Billionaire Soros’ Daughter Sells W. Village Townhouse for $20M

Real Estate WeeklyOctober 29, 2015

The daughter of billionaire business magnate George Soros just sold her West Village townhouse for $20 million, after listing it for $23.95 million, according to city records filed today.


The five-story, 21-room home, at 10 W. 10th Street, was first purchased by Anna Soros Colombel in 2006 for $11.5 million. The home was renovated by Colombel and her husband, and has 7 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms, and a total of 8,472 s/f. The couple previously had put the home on the market in 2012 and 2013.


Built in 1844, the 26-foot wide Federal Townhouse includes an elevator, and “soaring ceilings and grand scale rooms with multiple outdoor spaces and several dining areas,” according to the listing.


Shaun Osher and Emily Beare of CORE had the listing.


The buyer is listed as 10 West 10th Street Associates LLC and 10 Greenwich Village Associates LLC.

George Soros’ Daughter Sells Greenwich Village Townhouse for $20M

New York ObserverOctober 29, 2015

It looks like the entire extended Soros family is ditching the townhouse life.


When you’re the daughter of billionaire George Soros, it’s difficult to imagine needing to augment your inheritance in any way. But philanthropist Andrea Soros Colombel has done just that, selling her 8,500-square-foot Greenwich Village townhouse for exactly $20 million, nearly doubling her money.


The billionaire investor’s daughter and her husband, Eric Colombel, purchased the townhouse at 10 West 10th Street in 2006, paying a then-record $11.5 million. The 26-foot-wide home has since undergone a quite beautifully executed renovation; CORE’s Shaun Osher previously told the Times that the couple redid the garden-level kitchen and an “opulent paneled library/den.”


The new owners of the 21-room Greek Revival townhouse are 10 West 10th Street Associates, LLC and 10 Greenwich Village Associates, LLC, per public record. Not giving us too much to work with here—a Kristen Koenigsbauer of Pennsylvania signed the paperwork.


Other highlights of the seven-bedroom, eight-bath abode include at least two terraces, three wood-burning fireplaces, an elevator, and a full fitness center with a ballet barre, as well as a sauna and steam shower.


In 2014, when it asking $24.75 million, Mr. Osher, who shared the listing with Emily Beare, said that “it’s back on the market, but it’s not like they have to sell it…I priced this to sell, but not to give it away.”


Well, it wasn’t exactly given away, but from the original price tag attached in 2012 of nearly $30 million, the asking price did get quite a haircut. And at least the Soros-Colombels don’t need the extra $10 million to make ends meet.

A $20M Horse Farm and 10 Other Luxurious Properties On The Market Now

New York PostOctober 28, 2015



The Italians and Brits haven’t always gotten along so great (see: Henry VIII, World War II, World Cup 2014, et al.). But the two nations put all that ugliness behind them to meld together and stylize this 28-foot-wide Anglo-Italianate townhouse at Stuyvesant Square Park.


SPECS AND THE CITY: 6,494 square feet, five bedrooms, six bathrooms, Gramercy


PERKS: A three-bay facade, five stories, 16-foot ceilings on the parlor floor, a “grand winding” staircase, five fireplaces, arched doorways, skylights and original moldings, Clive Christian eat-in kitchen with limestone countertops, “high-end” appliances, a separate office, direct access to the “charming” garden, and a master bedroom with private terrace.


WHAT’S THE CATCH? The music room could encourage you or yours to get the old band back together.


THE X-FACTOR: A cast-iron balcony running “the width of the edifice” will tempt you to pretend like you’re the pope addressing Saint Peter’s Square.


CONTACT: Emily Beare and Patrick V. Lilly, Core, 212-726-0786 and 212-612-9681




It’s not often one can claim to live on a street named for a beloved “Melrose Place” character, but this move-in-ready townhouse lets you do just that. OK, that’s a lie, but it’s still fun to claim.


SPECS AND THE CITY: 3,500 square feet, three bedrooms, 2½ bathrooms, West Village


PERKS: Garden level features an open kitchen and floor-to-ceiling windows, while the first level is a “gracious” parlor floor with a formal living room, the second floor has a “well-sized” master bedroom suite, the third floor has an office and private fitness room, and atop the house sits a “captivating” planted rooftop terrace.


WHAT’S THE CATCH? You have a “½” in your address — God only knows who’ll get the other half of your mail.


THE X-FACTOR: This historic home combines “the charm and character found in an 1800s” home, without the cholera!


CONTACT: Jim St. Andre, Core, 212-612-9602

New Yorkers Have Real Estate Superstitions? You Bet!

StreetEasy BlogOctober 28, 2015

As if it’s not tough enough to find the right property in New York City, given the absurdly fractional vacancy rates, lack of inventory, skyrocketing valuations and “American Ninja”-type competition among stark-raving buyers. For some home hunters, however, there’s an additional consideration that must be taken into the already-difficult equation: Superstition.


“It’s all about the culture, right? There are things you know and things you don’t know,’’  said Douglas Elliman broker Jacky Teplitzky, who has seen all kinds of superstitious buyers and sellers.


“For example, there were buyers from Latin America (Brazil) who are very sophisticated and very rich. They are looking at (my client’s) apartment that they love on the Upper East Side. The wife says, ‘there’s a problem.’ The way the master bed is positioned, your feet are facing the window. That is bad luck if your feet face the window. So we wonder, ‘Is there another way to position the bed in the room?’ No – it’s not feasible. So we bring in an interior designer to create a built-in unit so the bed would be floating and it was designed so the feet would not face the window,’’ Teplitzky said.


Teplitzky spent a lot of time and effort to make it work, but this example is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to buyer and seller superstitions in NYC real estate.


Feng Shui Experts


For example, some buyers are so adamant about the way rooms or apartments face, or the way doors or windows are positioned, that they sometimes refuse to buy property that they otherwise love.


“I had a buyer just this week who brought in her Feng Shui consultant and the bed was on the same wall as the door. The consultant looked in and said, ‘No, no no!’ and there goes the deal. It’s a very real thing,’’ said Frances Katzen of Douglas Elliman.


Deanna Kory of The Corcoran Group said sometimes sellers get impatient if their home is not selling as quickly as they would like and will resort to a practice called “smudging,” which involves bringing in a Feng Shui expert.


“They will do things to the apartment to enhance the energy flow. Perhaps it is burning sage, but it could also be a ‘salt water cure,’’ Kory said, adding: “I have seen new homeowners do an energy cleansing to erase the energy of the previous owner, too. These are ‘New Agey’ things, but they do happen,’’ she said.



A large part of the superstition game in real estate centers around numbers. For instance, in Chinese culture, the number 8 is considered lucky. It’s not only because the “8” is seen as the symbol for infinity, but because the word “eight” is associated with wealth, prosperity and power.


That means some buyers are especially eager to have an address with the No. 8 in it, or are compelled to write purchase offers that include the No. 8, just as some superstitious sellers will list a property with the “8” in the price. Conversely, the number 4 is considered unlucky in Chinese culture because it sounds like the Chinese word for death.


“People will offer a certain number (for a listing) because they feel it will bring them good luck. Or the final sold number. They are ridiculous numbers that don’t make sense,” said Katzen.


CORE’s Patrick Lilly of the Patrick Lilly Team said his Chinese buyers will not look at 4E, 444 East or anything with a 4. “But, on the other hand, 8’s are a favorite,’’ Lilly said.


Karin Dauch of Core NYC agreed. One of her buyers wanted to avoid the 4th floor or a street number or building number where “four” is prominent.


Same thing with the No. 13 and the No. 7. Plenty of buildings in New York skip over the 13th floor entirely to eliminate the possibility that anyone would get spooked by seeing the number in the building, let alone have to consider living on that floor, or unit. This is in spite of the fact that research has shown that most people don’t really believe the No. 13 is unlucky. Still, only about 5 percent of NYC condos have a 13th floor.


As for how far some buyers will go? Deanna Kory was all ready to close on a property when her buyer made a big request: Secure a phone number with some very specific combinations.


“The buyer was about to close and lived out of town. The number had to have some combination of the numbers 6,8,1,3 and 2. And this client said having the number 1 ‘enhances’ the number behind it. Like, ‘18.’ She said she wanted an ‘auspicious’ phone number,’’ Kory said, adding that she worked directly with the phone company and got three phone numbers for her client to consider.


“She chose one that was an ‘omen for living,'" Kory said.




For sellers of more suburban properties, there’s a tradition of burying a statue of St. Joseph in the yard. As the patron saint of real estate, St. Joe has been called upon many times to help prime buyers into bringing in offers.

There are other kinds of factors that keep people from being able to buy into a certain place. This is what’s called stigmatized properties, and that can certainly include residences where a person has died. It is an unpleasant truth about real estate, since properties did belong to previous owners or residents. Whether someone died or committed suicide in a place is something that some buyers will, indeed, ask about.


Teplitzky said that in one transaction, a buyer became very nervous about closing on a property because they were under the impression that the previous owner had passed away there. It took a lot of research, documentation and reassurance to show the buyer that the previous owner had died in the hospital, not at home.


But there are other more personal predilections that real estate agents must contend with. Natalie Rakowski of Core NYC had a very unique experience with a stigmatized property. A client wouldn’t buy a certain building because it had once been a police station.


Looks like it’s not just numbers, ghosts or cultural influences that feed into real estate superstitions.

How Much For a Quirky Hell's Kitchen 1BR With a Sleeping Loft?

CurbedOctober 28, 2015

Martin Eiden and Shawn Wilson's listing was featured in Curbed's "Price Spotter" section.


What/Where: 1BR/1BA co-op in Hell's Kitchen

Square Footage: 1,000

Maintenance/CC: $1,565


Well, this is one of the quirkier listings we've seen recently. The one-bedroom co-op, located in a building between Ninth and Tenth Avenues, is rather roomy, but the "bedroom" is a sleeping loft. It's accessed via a staircase and perched above a decent-sized storage closet, which means whoever buys this place has the opportunity to create a Harry Potter-esque room beneath a staircase. The kitchen is outfitted with blonde wood cabinets and new-ish appliances, and the living space is expansive, with 11-foot ceilings. So now, the real question: How much do you think this is going for?

Top Resi Brokerages by Closed Deals: Video

The Real DealOctober 28, 2015

The Real Deal broke down which brokerages moved hte most properties during a 12-month period ending on March 31, 2015. CORE is included in the round-up.


Limor Nesher: Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, CORE

The Native SocietyOctober 25, 2015

Limor Nesher serves as a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson at CORE and utilizes a unique approach in serving her clients that combines her signature charisma, illustrious energy and impeccable attentiveness. In understanding the emotional connection her clients have to real estate, Limor ensures that each transaction is handled with personalized guidance and dedicated professionalism. She strives to provide honest and direct service, and enjoys finding creative and unique ways to meet the needs of each individual client. Having accrued almost a decade of experience in real estate, Limor has a concrete knowledge of the New York City real estate market, as seen in her several television appearances on ABC's Good Morning America, Selling New York, Fox News and Yahoo.


With an educational background in fashion and art, she is able to employ creative tactics in marketing her clients’ properties. She also utilizes her creative abilities in helping renters, buyers and sellers to envision the architecture and design possibilities of a space. In using her industry knowledge in combination with her personalized approach and noted creative abilities, Limor has achieved a high level of industry success. Through her resources and personal network of contacts, Limor has acquired a loyal following of international and local buyers who rely on her help in making the best possible investment choices and finding their ideal home.


What do you do best?
Find creative solutions to situations.


What makes you the best?
I like to learn and share knowledge. I learn something new from any situation and from every person I meet. Then I take this knowledge and find a way to embed it into every day's life.


Biggest success?
Selling a site unseen to a client from overseas, that I never met personally in an area that he did not desire but I predicted to experience a major growth - and short after proved that I was right.


What are your aspirations?

Personal: To make a meaningful and happy life for my family and collect good memories from unforgettable experiences.


Business: To make good contacts, provide the best service and help others realize their dreams/goals.


Most challenging moment?

Leaving my country and my mom to come to NY.


Favorite Motto:
"Live and let live".


Favorite People:
My family.


Favorite Places:
Tel Aviv, New York, Paris, and the beaches around the world.


Favorite Products:

Books, ice cream, white wine, fruits, pencils, music and any communication devices.


Current Passions:
Fashion design, parenthood and large scale real estate deals.

8 Unbelievable Penthouses for Sale Around the World

Architectural DigestOctober 24, 2015

These luxurious residences invite owners to embrace sky-high living. Emily Beare and Tim Crowley's Penthouse at 224 Mulberry is included in the mix.


New York City – Stats: 4 Bedrooms, 4.5 Baths, 5,646 SF, $23.75 Million

Located on a historic block in Nolita, one of Manhattan’s most sought-after neighborhoods, this new boutique building holds just six residences and was designed by architecture and development firm Flank. Spanning the top two floors, the penthouse features en suite bathrooms in every bathroom, as well as four private terraces and two parking spaces. The kitchen opens onto one of the terraces and boasts views of the Empire State Building.

3 Apartments With Easy Manhattan Commutes to See This Weekend

DNAinfoOctober 23, 2015

MANHATTAN — While all of these apartments are located in outer boroughs, they come with one big perk: a quick and simple commute into Manhattan.


35-25 78th St., #31, Jackson Heights
Two bedrooms/One bath
Approximately 1,025 square feet
Maintenance: $653 a month
Open House: Sunday, Oct. 25, noon-1:30 p.m.


Lowdown: This two-bedroom apartment is in one of Jackson Heights' historic co-op buildings known for their central courtyards.


The building shares a block-long garden with a few other buildings as part of the Hampton Court complex, according to CORE broker Barbara Lombardo.


As for the apartment, there are two true bedrooms, one bathroom and a dedicated living room and dining room.


“The formal dining room is the signature trait of these apartments,” said Lombardo. A wide doorway between the living room and dining room gives the apartment “a light and airy feel,” she added.


The current owner, who has lived there about eight years, gut renovated the kitchen and added new cabinets, countertops, a tile backsplash and stainless steel appliances. The bathroom was updated with a new vanity, tiles and fixtures.


That's paired with “beautiful pre-war details,” said Lombardo, including the original wood floors and moldings.


The price of the apartment includes a storage space in the basement. There's also onsite laundry, a live-in super and bike storage. One downside of the historic building, however, is that it's a walkup and this unit is located on the third floor.


Location: This apartment is about a 10-minute walk from one of the largest subway hubs in Queens, the Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Avenue station. From there, you can catch the E, F, M, R and 7 trains. From there, it's about 15 minutes to Midtown, Lombardo said.


The apartment is also a short walk from cafes and shops along 37th Avenue, as well as the neighborhood's “Little India” on 74th Street. The closest park is Travers Park, about one block north of the building.


Why put it on your open house calendar? “For New York City, it's a great value if you like pre-war details and outdoor space,” said Lombardo.

10-63 Jackson Ave., #7G, Long Island City
Two bedrooms/One bath
Approximately 766 square feet
Common charges: $709 a month
Taxes: $59 a month
Open House: Sunday, Oct. 25, 3:00–4:30 p.m.


Lowdown: This condo is in the 41-unit development Ten 63, which opened in Long Island City in 2008.


Compass broker Christina Abad said the apartment has “a rare configuration... it's a compact two bedroom with a flexible space.”


An open kitchen looks out onto the living room, which is distinguished by a large floor-to-ceiling window. This window, like the one in the master bedroom, looks out onto the Queensboro Bridge.


“The views are incredible,” said Abad, noting that this apartment is on the top floor of the 8-story building.


The second bedroom, which can fit a full-sized bed, has a south-facing balcony.


The sellers are the original owners of the apartment. They installed a Nest System, which allows you to remotely control the thermostat.


Building amenities include a common roof deck, gym, part-time doorman and theater space. There's parking and storage available for an extra fee.


Location: It's one block to the Vernon Boulevard/Jackson Avenue 7 train station, which is one stop from Grand Central. It's also a few blocks from the 21st Street/Van Alst G train, which takes commuters into Brooklyn. It's located on the main drag for restaurants and bars in the neighborhood, Jackson Avenue, and three blocks from the waterfront and Hunters Point South Park.


Why put it on your open house calendar? “It's a centrally located two-bedroom for less than $1 million,” said Abad, who added, “It's a super-short commute into Manhattan.”


230 Ashland Pl., #21B, Fort Greene
Two bedrooms/two baths
Approximately 986 square feet
$1.295 million
Common charges: $883 a month
Taxes: $45 a month
Open House: Sunday, Oct. 25, noon–1:30 p.m. by appointment


Lowdown: This convertible two bedroom comes from the 30-story Forte condo tower, constructed in 2010.


“The location is unique,” said Nest Seekers broker Samuel DeFranceschi, due to its proximity to several neighborhoods like Boerum Hill, Downtown Brooklyn and Prospect Heights.


The floorplan of the apartment is also unique, with a triangular-shaped second bedroom off the living room. There's no wall separating the rooms, so the current owner put up a divider. The second bedroom area, which could fit up to a queen bed and would be “perfect for a murphy bed,” according to DeFranceschi.


The owner also added custom lighting in the living room and master bedroom, built out a large custom walk-in closet, and updated the master bathroom with a new vanity and towel warmer. They are willing to sell the apartment furnished, according to DeFranceschi.


The apartment is on the 21st floor and looks out onto the surrounding neighborhood of Fort Greene. From the common roof deck, you get “360 degree views of Brooklyn,” said DeFranceschi.


Other amenities include a gym, doorman, and a landscaped plaza space in front of the building.


Location: Besides the proximity to several Brooklyn neighborhoods, this area offers great transportation options. It's about a block from the Nevins Street station, with the 2, 3, 4 and 5 trains, and four blocks from the Fulton Street G train. Two blocks away is the Atlantic Terminal hub, where you can catch the 2, 3, 4, 5, B, Q, D, N, R and Long Island Railroad.


Directly around the building are bars and restaurants on Fulton Street, as well as the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Theater for a New Audience and Mark Morris Dance Center.


Why put it on your open house calendar? “The views from the apartment and the location,” said DeFranceschi. “The combination of both is great.”

32-Unit Mixed-Use Project Near the High Line is Coming Along

CurbedOctober 22, 2015

In February, developer and architect Cary Tamarkin revealed that he planned on building a 135-foot-tall condo building at 550 West 29th Street. Since then, the 12-story project has made strides with the structure that once stood there completely demolished and the building permits granted, according to YIMBY.


Plans for the 55,368-square-foot development call for 5,065 square feet of ground-floor retail and 32 apartments spanning an average of 1,572 square feet. Property owner Highline Development Group is co-developing the project with Tamarkin, while CORE will handle the sales of the units. No word on pricing just yet, but they are expected to be "slightly more-value," as Tamarkin told The Real Deal last year.


This isn't be the first residential development Tamarkin has planned for the area around High Line: In 2014, the architect constructed a 15-unit condo building at 508 West 24th Street. The units there range from 2,000- to 3,000-square-feet with prices that reach up to $10 million.

Permits Approved For 550 West 29th Street, West Chelsea Mixed-Use Project

New York YIMBYOctober 22, 2015

Earlier this year, developer and architect Cary Tamarkin filed applications for a 12-story, 32-unit mixed-use building at 550 West 29th Street, in West Chelsea. Now, a tipster has informed YIMBY that the project is making significant strides, and building permits have been granted. Highline Development Group, who is the property owner, is co-developing with Tamarkin, and CORE will eventually be handling sales. According to filings with the DOB, the building will measure 55,368 square feet, and will include a 5,065 square-foot retail component on the ground floor. Above, residences will average 1,572 square feet apiece. Demolition of the site’s former occupant was completed over the summer.

NYC Buyers Want Doormen and Renters Want Pets

StreetEasy BlogOctober 19, 2015

What’s the one amenity that New York City buyers seem to want? A doorman. And for renters, it’s the freedom to have a pet.


And guess what’s No. 2? For buyers, it’s a pet and for renters, a doorman. Go figure!


We looked back over the past nine months to see which amenities were the most-searched on StreetEasy and as you’ll see in the chart below, buyers and renters are almost lock-step in searching for the same amenities. The only deviation in the top 10 is when renters wanted furnished properties more often than buyers.


What Kinds of Requests Are Brokers Seeing?

And while this list solely serves up the amenity choices that appear on StreetEasy, we were curious to know what kinds of amenities buyers are requesting through New York City brokers and yup — you got it: Doormen came in on top again.


“People will say, ‘I want a doorman building,’ said Mindy Diane Feldman, a broker with Halstead. “Parents are always asking for a ‘doorman building’ to make sure their children are safe once inside the building and doormen are just another layer of protection.”


The second-most requested amenity brokers are seeing are concierge services. And while the responsibilities of doormen and concierge are almost interchangeable, doormen generally offer security and a person at the door, while concierges are there mainly to receive packages, exchange keys and basically make life’s little challenges go away.


Here’s a look at the top 10 amenities brokers are seeing. Keep in mind that these buyers are looking for apartments for sale for $2M and up, so if wine cellar isn’t on your list or within your budget don’t be surprised!


No. 1: Doorman

Monitoring the entry, opening cab doors, scoping out clientele and keeping things neat and tidy — that’s what doormen do and homeowners love it.


“Buyers in that $2M-plus price range want services,” said Ben Jacobs of CORE. “The most important service that this buyer requires is a doorman for the security, the assistance, and the prestige. Lets face it. NYC is a big city with a lot of people. The doorman enables the homeowner to feel protected and safe.”


No. 2: Concierge Services

Accepting deliveries from Amazon or Zappos or passing keys along to a friend arriving from out of town are among the many duties of an on-staff concierge. Depending on the building, some concierge services will track down tickets to a hot play, make dinner reservations and find care for homeowners’ pampered pets.


No. 3: Live-in Super

When your AC conks out in the middle of a 95-degree night, who are you going to call? That’s right — the building super. “It’s like having a family member as he is held accountable and is protective of the owners needs,” said Frances Katzen of Douglas Elliman. “Supers are a big factor in the comfort and running of a building.”


No. 4: Above-ground Gym/Fitness Center

Fitness centers and swimming pools are usually assigned space in the bowels of a building, but no more. These amenities are emerging from the darkness and being situated higher in buildings where natural light can pour in.


No. 5:  Roof deck/Outdoor Space

As anyone who lives in NYC knows, having additional getaway space is valuable — not only for personal enjoyment, but also for resale value. “An important part of my role comprises advising my investors as to which amenities will influence resale as well as which will be particularly attractive to potential tenants,” said Feldman. “As an example, most of my clients own homes in places of abundant beauty, fresh air, light and nature. It’s often a challenge to convey how coveted even the most modest patch of outdoor space is in Manhattan.”


No. 6: Residents’ Lounge

This residents’ lounge at 1 West End takes a page out of California’s attractive indoor-outdoor living. Floor-to-ceiling doors can be opened to a massive, 12,000-sq ft rooftop garden terrace. Plus, this extra getaway space can also be reserved privately for parties and events. Community space is a great “add-on” for tight NYC living.


No. 7: Swimming Pool

The pool at the Halcyon features a 52-foot indoor two-lane pool on the 22nd floor with floor-to-ceiling windows. “An indoor pool is already a rarity in New York City, but it becomes a mark of distinction when elevated to a high floor with natural light and great city views,” said Tricia Hayes Cole, Executive Managing Director of Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group, the exclusive sales and marketing firm for Halcyon. “That effect is compounded when it’s a full amenity suite with panoramic views comparable to those of premium residences in the building.”


No. 8: Storage/Cold Storage

Storage, storage, storage. Whether it’s storage for your bikes, extra furnishings or your own personal wine collection, people want storage. Some new developments are now equipping their lobbies with cold storage for tenants’ deliveries from Fresh Direct. No need to dash home from work to refrigerate your organic lettuce delivery!


No. 9: Children’s Play Room

The adults have getaway spaces, so why not the kids? Some buildings even have hangout rooms for teens in addition to playrooms for children so that everyone stays happy.


No. 10: Valet Parking and On-site Garage

According to Katzen, valet parking and on-site garages are big-ticket items that are very much in demand. “This service provides ease in bad-weather months to provide efficient ‘load and leave’ fast on a daily basis, which is a big help in this busy town.”


Other Amenities Worth Mentioning

Other amenities mentioned by brokers include: Pet spa, valet dry cleaning service, private dining rooms, and hotel-level services (e.g., room service and turndown service.)


“As the NYC luxury real estate market continues to boom, developers are needing to become more and more creative in providing stellar amenities as a means to maintain a competitive edge in this vastly hectic and cut-throat market,” concluded Jacobs.


And if developers build luxury condos with pet spas and wine lockers, people are sure to come.

Boutique Brokerages Are Not Just Thinking Big, They Are Working Big

Real Estate WeeklyOctober 16, 2015

In the battle between the big guys and the little guys, the little guys are finally getting some swings in.


In New York City, where large real estate brokerages are routinely closing unprecedented multi-million dollar deals, a contingent of smaller boutique players are successfully appropriating their share of the action.


These firms, most of which are purposefully diminutive compared to larger firms such as Douglas Elliman and Corcoran, promise personal service, the type that’s styled after a concierge rather than a learned adviser.


“In a larger firm, there’s more bureaucracy, more red tape. I think there’s just a level of caring (that attracts) developers to take these to more boutique firms,” said Jordan Sachs, the president of boutique real estate brokerage Bold New York.


Sachs’s firm recently upset the balance of the universe after becoming the exclusive leasing agency for Sky, the Moinian Group’s 71-story rental building in the western end of Hell’s Kitchen.


The account put Bold New York in charge of leasing apartments in the largest single tower residential building in New York based on the number of units.


Sachs pointed out that that his firm got the job in spite of running a small operation (the company currently has just 50 agents and eight employees), indicating the growing appeal of boutique firms to major developers.


“I think that, first of all, it’s 2015 and technology and resources to compete in the marketplace have really leveled out… Now, playing in the same arena is much easier,” Sachs said.


“The access to markets is completely equal. You no longer have to spend $100,000 over a weekend for print advertisement in The New York Times to reach the market place, today; there is no longer the cost that prohibits boutiques from reaching the same size audience and marketplace.


“The barrier of entry has been completely eliminated, now we can target our audiences in ways that were not affordable to boutique firms five to ten years ago.”


The bulging muscle of boutique firms coincides with a drastic jump in the number of players in the city’s real estate business.


According to data from the Department of State last June, there are 13,532 real estate brokers working in New York City. This represents the highest number of professionals peddling the city’s commercial, residential and retail spaces in the last 15 years.


The figures also exhibit the appeal that the real estate profession has regained over the years. During the height of the 2008 downturn, about 200 names vanished from the city’s list of brokers.


The situation is now very different. With limited spots available in the top firms, the surplus of talent has spilled over to smaller brokerages, most of which specialize in certain neighborhoods or property types.

For instance, some of the most well-known boutique brokerages, such as Dolly Lenz Real Estate and the Modlin Group, specialize on luxury properties, with their number of listings per year barely breaching double digits.


Meanwhile, real estate firm Tabak is Tribeca, as its name suggests, sells and leases properties exclusively in Tribeca in Manhattan.


Despite having just 11 agents, townhouse specialists Leslie J. Garfield last year listed $126 million worth of real estate.


Just last week, Mercedes/Berk, whose nine agents last year listed nearly $40 million worth of exclusive homes, according to rankings by The Real Deal, this week merged with European-based brand Engel & Völkers.


Led by Noel Berk and Elizabeth Mercedes Berk, the Mercedes/Berk team has been providing brokerage services to buyers and sellers for 25 years.


The alliance will expand Engel & Völkers New York City to 55 agents.


The Mercedes/Berk team will operate from 783 Madison Avenue, effectively growing Engel & Völkers’ New York City footprint while supplementing the firm’s local market expertise and listing portfolio.


“Well-known in the industry for serving exclusive clientele, particularly on the Upper East and West Sides, the Mercedes/Berk team is responsible for over $310 million in sales over the last two years at Manhattan’s most iconic properties, such as 15 Central Park West and 432 Park Avenue,” said Anthony Hitt, CEO of Engel & Völkers North America.


“With the focus on international buyers and sellers in New York City, the team’s experience and innate knowledge of the City’s luxury marketplace will seamlessly combine with Engel & Völkers’ global network and white glove level of service to best serve Manhattan’s premier real estate needs.”

Engel & Völkers launched its New York City brokerage in 2014, opening its first shop at 430 Park Avenue in early November. In April of 2015, an independent ranking named the shop the #4 boutique brokerage in the city.


The level of specialization inherent in boutique firms has caught the attention of the city’s major developers. Recently, this attraction has gone beyond collaboration.


Last October, Related Companies, the developer behind Time Warner Center and the Hudson Yards — the largest development currently underway in the US — bought a 50 percent stake in boutique residential brokerage CORE.


“We have built so many for-sale buildings, and we still manage every single one of them,” Jeff Blau, the

chief executive of Related, told the New York Times when the deal was first announced. “But when it comes time for someone to move out, we can’t service them. This deal will allow us to keep our relationship with our original customers, many of whom become repeat buyers.”


The sale price for the transaction was not announced. Before the acquisition, CORE, which was the subject of the HGTV reality series Selling New York, had closed on deals in properties such as One Museum Mile and the Walker Tower in Chelsea.


The acquisition allows Related to direct people leaving their properties to an affiliated brokerage partner. The company’s in-house team continues to handle its rentals.


“In a crowded marketplace, all developers, big and small, are looking to create a project that shares every advantage in the market place. Working with a smaller firm who will put their very best work and concepts into a project that may be one of few that they are working on is an attractive proposition,” said Tim Crowley, the director of new development at CORE.


There may be more interactions between large developers and boutique firms. However, Crowley thinks that the stream of deals may trickle gradually rather than swell as a deluge.


“It is a business proposition that makes sense for two reasons; the development firm has an infinite pipeline (which Related does) and the brokerage firm is financially sound and stand-alone profitable (which CORE is),” he said.


“I imagine it will happen again, but unlikely to be a trend. It will probably happen with a year over year frequency, similar to getting snow in May.”

An Interview with Shaun Osher, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, CORE

LEADERS MagazineOctober 15, 2015


Shaun Osher founded CORE in 2005. He has led CORE to its position as the number-one boutique real estate marketing and sales company in New York. As an innovative and creative mind in marketing, branding, and selling real estate, he has been responsible for more than 30 new development projects and more than $4 billion in sales. Having started his career as one of New York City’s most successful and respected agents, he is known as a broker’s broker, with a keen understanding of the market and acumen for sales and negotiation. A native of Johannesburg, South Africa, Shaun graduated from The New School and began his career in 1994.



CORE started in 2005 as a joint venture between Shaun Osher and The Cayre Family of Midtown Equities. Shaun Osher, a top Manhattan real estate agent, had a progressive vision for a new type of brokerage firm: to create an innovative real estate company offering the best-in-class service to its agents, buyers, sellers and developers; and to provide the most outstanding client service that is personalized and perfectly tailored to their clients’ needs. CORE has since grown to over 120 real estate professionals and staff, with offices in Chelsea, the Flatiron, and on Madison Avenue. In 2014, Related Companies acquired a stake in CORE to further expand the firm’s brand and offerings throughout New York City. It is a privately held company, equally owned and managed by Shaun Osher and Related Companies. Midtown Equities retained a minor stake in CORE.


How do you define the CORE brand and what it stands for?

The CORE brand is innovative in that it is very connected to current market trends. Our brand ultimately is defined by our agents. I’m one of the few owners of a real estate company who was a top-producing agent, so my perspective on the business is very different. CORE is built first and foremost as a marketing company because we market and sell – we just happen to sell real estate, which is what our expertise is.


Is the market across all price points and segments or is there a particular segment of interest for CORE?

We generally focus in the luxury segment. CORE is not a company that is interested in becoming the biggest, and we’re not trying to be all things to everyone. We’re looking to continue our expertise in the markets we sell in, and be specialists in that market.


You’re primarily focused on New York City?

Yes, in the luxury markets with a heavy accent on the Downtown luxury market. We’re the leader in new development marketing and sales.


Are you surprised to see the growth of Downtown and will you discuss the benefits that area offers from a residential perspective?

I’m not surprised to see Downtown evolve as it has. Twenty years ago, I sold a lot of the buildings that were ultimately converted into condominiums at some of the most desirable addresses in Manhattan. Downtown has a lot to offer with respect to architecture, amenities and new construction. New neighborhoods are being born out of those fundamentals.


The first neighborhood was SoHo. What spearheaded that change in the neighborhood was the fact that architecturally, people could get large, open spaces with high ceilings in these industrial artist loft buildings.


As these buildings started to take shape, the more savvy developers started to put in amenities that buyers across all segments were interested in. It was very difficult to find a Downtown building with a doorman 20 years ago, for instance. People can also get a central location, and a very residential feeling in these neighborhoods.


We started to see a lot of new neighborhoods born out of this business model with Chelsea, the Bowery, and Tribeca.


Is a large percentage of the population now being priced out of the market and how much of a niche is New York going to become?

In the time I’ve been doing this, regardless of where the market has been, I’ve never once heard a buyer say, this is such a steal. I’ve also never seen a buyer regret buying a piece of real estate in New York City, but I’ve seen a lot of people regret not buying.


In leading CORE, what are the key attributes you look for in a person that makes you feel they will be successful?

An agent has to be entrepreneurial. The fundamental attributes we look for are a strong work ethic, a high level of integrity, an appetite for knowledge and to continue to grow their knowledge base, their ability to be transparent, and a hunger to create and be innovative.


With the technology today, how do you avoid losing that human touch?

This is a service industry and technology is just an added tool to assist our agents in their ability to service the clients.


Do you still need storefronts today?

We’re focused on selling in neighborhoods and it’s very important that the people who live in the neighborhood know that they have a neighborhood broker, and having a storefront definitely sets the tone for the people going to and from work and their homes that we’re their neighborhood broker.


Is it challenging to differentiate in this space?

Our agents and our business speak for themselves. We’re different and we don’t look at any of our competitors’ business models at all. This is a large city and we cater to a certain segment of clients. We pride ourselves on being experts in that arena. Our expertise is selling new development projects and creating better real estate.


How has the role of an agent changed?

It has become more competitive, and to compete in this environment as a top-producing agent, you can’t do this part-time. Clients’ expectations are much greater and their level of sophistication is much higher today. That is good for our industry because it has raised the bar in terms of what our clients expect from us. In order to service them effectively, we need to commit to this as a full-time job.


As to CORE’s growth, are there opportunities to enter other markets or will New York City always be its primary focus?

New York City is the market we know and the market where we can effectively service our clients, but there will always be global opportunities for us as a company because our expertise lends itself to add value in other markets.


Where and when it makes sense, we might consider doing that in the future.

Ex-‘Hills’ Star Checks Out East Village Duplex for ‘Open House’ Episode

New York PostOctober 15, 2015

TV personality Audrina Patridge, former “Hills” star turned host of NBC’s “1st Look,” is based on the West Coast but was recently spotted house-hunting on both coasts.


In Manhattan, she checked out a $2.19 million duplex in the East Village at 311 E. 11th St.


The team from “Open House” filmed Patridge’s bi-coastal search, which will air on Oct. 25.


The ground-floor condo she scoped out is 1,213 square feet and comes with a 508-square-foot “townhouse-style” private backyard, according to the listing.


The master suite comes with a walk-in closet, floor-to-ceiling glass windows and a home office area.


The lower level boasts an open chef’s kitchen with a breakfast bar, a living room and the backyard, which comes with a 25-foot green wall.


Amenities in the LEED Gold building include a doorman, gym, condominium with a full-time doorman, fitness center, sauna, bike storage and residents’ lounge. There’s also a 421-a tax abatement.


CORE’s Todd Lewin has the listing.

Why This Gramercy Park House Hasn’t Sold Yet, We Don’t Know, But It’s Exquisite

BrickUndergroundOctober 14, 2015

Of all the real estate trophies to hold in Manhattan, for many, there's nothing like a tried-and-true townhouse. First, there's the scarcity: Only a few hundred of them are ever on the market—StreetEasy counts about 350 available as of this writing—and they're, yes, expensive. But some trophies are shinier than others. 


Take this multi-family in Gramercy across from Stuyvesant Square, which starts by having a fairly interesting pedigree. Thomas Morton, one of the earliest developers in the city, built the house there in 1852 and lived in it, later selling it for the then-princely (and record-breaking) sum of $28,000,per the Stuyvesant Square Historic Designation Report.  


This isn't the first time the house, which measures a generous 28 feet wide, has been on the market. The owner, according to the New York Daily News, is soap opera star Noelle Beck, who first put it up for sale for $16.995 million last year. It was pulled off the market this summer, and reappeared on StreetEasy for another go two weeks ago, this time with a price cut—it's now offered at $15 million by CORE brokers Emily Beare and Patrick Lilly.


The four-floor owner's unit is grand, with a high-ceilinged living room calling out for a party (just in time for holiday party season) and tall windows that scale nearly to the room's heights.


The staircase, it has to be said, looks tailor-made for a dramatic (soap opera) entrance, and the fireplace mantle is a conversation-starter. 


The kitchen, though thoroughly modern, has been renovated—and chandeliered—to evoke old-world charm. There's a Viking stove and limestone countertops, and a separate office right off it. 


And the bedroom? Again, dramatic—with another fireplace, to boot, plus a terrace. And, like all the other floors of the townhouse, it has a bay window.


The yard is no joke, either. (Once more, the party possibilities!) And there's a music room in the basement, as well as another office.

And if you're interested in playing landlord, there are two one-bedroom rentals above the owner's unit. Or, better yet, renovate the top floor so they can be folded into the rest of the building and become the one-family mansion it once was.

Buyers: How to Craft an Offer the Seller Can’t Refuse

BrickUndergroundOctober 12, 2015

In the competitive sport that is NYC real estate, a perfectly crafted offer is your best, and fastest, way to getting the apartment you want. But what's a perfect offer—meaning one that doesn't turn off the seller with a woefully underpriced starting bid, nor doesn't leave you overpaying and settling for terms that don't work for your needs? Here's what keep in mind before sending off that email to the broker.


Price it right

"At the end of the day the price is really the name of the game," says Ari Harkov, an agent with Halstead Property. When Harkov's working with a seller who has multiple offers on a property, he puts them all in a spreadsheet, organized by offer price. "We start with the highest bid and go from there," he says.

If you're making a bid on an apartment with multiple offers and the seller's asking for best and final, "the winning offer is often between 10 and 12 percent more than the asking price," says Patrick Lilly of CORE. (Note: You don't want to go too high if you're planning on getting a mortgage; if the appraisal is much lower than your accepted offer, the bank won't finance it all.)

While you'll need to take the seller's broker's word for it as to whether there's a lot of interest in the place, if you do your homework and know the market well, and keep an eye open at open houses, you can more easily confirm whether the agent is telling the truth. Also, see whether the listing's been saved on StreetEasy by a lot of users—that can give you a sense of interest in the place, says Harkov.

If you don't know the broker and suspect they might be inflating offer numbers, Lilly suggests subtracting 20 percent from what they're quoting you.
"You may get a vague answer like 'We’ve had strong interest.' Which to me would mean there are no other offers," says Doug Williford of Warburg. "Or 'we have a strong offer,' which I would normally interpret as there is an offer, but not necessarily above ask."

"If the answer is 'We have multiple offers above ask,' you pretty much have to assume that the broker is being honest and proceed accordingly. Either it’s worth a price above the ask (to you) and you bid accordingly, or it’s not and you continue with your search. (Interestingly, if you decline to make a bid at this point, and the broker was overstating interest, you may get a call back from the broker with egg on their face looking to make a deal at your lower price, Williford says.)

To figure out a reasonable offer, "look at how long the apartment's been on the market and how much comparable apartments in the building and area are sold for," says Williford. "Take into account whether this one is on a higher or lower floor—you can usually add or delete a percent of the price per floor."

To see how much leeway you'll have on price, check out how long the apartment's been on the market on StreetEasy. "The longer it’s been on the market without a price reduction, the lower you can go," says Lilly. But if they just reduced the price, your bargaining power is low.

If you do decide to bid below ask, be reasonable, or you'll risk offending the seller or coming across as less-than-serious. The experts advise against going lower than 10 percent less than ask.

And "temper a lower offer by saying 'this is my initial offer'," says Lilly. This way, the seller knows you're up for negotiation.

How to sweeten the deal—even with a lower price


An offer is not just about the price being offered. "It's about who can close," says Williford. "You want to give the seller and their broker the idea that if they go with you it’s a sure thing," he says.


There are several ways to do that. First, you can offer cash, which means the deal won't be held up waiting for bank financing.


If you don't plan to pay cash, you can forgo the mortgage contingency, which means you're out of a deposit if you can't get the mortgage, but the seller doesn't have to worry about the mortgage falling through.


If you decide to go without a mortgage contingency, though, make sure you have enough cash in the bank to make up the difference if the appraisal comes in low (and the bank will only lend 80 percent of the appraisal amount, not the price in the contract).


You could also run into trouble if the bank doesn't approve the building. So before you sign a contract with no mortgage contingency, you need to make sure your bank is willing to loan in that building.


Another way to put the odds in your favor: Be flexible on the closing date. Make it work for the seller's needs—whether they need to move out slowly or quickly. Sometimes that could mean moving into a rental for some time.


You can also write a love letter about the apartment. Nothing too long, just a brief note that tugs the seller's heartstrings. Maybe mention your plans to raise a family there, or your love of the neighborhood. No matter what, it can't hurt, our experts say.

Make sure everything you need is there


Shooting off an email with a number is not going to get you an apartment. "You need the offer to be clear, concise and well-worded," says Williford.


Offers—which are emailed—include the sales price you're bidding, whether or not there's a mortgage contingency, how much financing (if any) you're going for, and what your desired closing date is. You can write "flexible" or "whatever works for the seller" to sweeten the deal. If you're financing, you'll also need a pre-approval letter from the bank (this is the next step after pre-qualification letter, and can take about two weeks to get).


Usually, buyers and their brokers include the REBNY financial statement (which has both your net worth and income on it).


A quick bio about the buyer and aforementioned "love letter" are usually included too.


And once you have all the documents in place, it's time to compile and create professional-looking email, hitsend and hope to hear some good news in a few days.

Selling (and Staging) With An Animal At Home: 3 Key Tricks

BrickUndergroundOctober 08, 2015

It's an old saw at this point that when it comes to unloading an apartment, sellers should minimize the personal touches, and stay far, far away from the open house. But what about your pet?


Charmed though some buyers might be to be met by a cute furry (or feathered) friend during a visit, the fact is that your pet will likely complicate matters. "To maximize the potential of getting top dollar for your apartment, you want to do whatever you can to make your property look and feel pristine," says Platinum Properties agent Teresa Stephenson. "This means that it cannot look, feel, smell like a pet lives there."


Even in the best case scenario—you get a potential buyer who's a major pet lover—your critter companion will draw attention away from the apartment itself, which is exactly what you don't want. "When I had a listing where the owner had this beautiful cocker spaniel, everyone would walk through this 2000-square-foot loft looking down at the dog" and not at the apartment itself, says CORE agent Tony Sargent. If you're selling (and you and Mr. Bigglesworth haven't moved out yet), here are three crucial strategies to keep in mind:




Almost every broker will tell a seller to make themselves scarce during the open house, and the same goes for your pet. "The same way people have a personal reaction to color, they have a personal reaction to a pet," says Sargent. "Whether they’re lovable or scary to someone, that’s going to distract them from the apartment."

This could mean sending your pet to stay with a relative for a little while, putting it in daycare, or even taking it for an extra long walk during the open house. For sellers with dogs, Sargent notes, "We'll ask for 24 hours notice from brokers or buyers so we can have time to set up a dog walker."


Cats, admittedly, are a little more difficult. For a recent sale of his own family's apartment (shared with two cats and a dog), Compass agent Eugene Litvak tells us they "sent the cats to my mother in law's place to stay, had a friend babysit the dog, and would present the apartment without any pets in it." At the very least, Sargent says, try to confine your cat to one room in the apartment (though not a crate, as they'll likely get agitated).


Put it this way. "I don't know any buyers who would say, 'I'll pay $50,000 more because you have a dog," says Litvak, "But someone might decide they don't want it because they visit and the dog's there."




Granted, this is good advice anytime you're selling, but it's especially important if you've got animals running around. "If you're not doing it yourself, hire a housekeeper to keep the apartment extra clean," says Sargent. "It's an investment in your investment."


It's particularly important to keep the place well vacuumed to minimize dander for potentially allergic buyers. If there's a litter box on site, clean it frequently to keep any smells from lingering in the air. "If there are any smells, consider replacing any carpeting, removing rugs, and/or painting the walls," adds Stephenson.


You may even want to resort to some diversion tactics."I start with scent, or scent coverage," says Mirador Real Estate Managing Partner Karla Saladino. (We've got more tips on that front here). "I also hit up Etsy to find the best looking cat box covers—they're worth the $100 or so cost."




Besides clearing the apartment of your pet's excess fur (and odors), you'll want to remove or stash their personal effects as well. This means ditching toys, feeding dishes, scratching posts, beds, and more. (Litvak, for his part, sent his scratching posts on vacation along with the cats, and took his dog's crate off-site for showings.)


This is all doubly true for litter boxes or wee-wee pads. "I once had a buyer come through an open house, and all they could talk about was the wee wee pad that was out," says Sargent. "'What did it do to the floors?'" Not exactly the response you want from someone you're hoping will for over hundreds of thousands of dollars for your home.

New and Noteworthy: A Selection of Exceptional Townhouse Listings

New York ObserverOctober 07, 2015

The townhouse market has always appealed to a certain kind of buyer—one attracted to formal living, period detail, outdoor space and the like. Recently, however, the townhouse market has appeared to expand somewhat. Part of this, perhaps, can be seen as due to an influx of brokers marketing townhouses. In the past, “most brokers wouldn’t sell townhouses, because they didn’t know about them and it’s kind of a specialty,” said Douglas Elliman broker George van der Ploeg, who specializes in townhouses. “Now, as prices are going up, more and more non-townhouse brokers are getting into townhouses, because it is so lucrative.”


But the definition of townhouse has also morphed; no longer are they necessarily convenience-challenged structures from a previous century. “People have always gravitated towards apartments, and not townhouses, because of services. Now, there is a new service, called virtual doormen—before, there was a big worry for townhouses as to how you are going to get the delivery without a doorman, but now, there is a way to do that, which was never there before,” Corcoran broker Thomas Wexler said. These days, then, it’s possible to get the aesthetic with expedience.


CORE's 1 Centre Market Place and 9 1/2 Jane Street were included in the round-up.


1 Centre Market Place

Little Italy
Built by designer and developer couple Robert and Courtney Novogratz in 2006. Underwent another renovation that included an upgraded sound system. Four stories, with a roof deck and two terraces.
Bedrooms: Five
Bathrooms: Three full, two powder rooms
Square feet: 4,100
Listing price: $6.95 million
Brokerage: CORE


9 1/2 Jane Street
West Village
A private walkway leads up to a gated entrance of the 25-foot-wide townhouse. The first floor has an open kitchen and floor-to-ceiling glass windows that open to a private garden with a fire pit, and there’s a planted rooftop terrace on top of the home.
Bedrooms: Three
Bathrooms: Two full, one powder room
Square feet: 3,500
Listing price: $15.99 million
Brokerage: CORE

The 11 Best Fireplaces for Sale Right Now in New York City

CurbedOctober 05, 2015

It's fall, y'all: The leaves are starting to turn, the weather has gotten perceptibly cooler, and if you're anything like us, you've already gotten all of your cardigans out of storage. Cooler weather also makes us think of fireplaces, one of those apartment amenities that you never really think about until there's a chill in the air and suddenly nothing seems nicer than curling up with a book in front of a roaring fire. (Maybe that's just us.) In any case, plenty of New York City apartments have the vestiges of them—elaborate mantles that have been repurposed as decorative elements, or cut-outs in exposed brick walls—but there are also plenty of units where you'll find real, honest-to-god wood-burning (or, less impressively, gas) fireplaces. Take a look at some of our favorites that recently hit the market.


This 19th-century home faces picturesque Stuyvesant Square Park (which may explain its $15 million price tag), and has five bedrooms over nearly 6,500 square feet of space. It also has five fireplaces, including one with beautiful Art Deco ornamentation that's in the dining room, near a winding staircase. And just in case the park being nearby isn't enough for you, there's a garden off the first floor.

The Price of Fame

Departures MagazineOctober 01, 2015

CEO and Founder, Shaun Osher was featured in the October issue of Departures Magazine in a piece on starchitects.