chandeliers, and Italian marble mantles. There's also a cherrywood library and an in-house bar. What else could you possibly need to keep yourself entertained?
In case all the unabashed luxury was starting to make you feel a little uneasy, perhaps you can breathe a little easier knowing that the entire home is green -- well, as green as you can get for a mansion. It's powered entirely by geothermic and solar energy.
So how much will this green, glam home set you back? Oh, you know, just $19 million. But walking through your living room and tripping into your own pool? Priceless.
Michael Graves of Core NYC has the listing.
At 46 Lispenard — 80% of Units Sold, Five Days In
The Real DealSeptember 04, 2012
In the dog days of summer, New York City’s wealthy traditionally flee to less-humid climes, sending the luxury real estate market into slowdown mode. But with Manhattan inventory tightening and global buyers rushing to put their money in New York as Europe falters, transaction volume has maintained its momentum.
In one instance, a new 11-unit Tribeca condominium project at 46 Lispenard Street has contracts out on more than 80 percent of its units after just five days on the market over the Labor Day weekend, its exclusive listing broker Fredrik Eklund of Prudential Douglas Elliman told The Real Deal today. The contracts sent out for nine units, which are priced between $2.65 million and $4 million — at an average of $1,373 per square foot — are all for the full-asking prices.
“We were battling back and forth over whether we should list it after Labor Day,” said Eklund, who is listing the property with colleagues John Gomes and Genifer Lancaster. “That’s what everyone else is doing.”
But the Eklund Gomes team went for a different tack in an attempt to capitalize on low inventory, which reached a three-year trough in August: “In the next two or three weeks, [inventory] is going to increase dramatically. People have been waiting for everyone to come back and the fall to begin. It’s the re-ignition of the market. So we thought, let’s be ahead of the curve [and list it at the end of August.]”
The tradition of waiting to list new properties till the official close of summer is longstanding, said Donna Olshan, president of Olshan Realty. “The traditional feeling has been that luxury traffic is not around. The brokers take time off. The feeling is to get a fresh start when the market’s in full swing and the buyers are back,” she said.
The inclination to hold off on marketing a luxury property till September, she said, is often counterproductive, especially in the current market. “If you have a market like this which has low inventory it also behooves one to just put it up on the market. If it’s priced right, there will probably be a buyer out there. Also, our market is very global. [Global purchasers are] not running on our calendar.”
The success of 46 Lispenard, which was designed in 1866 by Isaac Duckworth and features a pre-war cast-iron façade, comes on the heels of an extremely active summer for luxury transactions.
Six of 10 units at the Abington, a West Village condo at 607 Hudson Street, are currently in contract after the building came online in late June. And sales at Walker Tower, JDS Development’s 50-unit Chelsea condo at 212 West 18th Street, have progressed throughout the summer, with a spate of units going into contract in July, according to Streeteasy.com.
Tim Crowley of Flank, the company behind the Abingdon, said provisional interest in the units had justified bringing the property on the market in June. ”We felt that given the amount of people we’d done previews for and the amount of inquiries we were getting from the brokerage community, the market was ready to receive it despite what is traditionally a slower selling season,” he said.
He continued, “I don’t think we would have launched in August, which is traditionally the slowest real estate month but mid- to late-June, we were fine with. The last two weeks of August may as well not exist on the real estate calendar.”
According to a market report released yesterday by Olshan, 129 contracts were signed in the 10-week period that began on June 25 and ended on the day before Labor Day. That figure represents a 42 percent increase over last summer and is the best summer since Olshan began keeping records in 2007. The report attributes the success of the luxury market to the Dow Jones Industrial Average having finished August at 13,091, up 1,851 points over the same period last year, and to historically low mortgage rates.
Inventory is also at record lows. According to real estate consulting website UrbanDigs.com, there are currently only around 5,000 active listings available in Manhattan, representing a more than 25 percent decline in inventory over the last six months. At its most recent height in April 2009, there were around 9,500 apartments available.
“We’ve seen a steady improvement in the real estate economy,” Crowley said. “I think that’s going to present itself regardless of the time of year. That this summer was better than the previous three summers should tell us something about the real estate market in general.”
ExperienceNoMad.comSeptember 04, 2012
The NY Daily News has caught on to how hot NoMad New York is. Last month, they highlighted the dining experience at the NoMad. They stated that “the NoMad can make one feel chosen, like there is perhaps no more desirable place to be in New York.”
Days ago, the NY Daily News ran a story called “Ask a Broker.” This featured an interview with highly successful real estate broker Jarrod Guy Randolph. Randolph was recently featured in Forbes “30 under 30″ list for real estate. He has also appeared on HGTV’s “Selling New York.”
When asked about the next hottest neighborhood in NYC, Randolph had one answer: NoMad New York! Randolph went on to state, “Ace Hotel, the Gansevoort, the NoMad and Eataly. If you build it, they will come. I’ve been telling developers for the last five years that is the place to be. It’s literally in the center of the city.”
The Next Records to be Broken
The Real DealSeptember 04, 2012
A look at the residential and commercial properties that may have what it takes to break new barriers.
It’s been a year of firsts for Manhattan real estate. Six months ago, the $88 million deal for Sanford Weill’s 15 Central Park West apartment set a new record for the most expensive Manhattan condo ever sold. Only a few months later, a mystery buyer reportedly signed a contract to pay between $90 and $100 million for a duplex penthouse at Extell Development’s One57. Then in April, a new record for Manhattan’s priciest co-op sale was set when Howard Marks, the chairman of global investment management firm Oaktree Capital Management, paid $52.5 million for Courtney Sale Ross’s duplex at 740 Park Avenue.
Aiming to replicate this success, a bevy of properties have hit the market with asking prices that could potentially set new records. And while residential properties often grab the headlines, retail and office landlords are also testing the limits of the market, asking record rents for Fifth Avenue retail and Midtown office properties.
This month, TRD talked to brokers and market analysts to find out which of these high-priced properties actually have what it takes to set a new record — and which don’t.
Highest total purchase price for a Manhattan condo
Much attention has been focused lately on the $100 million listing for Steven Klar’s penthouse at Midtown’s CitySpire, which hit the market in July with Prudential Douglas Elliman’s Raphael De Niro.
If it sells for the full asking price, the 8,000-square-foot triplex would set a new record for the priciest-ever Manhattan condo sale.
But the consensus among brokers is that the eyebrow-raising price tag is simply too much for a 25-year-old building. Even Elliman’s chairman, Howard Lorber, indicated that the unit may be overpriced when he said in a CNN interview last month: “Pricing apartments today, it’s not a science, you know. If this is what the owner wants for the apartment, it will either sell or it won’t sell.”
And in fact, two other condos currently on the market may actually have more potential to set records, brokers said. (The number to beat depends in part on the final sale price of the One57 duplex, which hasn’t yet closed.)
One strong contender is an apartment listed by Leroy Schecter, the 85-year-old steel tycoon. His two-unit combination spread at 15 Central Park West hit the market for $95 million early last month. The two 35th-floor units, which Schecter bought for a total of $18.9 million, are listed with Core’s Emily Beare, who declined to comment. The Wall Street Journal reported that while the spread is slightly smaller than Weill’s, it actually has better views.
Another highly desirable unit, brokers said, is a duplex penthouse at the Ritz-Carlton at 50 Central Park South, also listed for $95 million. The apartment, which is reportedly owned by an Argentinean ballroom dancer, is listed by Halstead Property’s Dianne Weston, who declined to comment. The 5,078-square-foot unit is said to have a 42-foot-long ballroom that overlooks Central Park.
High-end Sotheby’s broker Nikki Field, who has no affiliation with any of the listings, said the 15 CPW and Ritz-Carlton properties could sell for close to their asking prices. After all, $100 million sales have already closed in markets like London, Hong Kong and Moscow.
“These elite properties are in a global league of their own and are now priced comparably to other markets that these buyers invest in,” she said.
The Ritz-Carlton listing, in particular, is in an extremely attractive location and “will trade high,” Field said.
Highest total purchase price for a Queens condo
At TF Cornerstone’s The View in Long Island City, a penthouse listed for $3.25 million would set a record for the priciest condo sale in Queens if it achieves its asking price. Located at 4630 Center Boulevard, the 2,260-square-foot resale unit has three bedrooms, four bathrooms and a private terrace. It was listed in July with Silvette Julian of Nest Seekers International.
The record for the most expensive Queens condo is currently held by a unit at Long Island City’s Arris Lofts, which sold for $3.04 million in 2008, according to city records.
So far, prospective buyers have been surprised that such a pricey property exists in Queens, Julian said, but she believes the property’s size and views make it “one of a kind.”
Jennifer Dorfmann of Modern Spaces — the firm marketing the View’s remaining sponsor units — said that Julian’s asking price is within “the realm of reality,” given the apartment’s outdoor space and “showstopper view.” And as demand for Queens properties grows, she said, “you’re going to have more $2 million-plus buyers in Queens.”
But Citi Habitats agent Christopher Butt disagreed.
The unit’s price tag of more than $1,400 per square foot “doesn’t sound realistic,” he said, noting that similar units in the area have been selling for $800 to $900 per square foot.
Butt is currently listing a three-bedroom at Arris Lofts for $1.49 million, and said he has “been having a really hard time” getting what he feels is the right price for the unit.
“I think Long Island City is in a better position than it was pre-recession,” he said, but still, “post-recession, it is not getting what it should.”
Highest total price for a Brooklyn home
A triplex apartment atop One Main Street in Dumbo has been sitting on the market for over three years, most recently listed with Michele Kleier and Samantha Kleier Forbes of Gumley Haft Kleier.
The 7,000-square-foot penthouse — well-known for the four giant glass-faced clocks that serve as its windows — first hit the market in 2009 asking $25 million. But the property, developed by Two Trees Management, has seen several price chops, and is now asking $19 million, almost twice the highest price ever paid for a Brooklyn home. A Brooklyn Heights mansion once owned by Truman Capote sold last winter for $12.5 million, setting the record for a single-family residence in the borough.
Kleier told TRD that it’s difficult to put a price on such an unusual property.
“It’s obviously not for everyone,” she said. “With a property as unusual as this, you almost have to pick a number out of a hat and wait for the right buyer to come along.” Kleier, who declined to comment on the possibility of further price cuts, said she sees a celebrity or tech mogul as the most likely buyer of the property.
Other industry sources said the property is unlikely to sell for close to its current asking price.
“It’s been on the market for a long time,” said one broker with knowledge of the Dumbo market. “People that have $19 million or $20 million to spend would rather be in Manhattan.”
Another source said: “It’s a totally ridiculous price. It’s a very dramatic apartment, but the layout is not very family-friendly. A lot of the square footage is taken up with elevators and staircases. I don’t think it’s better than everything else that’s ever sold in Brooklyn.”
Still, industry sources said the apartment would most likely sell for $12 to $14 million.
Asher Abehsera, a vice president at Two Trees, did not respond to a request for comment.
Highest price per square foot for a Manhattan office building
The Lehman Art House, a Beaux-Arts commercial townhouse at 7 West 54th Street, hit the market in May for $65 million, or just under $4,000 per square foot. If it sells for that price, it would crush the existing record for a city office building sale, set this spring when Spanish tile company Porcelanosa paid some $2,600 per square foot for the Commodore Criterion building on Fifth Avenue.
Once the home of former Lehman Brothers chief Philip Lehman, the Art House is currently owned by investment group Zimmer Lucas Capital, which uses the six-story building as its headquarters. The company paid just $13 million for the building in 2005.
The property has a rusticated limestone exterior, but has been renovated with übermodern conveniences inside, including video-conferencing and trading rooms, as well as a gym, sauna and retractable glass roof system on the sixth floor, which opens directly onto a 737-square-foot outdoor terrace.
“No other commercial townhouse has ever come on the market with that caliber of renovation in my 23 years of dealing with this segment of the market,” said top residential broker Paula Del Nunzio of Brown Harris Stevens, who is marketing the property. “The same people that spend $80 million for somewhere to live can spend $65 million for somewhere to have the most exquisite corporate headquarters.”
Del Nunzio said she expects a high-end jewelry or fashion retailer, along the lines of Swiss watch and jewelry company Chopard or luxury goods designer Hermès, to take the space as its headquarters.
The building, which comes with 9,000 square feet of air rights, is commercially zoned, making an office building its only allowable use. Still, brokers said it was not entirely fair to compare the townhouse to a traditional office building; “They’re different animals,” one broker said.
Another broker, who asked to remain anonymous, called the asking price “outlandish,” saying: “It would be a miracle if [Del Nunzio] got 50 percent of the asking price.”
Others said they believe the building’s widely reported size — 16,676 square feet — is exaggerated, and that the building is actually smaller than that.
Asked if he thought the listing price was realistic, however, Eastern Consolidated’s David Schechtman said that “in 2012 and hopefully in 2013, wealth from all over the world, and especially from Europe, is fleeing to New York City. When a broad enough net is cast, it’s incredible the users who surface.”
He added that Del Nunzio shouldn’t be underestimated.
“I know enough about New York City real estate to never bet against this broker,” he said.
Highest total purchase price for a Manhattan co-op
At 828 Fifth Avenue — the former James Berwind Mansion, which went co-op in the 1980s —a three-unit combination is on the market for a total of $72 million.
If the eight-bedroom, 15,000-square-foot spread sells for that price, it would be the highest price ever paid for a single co-op residence in Manhattan. As noted above, that record is currently held by the $52.5 million sale of Ross’s Park Avenue apartment.
The units once belonged to the late builder Howard Ronson, who attempted to buy the whole Georgian mansion before he died in 2007, but was thwarted by other owners in the building. Ronson’s estate now owns 72 percent of the building, including the full second, third, fourth and sixth floors, plus half of the first floor. The estate also owns the English basement and the roof terrace, according to the listing.
Listing brokers Alexa Lambert of Stribling & Associates and Sharon Baum of the Corcoran Group did not respond to requests for comment.
Kathy Braddock of Rutenberg Realty said she would not be surprised if the listing sold for its full asking price.
“If you want to have a European lifestyle and feel like you’re living in Paris in New York, [then you’ll buy it,]” she said. “You’re talking about a stratosphere of buyer who, if they really want something, it doesn’t matter what it costs. If you’ve got a billion dollars, what is $72 million?”
Highest total purchase price for a residential Manhattan townhouse
It’s been on the market for roughly a year and a half, but if the Woolworth Mansion on the Upper East Side sells for its full $90 million asking price, it would shatter the record for the priciest residential townhouse sale in New York City history. The 19,950-square-foot mansion, at 4 East 80th Street, is listed by Del Nunzio.
The record is currently held by the Harkness Mansion on East 75th Street, which sold for $53 million in 2006, also with Del Nunzio.
The 25-foot-wide Woolworth townhouse, which was originally commissioned by discount store mogul Frank Woolworth, is owned by the estate of fitness guru Lucille Roberts, who died in 2003. But unlike the Harkness Mansion, which sold just a month after being listed, the Woolworth house has lingered on the market since 2011, leading some to suggest it may be overpriced.
Del Nunzio said she doesn’t think the price is overly ambitious, especially in light of recent deals at buildings like 15 Central Park West. The Sandy Weill apartment, for example, sold for $13,048 per square foot, she noted.
“The math makes sense,” she said. “If a condominium of 10,000 square feet can sell for over $13,000 per square foot … a townhouse of 20,000 square feet can sell for $5,000 a foot.”
The property’s renovation — which took place gradually over the last decade — also helps justify its asking price, Del Nunzio said. She noted that most high-end townhouses hit the market unrenovated, in which case buyers are “two or three years from moving in.”
Del Nunzio’s track record suggests that she knows what she’s talking about.
Still, it’s hard to tell if the price tag is achievable, brokers said.
“It’s clearly not an everyday property,” Braddock said. “It’s not like valuing a three-bedroom apartment, where you can look at other units in the building and draw some logical conclusion. Is there a comp for this property? Not really.”
Highest total purchase price for a Hamptons home
Robert Hurst, a retired Goldman Sachs executive, put his Sagaponack home on the market in June for $65 million with the Corcoran Group’s Debbie Loeffler and Julie Briggs.
If it sells for its full asking price, it would be the priciest-ever home sale on Long Island’s East End. The current record was set in 2008, with the $60 million sale of an oceanfront Southampton estate. (It would not come close to breaking the record for undeveloped land, which was set in 2007 by billionaire investment guru Rob Baron, who paid $103 million for a 40-acre waterfront plot in East Hampton.)
Hurst’s 11,000-square-foot house sits on an unusually large estate — 33 acres — and is surrounded by 19 additional acres of reserve property that can never be developed, said Ernest Cervi, an executive managing director in Corcoran’s Bridgehampton office. Buyers may be willing to pay more for the assurance that no one can ever build beside them, he said.
“It’s a 33-acre parcel in Sagaponack with 1,475 feet of waterfront,” he added. “It’s unlikely that anything else like this would come on the market again, because it doesn’t exist.”
However, industry sources are not convinced that the parcel can top $60 million.
“New price records or ceilings are set in great markets,” said Judi Desiderio, CEO of the East End brokerage Town & Country Real Estate. “In good markets, people feel flush and are willing to be a trendsetter. This is not that kind of market.”
However, she continued, “I think they priced it to the uniqueness of the property. If someone falls in love with it — who knows?”
Another source with knowledge of the Hamptons market said a buyer would likely pay no more than $40 million for the property.
“This could be another Ed Gordon property,” the source said, referencing the 60-acre Montauk estate of the late Edward S. Gordon, founder of the eponymous commercial brokerage. That property is now asking $68 million after hitting the market in 2003 for $75 million. If it sold for its current asking price, it could also set the record price paid for a Hamptons home, but sources said a deal at that price is unlikely, given that it’s lingered on the market for so long.
Highest rent for a Manhattan retail space
Vornado Realty Trust is quietly shopping around a prime ground-floor retail space at 640 Fifth Avenue asking upwards of $3,500 per square foot in annual rent, TRD learned last month. If the 10,000-square-foot space — currently occupied by the clothing retailer H&M — fetches that amount, it would set a new record for retail rent in Manhattan.
A recent report released by the Real Estate Board of New York noted that $3,000 per foot was the highest asking rent on record for Fifth Avenue. M.A.C Cosmetics, which signed a lease for 1,400 square feet at Vornado’s 691 Fifth Avenue in February, reportedly paid roughly that.
H&M’s lease at the 640 Fifth space, which is on the ground floor of a larger 36,000-square-foot space, expires at the end of 2014. It’s not yet clear if H&M will seek to remain at the site, but the clothing store recently signed an even larger lease for 57,000 square feet in a nearby location at Fifth Avenue and 48th Street, perhaps indicating that it will not be seeking to renew its lease with Vornado.
While Vornado did not respond to a request for comment, CEO Michael Fascitelli said in an earnings call last month: “In the next couple of years, one of our best leases of Fifth Avenue expires. Re-leasing there could produce an annual increase in rent of more than $20 million.”
Elliman retail broker Faith Hope Consolo, who is not affiliated with the property, said the space could in fact achieve $3,500 per foot in rent.
“There is no more famous or heavily trafficked street in the world than Fifth Avenue,” Consolo noted. “Although people will think it’s a hefty rent, there is always an international or national retailer that wants to make a statement. It’s not about profit. It’s about position in the marketplace.”
Real Capital Analytics managing director Dan Fasulo agreed.
“A lot of folks are convinced that the format [of retail] is going to look a lot different in the future,” he said. “Instead of just expanding by adding more and more locations, retailers are going to have fewer physical locations, but be willing to pay more and more for the best locations. It’s almost a showroom. You come in and look at everything, and then go online to buy.”
Highest total purchase price for a New Jersey office property
A 450-acre New Jersey office complex, comprised of 13 buildings and owned by Bank of America, is poised to break state records after hitting the market in May with commercial brokerage Cushman & Wakefield.
The campus, in Mercer County’s Hopewell Township, totals 1.7 million square feet and is expected to sell for around $400 million. That’s almost $23 million more than the state’s current record for an office property sale, which was set by the $377.5 million sale of Newport Tower, a single building on the Hudson River in Jersey City in October 2011. Cushman & Wakefield declined to comment on the listing, which does not have an official asking price, though it was reportedly valued at $386 million in 2009. BofA took ownership of the office complex in 2008 when it acquired Merrill Lynch. Merrill had previously constructed it to house 6,500 employees.
A spokesperson for Bank of America said the bank is “looking for a sale and a full-site leaseback at this point.”
John Boyd, Jr., a principal at the Princeton-based Boyd Company, a consultancy firm serving corporate clients, said he could see a Fortune 500 company paying close to $400 million for the complex.
“Mercer County is the kind of market right now that’s increasingly attractive for major head-office relocations because cost structures in central Jersey are lower,” said Boyd. “The northern New Jersey office market has rebounded quite strongly, and there are some opportunities to attract industry from Manhattan.”
Timothy King, managing partner at CPEX Real Estate Services, said $400 million, or around $235 a square foot, is “not a wacky number” for the property.
“If you won the lottery and went to Home Depot and bought your own bricks,” he said, “you probably could not replace those buildings for a price less than $235 a square foot.”
New York MagazineSeptember 02, 2012
Yard area: 1,233 sq. ft.
Address: 114 W. 13th St.
This 1848 house has plenty of fine old details but has been modernized from top to bottom. Off the kitchen, French doors open up to a bluestone backyard lined by planters that lead, via a staircase, to a terrace on the parlor floor. The property was on the market last year and fetched three offers, but (owing to a persuasive tenant) was pulled till now.
Price: $11.995 million
Agent: Vickey Barron, CORE NYC