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Wallabout Refloats Next to the Navy Yard

The Wall Street JournalMarch 29, 2013
It is a small irony that life looks sweet these days on Washington Avenue in the Wallabout
neighborhood.

Anchored by the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the block once produced the most chocolate in America after Hershey Co. The last candy factory, the maker of Tootsie Rolls, closed in 1967. That, coupled with the 1966 decommissioning of the Navy yard, caused Wallabout to slip into a slow decline.

Now, the erstwhile neighborhood is finding its sweet spot once again, bolstered by industry in the reactivated Navy yard, a thriving incubator of some 300 businesses including Steiner Studios, and Navy Green, a 2.34-acre mixed-used complex with affordable housing on the site of the former Navy brig. The recent $26.25 million contract to purchase a warehouse at 29 Ryerson St., possibly as the site of a 200-room hotel, brings an additional sheen to the gritty neighborhood.

"We've now come full circle," said Richard Perris, district manager of Community Board 2, which serves Wallabout. The name derives from the original Dutch, "Waal-bogt," meaning bend in the harbor.

Despite the new attention to the neighborhood, Mr. Perris noted local initiatives have helped preserve Wallabout's industrial heritage and stave off a "potential beachhead of gentrification."

Last August, for example, the National Register of Historic Places listed an area between Grand and Clinton avenues as an industrial historic district—a relatively rare designation—including some 40 manufacturing buildings such as those for the Rockwood Chocolate and Mergenthaler Linotype companies.

While large endeavors such as these put the neighborhood on the map, it is the smaller activities, especially along Washington Avenue, that prove "if you build it they will come."

Where the former J.J.'s Navy Yard Cocktail Lounge, a local legend since 1907, once offered cheap drinks and lap dances on the corner of Flushing and Washington avenues, Brooklyn Roasting Co. soon will be serving fair-trade coffee.

"The location was unbelievable, the space was fantastic and we took a look into the future," said Michael Pollack, one of the cafe owners. "It was close to the Navy Yard, which is continuing to grow, develop and change."

Mehrdad Shariati, who bought the building to be used by Brooklyn Roasting in 2010 and lives in an apartment above, plans to bring a florist and kitchen-design store in the adjacent retail space. And he's looking for another property to buy.

"Our thinking is that it will change; I'm sure in 10 years it will be a high-class area," Mr. Shariati said.

He joins other businesses such as Fresh Fanatic, a 3,500-square-foot organic grocer, and the Body by Brooklyn day spa that regard Wallabout as an area emerging, yet connected to established neighborhoods such as Fort Greene and Clinton Hill.

Two buildings on Washington Avenue are in the process of loft conversions, each including street-level retail. At No. 66, two lofts are for sale above a 3,600-square-foot retail space that is now in contract to a South American coffee purveyor and importer.

Next door at No. 64, the space formerly occupied by Presents gallery will soon be a wine shop, and the building's owner, who has now moved to Bedford Stuyvesant, plans to convert and rent the five apartments above.

"The wine store approached me and I couldn't say no—it's economics," said George Spencer, the former gallerist who owns the building. "There's a squeeze between Williamsburg and Dumbo and we're getting it now."

Across the street at No. 73, a four-story building with unconverted apartments is for sale with the owner asking $2.2 million. It was previously listed for $1.5 million.

And it isn't just the loft buildings that are selling. Historic 19th-century wood frame houses, the backbone of Wallabout's working-class housing stock, are getting scooped up. Doug Bowen, executive vice president at CORE, who has lived in the neighborhood for 14 years, estimated 18 townhouses changed hands in Wallabout last year.

"Myrtle Avenue has become such a desirable and friendly commercial corridor, the housing stock on either side has really risen and come onto the map," Mr. Bowen said, noting that townhouses in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill can sell for as much as $3 million.

"In Wallabout you're not seeing those prices, but you're seeing people attracted to that housing because of its access to services," he said.
Wallabout may be having its "it" moment, but Michael Blaise Backer, executive director of the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership, believes the neighborhood will evolve from its core fabric.

"We've hesitated doing anything too flashy or speculative or some kind of branding campaign, for fear that things would evolve unnaturally," he said.

A version of this article appeared March 29, 2013, on page A20 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Wallabout Refloats Next to the Navy Yard.

Brooklyn Navy Yard Redevelopment Sparks Off Wallabout About-turn

The Real DealMarch 29, 2013
Invigorated by the redevelopment at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Wallabout neighborhood on Washington Avenue is experiencing a commercial renaissance, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Once known as the second-largest producer of chocolate in the neighborhood (after Hershey Co.), Wallabout slipped into decline following the decommissioning of the Navy yard in 1966 and the subsequent closing of the area’s last candy factory a year later. But the new Navy yard development – which will act as an incubator to 300 businesses as well as provide affordable housing– is set to transform the neighborhood. Recent deals such as the $26.25 million contract to purchase a warehouse at 29 Ryerson Street – with tentative plans to develop a 200-room hotel possibly as the site of a 200-room hotel, further accelerate the transformation.

“We’ve now come full circle,” Richard Perris, district manager of Community Board 2, told the Journal.

New stores such as 3,500-square-foot organic grocery Fresh Fanatic and the Body by Brooklyn day spa, are sprouting up in the area, which is close to the more established residential enclaves of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill.

Indeed, Doug Bowen, executive vice president at CORE and a longtime Wallabout resident, told the Journal that roughly 18 townhouses in the area changed hands last year.

“Myrtle Avenue has become such a desirable and friendly commercial corridor, the housing stock on either side has really risen and come onto the map,” Bowen said, adding that townhouses in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill can sell for as much as $3 million.

“In Wallabout you’re not seeing those prices, but you’re seeing people attracted to that housing because of its access to services,” he said.

Perris stressed that despite the flurry of projects, preservationists were ensuring that the industrial heritage of the area would be maintained. Last summer, the National Register of Historic Places listed an area between Grand and Clinton avenues as an industrial historic district, a relatively rare designation that would protect 40 buildings including the Rockwood Chocolate and Mergenthaler Linotype companies. [WSJ]

http://online.wsj.com/public/page/new-york- realestate.html?mod=WSJ_topnav_na_newyork

– Hiten Samtani

‘Modern’ Living

New York PostMarch 28, 2013
Sofia Vergara has been house hunting for her own “modern family” in New York. One place the sexy television star checked out was a “loft-like” penthouse duplex at 301 E. 52nd St. The five-bedroom, three-bathroom co-op was asking $4.495 million but is now in contract with another buyer. It comes with a 1,400-square-foot set-back terrace. Along with 10-foot ceilings and 50 feet of custom solarium windows, there’s a sunken living room with a woodburning fireplace. The listing broker, CORE’s Jeffrey Smith, declined to comment.

Hot and Historic in Tribeca: 93 Worth is Over 70 Percent Sold

Buzz Buzz HomeMarch 22, 2013
Tribeca condo conversion 93 Worth is over 70 percent sold, developer Izaki Group Investments USA and CORE announced today.

The 18-story, 92-unit building, located between Broadway and Church Street, has studios and one- to four-bedroom residences. ODA Architecture handled the transformation of the 1924 textile factory. Pricing on available units ranges from $715,000 for a 475-square-foot studio to $4.6 million for a 2,251-square-foot penthouse.

The apartments feature 7-foot windows, solid wood doors, open kitchens, high ceilings, 7-inch-wide white oak floors and the building’s original exposed steel columns.

“Today’s buying culture resembles, if not surpasses, the so-called peak of the condo boom of 2006 and 2007,” Doron Zwickel, the Director of Sales at 93 Worth, said in a statement. “Attesting to this fact are the 12 price amendments we have filed since the project’s opening.”

Amenities include a 24/7 concierge, common rooftop with panoramic city views, open lounge with pergola and kitchen station, gym, playroom, bicycle storage, private storage for purchase and a dog-washing station. Check these gorgeous shots from the official site.

Worth it! Innovative App Lures Buyers to Tribeca Luxury Condo

New York Daily NewsMarch 22, 2013
Real Estate marketing team CORE plays off neighborhood’s filmmaking history to sell units at 93 Worth.

Movies are the rage in Tribeca. CORE, a top marketing group with a focus on new development, executed one of the most innovative marketing plans in real estate history at 93 Worth, a 91-unit condominium in Tribeca.

Playing off Tribeca’s creativity and filmmaking history, the marketing and sales group used an iPod and iPhone application to lure customers to a luxury building off Broadway on the edge of the neighborhood.

“Real estate is about innovation,” said Shawn Osher, CEO of the CORE. “We wanted to do something paperless and creative. We thought this neighborhood and market required something different. We made a film. Several films actually. Each one played up to the building’s exceptional quality and the neighborhood’s history of creativity.”

It worked.

When you face the iPhone or iPod on a photograph, it plays one of several films. One is about history, another is on architecture, and another on the area’s qualities. There are firefighters, restaurants, streetscapes and interviews with the developer, the architect, and the sales and marketing team.

“I loved it,” said buyer Mick Carillo. “I want to be paperless. I can just show this to my friends and say, ‘I bought here.’ It’s eco-friendly, and it appeals to tech-savvy people like myself. I cant wait to move in.”

Closings will start next year. Already the building is 70% sold, with apartments staring at $900,000 for one-bedrooms and $2.2 million for two-bedrooms. Units are large with ash-oak floors and light blue backsplashes in the kitchens. Bronze accents are everywhere.

“Buyers like the location, but they really purchase for the finishes,” said agent Doron Zwickel, a CORE broker. “We were showing 30 per day when we started.”

A marquee outside the sales office relates to the film motif. 93 Worth is attracting young families and singles. Couples like the light and large windows.

“This is the right marketing for the right time,” said Osher. “This is what we do: Build smart projects for smart people. The app was the perfect marketing collateral for this neighborhood at this time.”

Go to 93worth.com for more.

CORE Uses Cinema-centric App to Generate Sales at Tribeca’s 93 Worth

The Real DealMarch 22, 2013
When it comes to marketing high-end New York City real estate it helps to be creative. But when the property is in a neighborhood with a creative history, brokers have to up their game. And that’s exactly what CORE has done with its marketing campaign for 93 Worth, a 91-unit condominium in Tribeca, the New York Daily News reported.

In an homage to Tribeca’s film history, the brokerage is using an iPhone app that plays one of several films when it faces a a photograph of the building. The films cover subjects ranging from film history to architecture to the virtues of living in the neighborhood. The films include firefighters, restaurants, streetscapes and interviews with the developer, the architect, and the sales and marketing team.

“Real estate is about innovation,” Shaun Osher, CEO of the CORE, told the Daily News. “We wanted to do something paperless and creative. We thought this neighborhood and market required something different. We made a film. Several films actually. Each one played up to the building’s exceptional quality and the neighborhood’s history of creativity.”

The app attracted buyers to the building, pushing sales up to 70 percent. Closings will begin next year and pricing starts at $900,000 for a one-bedrooms and $2.2 million for two-bedrooms.

What $5,100/Month Can Rent You Around New York City

CurbedMarch 22, 2013
Welcome back to “Curbed Comparisons”, a column that explores what one can rent for a set dollar amount in various New York City neighborhoods. Is one man's studio another man's townhouse? Let's find out! Today's price: $5,100/month.

Living Large: 39 Fifth Avenue

CBSMarch 19, 2013
Emily Beare and Tony Sargent take CBS’ Emily Smith on a tour of their $5.4 million listing at 39 Fifth Avenue.

Lady Gaga Looks For Manhattan Apartment

Showbiz SpyMarch 16, 2013
WHEELCHAIR-bound Lady GaGa is on the hunt for a new Manhattan apartment.

The singer — who’s recovering from hip surgery — recently looked at a $5.95 million penthouse at The Link, at 310 W. 52nd St.

HGTV’s Selling New York stars Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon have the listing.

GaGa has also viewed a pad at the Midtown enclave The Park Imperial, where residents have included Sean “Diddy” Combs and Deepak Chopra, according to New York Post gossip column Page Six.

Is This Penthouse Fit For Mother Monster?

Celebuzz!March 16, 2013
Lady Gaga is reportedly eyeing a $5.95M duplex penthouse apartment in Manhattan.

Lady Gaga may be wheelchair-bound these days, but the temporary sideline hasn’t stopped the recovering superstar from house hunting.

Page Six is reporting that Mother Monster recently stopped by a Manhattan penthouse currently on the market for $5.95 million.

The duplex apartment, located in New York’s Clinton neighborhood (aka. Hell’s Kitchen), includes three bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, a fireplace, terrace and more than 2,000 square feet. Mickey Conlon, one of the agents attached to the listing, offered no comment when Celebuzz reached out on Friday.

The penthouse is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows and, according to the listing on CORE, “bird’s-eye views” of Central Park and Times Square.

Earlier this week, Gaga, 26, was spotted greeting fans in the Big Apple in her custom-made 24K gold wheelchair.

“I miss you guys so much. I just wanted to come out and say hi,” the “Born This Way” singer told her fans in a moment caught on video.
Gaga is currently recovering from hip surgery. Back in February, the singer was forced to cancel the remainder of her world tour after battling chronic pain from a show injury.

What do you think of Gaga’s possible new Manhattan digs? Check out the gallery, then share your review of the penthouse below.

Wheelchair-bound Gaga Still Looking

New York PostMarch 15, 2013
Even from the confines of her 24-karat-gold-plated wheelchair, Lady Gaga is hunting for a new Manhattan apartment. We’re told the superstar, who’s recovering from hip surgery, recently looked at a $5.95 million penthouse at The Link, at 310 W. 52nd St. HGTV’s “Selling New York” stars Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon have the listing. Gaga has also viewed a pad at the Midtown enclave The Park Imperial, where residents have included Sean “Diddy” Combs and Deepak Chopra.

Gaga in Hell(‘s Kitchen)?

CurbedMarch 15, 2013
Even as she's wheelchair-bound, recovering from hip surgery, Lady Gaga is on the
hunt for a new pad. The Post reports that she is eying the penthouse at The Link in Hell's Kitchen, listed by the star brokers from HGTV's "Selling New York." She's apparently also toured an apartment at a celeb favorite, the Park Imperial, which is just a tad south of Central Park and Columbus Circle. She's clearly not jumping on the Brooklyn bandwagon just yet.

Lady Gaga Moving Into This Luxury NYC Condo?

Faded Youth BlogMarch 15, 2013
Lady GaGa is looking for a new apartment in New York.

The Born this Way singer is currently recovering from an operation to repair a labral tear on her right hip last month but has been keeping herself busy by looking for a home in the Manhattan area.

According to the New York Post, Gaga went to view this $5.95 million penthouse at The Link on 52nd Street and has also had a look at a pad at The Park Imperial building which boasts panoramic views of Central Park classed as some of the best in Manhattan. HGTV’s Selling New York stars Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon have the listing.

Residents at The Park Imperial have included rapper P. Diddy and Deepak Chopra – the alternative medicine guru who was a long-time friend of Michael Jackson.

The 26-year-old pop superstar is a proud New Yorker and has stated many times that she doesn’t want to ever leave her hometown.

What $3,900/Month Can Rent You Around New York City

CurbedMarch 15, 2013
Welcome back to Curbed Comparisons, a column that explores what one can rent for a set dollar amount in various New York City neighborhoods. Is one man's studio another man's townhouse? Let's find out! Today's price: $3,900/month.

A 988-square-foot 2BR/1BA with 12-foot ceilings in Gold Street Lofts in Dumbo rents for $4,000/month with no fee. The apartment includes an enormous private terrace and the building offers all kinds of amenities such as a fitness center, indoor basketball court and roofdeck with furniture.

What $3,900/Month Can Rent You Around New York City

CurbedMarch 15, 2013
In Carroll Gardens, a 1,500-square-foot 2BR/1BA in a brownstone building features a decorative mantle, inlayed floors, built in mirrors, and windowed, renovated kitchen. The bathroom has a claw tub, if you happen to like claw tubs. It's going for $3,800/month.

57th Street’s Game of Follow the Leader: Hot Sales at Swanky Skyscraper Embolding Other Developers to Jump Into Action

Luxury Listings NYCMarch 13, 2013

Bunheads star sells Midtown apartment

The Real DealMarch 13, 2013
Tony Award winning actress Sutton Foster, the star of new ABC show “Bunheads,” has sold the Midtown apartment she once shared with ex-husband and “Smash” actor Christian Borle, public records show.

Foster, whose drama series was recently renewed for a second season, inked a deal to sell the apartment at 345 West 55th Street last month for $770,000, according to records filed with the city. She and Borle, both of whom have acted on Broadway as well as on television, bought the apartment for $749,000 in 2006, records show. The property was transferred into Foster’s name in 2009 following the couple’s separation.

The buyer of the property is listed as Antonio Freitas.

The two-bedroom home, between Eighth and Ninth avenues, was first listed for sale by the actress in November, according to Streeteasy.com, and went into contract just one month later. It was listed by Vickey Barron of Core. The broker was not immediately available for comment.

The third-floor, pre-war co-op unit features a large master bedroom, a granite breakfast bar and south-facing windows, according to the listing.

While it was not immediately clear why Foster sold the apartment, it has been reported that “Bunheads” is predominantly filmed in Southern California.

Condo Project Makes Splash After 25 Years

The Wall Street JournalMarch 12, 2013
Printing House at 421 Hudson St. is getting new life 25 years after the condo conversion stalled.

It seemed like a good idea back in what turned out to be the waning days of the condominium craze of the 1980s: Turn a massive 10-story former printing building on Hudson Street with Italian Renaissance details and 15-foot ceilings into 184 duplex loft condominiums with a large health club and a pool.

But the dream faded at Printing House—along with dozens of other 1980s condominiums in New York—as the real-estate market entered a long slump. Much of the building, already a rental, has been rented out since.

Many condo projects stalled during the latest real-estate crash are being resuscitated and put back up for sale in the past year or so. Now, Printing House, a West Village condo conversion first launched more than a quarter of century ago, is also getting a new life—and a new look.

The remaining 104 sponsor apartments are being gutted, combined and put back on the market as 60 larger apartments—with 21st-century prices and designs.

Dark one-bedroom lofts have been reconfigured with glass walls, thin metal railings and open stairs to bring in more light to the upper level.

In the printing era, windows were partitioning by thick horizontal metal bands. Now these have been combined into 9-foot-high, mullioned windows, many with views across Hudson Street to a city playground. A row of townhouses is planned on a landscaped mews in the back.

Since the 1980s, there has been a flourishing market among investors in blocks of unsold condo units from that era, but only few have had large scale rebirths.

At Morgan Court, a 32-story sliver tower on Madison Avenue built in 1985, sales stalled to the point that the developer allowed it to be used as the backdrop for a dark 1993 thriller movie, "Sliver" starring Sharon Stone, in which a body flies off a balcony.

Sales were relaunched in the 40-unit Morgan Court building in 2007 after renovations. Reba Miller, a broker at CORE who represents the Morgan Court developer, said that nine of 22 sponsor-owned condos have been sold since. Other apartments are being put on the market as they become vacant, she said.

At Printing House, the lobby was redesigned to evoke the building's past in the printing industry. The original 1911 vaulted tile ceiling is intact but there is now a doorman's desk with a large steel panel on which the Gettysburg Address has been laser-cut in an abstract font, evoking the age of metal type. Steel panels attached to the mailboxes have the Declaration of Independence, according to the architect, Andrew Kotchen of workshop/apd.

He called the redesign "rustic modernism."

How far the building has come can be seen in changing prices. Back in 1975, the original sponsors, Barnet Liberman and Winthrop Chamberlin, paid $476,000 for the entire building, at a time it was a half vacant printing building, Mr. Liberman said.

In 1988, the sponsors sold two 785-square-foot, one-bedroom apartments, that together cost close to the price of the building. Now prices on renovated apartments will range between $1.5 million for one-bedrooms and more than $7 million for larger condos, according to Tricia Cole, managing director of Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group.

Mr. Liberman said that he and his partner sold off apartments from time to time over the years, but decided to put the rest of the building on the market a few years ago, at a time when he was nearing retirement age and needed to raise capital some of his other investments, in Florida, Texas and Las Vegas, that did not do as well as Printing House.

They sold most of their interest in the unsold apartments last year for $67.6 million to a group of investors—Myles Horn, Angelo, Gordon & Co. and Belvedere Capital Real Estate Partners. They still retained an ownership share as well.

The closing was delayed for many months because of a lawsuit from a losing bidder in the deal. Now it is coming on the market at a time when there is very little inventory, and the market is stronger than it was a year ago, Mr. Horn said.

Mr. Kotchen redesigned the hallways, ripping out low ceilings, and replacing them with multilevel spaces soaring to more than 15-feet high in places. Still sales in the buildings have a few challenges: On some floors, head clearance is only about 61⁄2 feet from the floor of the loft space to the concrete beams above.

The building also has a few unusual features. It has large solar-heating panels on the roof installed decades ago, before the current wave of green building, but the system is no longer in service.

It also has a large gym on the ground floor that was once a popular center for squash in Manhattan, and a rooftop pool workout space. A few years ago Equinox took over the space, renovated it and replaced the squash courts with exercise equipment. A one-year membership is included with purchase.

Mr. Liberman and Mr. Chamberlin both live in Printing House in apartments that they have long owned. In 1986, they turned them into penthouses, by expanding into the roof and adding a level.

Featured Listing: 166 Perry Street

Luxury Listings NYCMarch 12, 2013
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